Introducing new, high-tech equipment to our nurseries

by | Feb 20, 2023

Optimising and improving processes for the G Team 

Over the past year we have invested in a range of new, advanced equipment for our nurseries, to improve efficiencies for the team. With our propagation team expanding and our ambitious growth targets, it was an important decision for us to invest in leading-edge technologies to support the business during this exciting time.  

This investment involved a three machine set upconsisting of the transplanter, potting machine, and bale breaker. These machines allow for an increased level of automation and are essential for increasing productivity across the G Team at times when demand is particularly high. 

MidiPot transplanter at Fresh Acres


Before we introduced the transplanter to the nurseries, the process of potting plants from 28 trays to 2L and 3L pots was carried out by handa lengthy process for the G Team. With the much higher number of propagated plants we were producing, we needed a solution to help take the strain and automate the process, so we invested in the TTA MidiPot transplanter.  

The process starts with our propagated cuttings, which are inserted into small plugs of compost. The plugs will root over the next four to twelve weeks in a dedicated area at Fresh Acres nursery that is controlled by our Tomtech computer system. The plugs are then moved to the weaning area for around four to six weeksuntil they are robust enough to be transitioned to 28 trays. 

Once our plant plugs have been inserted into 28 trays, they will mature for between two to six months, depending on the time of year and their variety. As they become well established, we will start to see white roots; this indicator demonstrates their readiness for the next pot size; this is where our transplanter comes into play. 

The transplanter allows us to transplant 28 trays to 2L and 3L pots in a much more efficient way, and it can be adjusted to use any size of plugs or liners. It can transplant four plants at a time, with the ability to transplant 3,000 to 16,000 plants per hour, depending on the speed and number of plants it has been set to. The transplanter is a rapid, high-tech piece of equipment that has truly revolutionised nursery production within the horticultural industry. 

Our transplanter machine and potting machine in action

Potting machine 

The MidiPot transplanter works in unison with our brand new potting machine—the Martin Stolze 3030 Potting Machine. This potting machine has a capacity of 7,800 pots per hour and has a number of ways in which it can be customised, including its length, pot centre-to-centre size and number of pot holders.  

Potting machine placing pots in the holders

This high-tech machine has a touch-screen operation which makes it simple to customise the different options. There are benefits with the potting machine working alongside the transplanter, including a perfectly formed, drilled hole for the plant to be placed into, pot size flexibility, and multiple plants transplanted in each pot, if required. 

In addition to the potting machine, we have recently introduced a new set of conveyor belts; in collaboration, this setup allows us to carry out potting to any area of Fresh Acres nursery, and supports our expanding contract growing service, Watch It Grow. 

Potting machine filling pots with compost

The pots move on the roller with the newly transplanted plants

The bale breaker at Fresh Acres

Bale breaker 

Our new bale breaker is the most recent addition and completes our high-tech potting system. The Big Bale Bunker CT2 is a large, upright bale breaker that is easily controlled with its touch-screen element. Bales are loaded into the back of the machine and are lifted up, enabling the machine to break it up from the top, working its way down. The bale gradually moves up inside the bale breaker. As the bale is broken up, the loose compost is fed through the chute and pours into the hopper below. 

The bale breaker can feed up to an impressive 15 cubic metres per hour; this has greatly increased our potting productivity. This intelligent piece of equipment will only break up the bale at the required rate, to avoid the hopper getting too low or overflowing. This machine has hugely benefited productivity for the G Team; prior to its arrival, a member of our G Team would be handling this process using a forklift to gradually add bale into the hopper. 

What do these investments mean for Greenwood? 

These new additions to our nurseries are making a big difference to the G Team’s productivity. As a company, we are keen to discover new, innovative technologies and find a leaner way of working. Innovation is one of our brand values, and it’s important for us to continually find new ways of doing better and improving, by investing in our business, people, and processes; this, in turn, helps us to provide effortless client service. 

Watch It Grow, our contract growing service, allows our clients to pre-select the plants they need, within a specified timeframe. This offering greatly benefits from the automation of the potting system, as it allows us to ramp up productivity and pot up to 12,000 plants per day.  

Over time, these innovative processes will help us to achieve our ambitious growth plans, as well as our mission to be the best landscape supply nursery in the UK.  

Contact the G Team today to arrange a tour of our nurseries and see our machines and efficiencies in action.