OASIS® Grower Solutions, a worldwide leader in propagation and division of Smithers-Oasis Company, understands the importance of propagation. Not only helping to plants grow but generating big ideas as well. The most recent of which is the revolutionary new substrate engineered for precision hydroponic farming called Horticubes® AeroMax.
Before creating a new media to support the production of leafy greens, herbs, and other crops for hydroponic farming, Vijay Rapaka PhD, Global Research Manager set a rather lofty goal: “To create a smart substrate designed for today’s precision growing systems. Through extensive research over the last 24 months, we’ve achieved an ultra-low density that allows unrestricted root growth of young plants, so they can express their full growth potential of up to 30%. This innovative purpose is precisely why we named it AeroMax.”
Engineered with a unique open matrix, the increased porosity of the new Horticubes® AeroMax growing media leads to greater airflow and maximizes the opportunity for oxygen to get to a plant’s root zone. This helps crops grow faster and stronger, allowing young plants to prosper in the maximum air-filled substrate. Due to its enhanced porosity, air and nutrients constantly replenish a plant’s rootzone, promoting stronger and healthier roots through each watering cycle.
Created with support from John Bonner of Great Lakes Growers, AeroMax has already delivered some impressive results. “The more porosity, the greater opportunity for air to contact the root zone,” begins Bonner. “And that happens more often with AeroMax, so we get fuzzy, almost hairy-looking roots. And when you get that type of growth, the plants simply grow faster. Since we started using AeroMax, we’ve seen faster crop growth upwards of 15%,” grins Bonner.
In addition to delivering greater oxygen to the crop’s root zone, AeroMax’s increased porosity and airflow enables it to drain more easily. This improved drainage keeps the top of the AeroMax growing media drier, dramatically reducing algae blooms and subsequent disease – creating a wonderfully clean and pathogen-free environment for young plants to grow.
AeroMax has a multitude of other functional benefits that support improved propagation. Its rich black color was strategically selected to increase the surface temperature and synergize well with photosynthetic light spectrum to produce more well-toned young plants. Plus, the less dense, almost spongy nature of AeroMax minimizes dust generation throughout the production process, making it easy to work with.
AeroMax has also been designed to separate easily at transplant through a unique etching around each cube, which also supports uniformity and precision growing. AeroMax growing media works well in NFT, Deepwater, and Vertical hydroponic systems, and is available in single-seed and multi-seed dibbled sheets of 50ct, 104ct, 162ct, and 276ct. The 50ct, 104ct, and 162ct sheets are top-grooved for easier separation.