Stonewool and Disease Control: Keeping Plants Healthy
One of the quietest killers in a commercial greenhouse are disease pathogens. These microscopic pathogens can infiltrate a greenhouse with ease and create a major outbreak in a matter of no time. The best approach to controlling and maintaining a healthy and clean greenhouse is prevention. Prevention is essential in ensuring the safety of all crops in the growing area. This is done through a strategic plan and back up plan that reacts quickly and efficiently to the outbreak.
In the prevention of disease in the commercial greenhouse, sanitation and the use of clean equipment and materials is the secret. In the hydroponic industry, the constant flow of water and the increased humidity can be a major area of concern in disease prevention.
However, one of the most popular growing media used in these systems is known for its excellent sterile nature and disease prevention. This growing media is known as stonewool.
What is stonewool?
Stonewool has its origins in the construction industry as an insulation material for buildings and other structures. However, in the 1970’s, curious scientists began experimentation on different types of materials for the use as a growing media. This curiosity was due to the increasing pressures of environmentalists to curb the increased land use of the horticulture industry. There were also concerns with methods used at the time for sanitizing the soil with Methyl Bromide, which led to research for different types of growing media and soil amendments. Upon inspection of the stonewool material and a few slight modifications, it was found that the material was ideal for growing crops in all stages of development. Today, stonewool is now one of the most popular growing materials used in the commercial industry especially in the hydroponics sector.
Stonewool is made from melted basaltic rock that is stretched into thin fibers and spun into differing shapes and sizes based on the needs of growers. Contrary to popular belief, this stone material is actually very light weight and can be easily moved around before placing into the hydroponic system. The way that the fibers are spun and pressed gives the material different properties to fit the needs of crops and grow operations in all shapes and sizes. These properties range from aeration, moisture control, and moisture retention in crops. Through direct modification of the density and weaving of the fibers, the stonewool products have specific applications.
What if the crop grows too large? That is no problem at all with stonewool grow media! With stonewool grow slabs and stonewool grow blocks, the smaller stonewool cubes and starter plugs can be placed into pre-cut holes or custom holes cut by the grower. This lets the roots stay unbroken and happy. Once the cube has been placed into the larger block or slab, the roots grow outwards and throughout the new material without any knowledge of being moved and transplanted. This material is also known to be one of the most sterile materials that a grower can use to house their plants during the growing process.
What is the difference between clean and sanitized?
Although the terms cleaning and sanitation are commonly used interchangeably in conversation, these are different terms and activities. Cleaning removes the debris and dirt from surfaces, but not the microscopic organisms that can cause the spread of disease.
Sanitation is the removal of bacteria and other microorganisms off of a surface. Cleaning and sanitizing should be done together to effectively keep disease and pathogens at bay. Common cleaning practices are sweeping, clipping dead or wilting leaves, removal of excess soil under benches, removal of dust, changing filters, etc. Sanitation practices include the use of disinfectant such as bleach applied to the surface for a period of time and then wiped clean.
How sterile is stonewool?
Stonewool, when produced and manufactured in facilities with set standards for their products, is one of the cleanest and most sterile materials that a grower can use. To produce this material commercially, the manufacturer replicates the natural processes seen near volcanoes where stonewool material can be found. Cultures around the world use this material found near volcanoes as insulation for their huts and houses.
The extracted basalt material is placed into a furnace at the extreme temperatures around 1,500 degrees celsius or around 2700 degrees fahrenheit. This melts the material down into molten rock. This liquid Basalt is then spun into thin threads, placed in a hardening kiln, and compressed into the desired shapes and sizes to be used for growing crops. It is due to these high temperatures, that the stonewool material is completely sterile and free from pathogens. The material is then wrapped in a plastic and sealed to prevent contamination during shipping and storage. When produced in a factory, this material is consistently high quality and can be guaranteed to be pathogen free.
It is important for a grower to go with a company that has set manufacturing production standards and methods in the creation of their stonewool.
Red Rock Grow Block takes true pride in the quality and overall standards placed on all materials manufactured at the site. With the stonewool grow media wrapped in plastics after the manufacturing process, the material is safe to ship and store over an extended period of time without compromising the sterile nature of the product. For more information, or suggestions reach out to a service professional backed by decades of combined in the field experience.
Give RedRock Block a call today for wholesale pricing on premium-grade stonewool grow media for large-scale cannabis growers! Call- 1-310-967-2025