Oasis Grower Solutions, a division of Smithers-Oasis Company, recently introduced a new substrate engineered for precision hydroponic farming.
Engineered with a unique open matrix, the increased porosity of the new Horticubes AeroMax growing media leads to increased airflow and maximizes the opportunity for oxygen to get to a plant’s root zone. This helps crops grow faster and more robust, allowing young plants to prosper in the maximum oxygen-filled substrate.
Due to its enhanced porosity, air and nutrients continually replenish the plant’s root zone, promoting stronger and healthier roots via each watering cycle.
Before creating the new growing media to support the production of leafy greens, herbs, and other crops for hydroponic farming, Vijay Rapaka Ph.D., Global Research Manager at Oasis Grower Solutions, set a lofty goal.
“We wanted to create a smart substrate designed for today’s precision growing systems,” Rapaka says. “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 innovation is precisely why we named it AeroMax.”
Created with support from John Bonner of Great Lakes Growers, AeroMax has already delivered impressive results.
“The more porosity, the greater opportunity for air to contact the root zone,” Bonner says. “We get fuzzy, almost hairy-looking roots, and when you get that type of growth, the plants simply grow faster.”
In addition to delivering greater oxygen to the crop’s root zone, AeroMax’s increased porosity and airflow enable 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 clean and pathogen-free environment for young plants to grow.
AeroMax has other functional benefits that support improved propagation. Its rich black color was strategically chosen to increase the surface temperature and synergize well with the 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.
They were designed to separate easily at transplant through a unique etching around each cube, supporting 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.
Advances in substrates and innovations like TDR soil moisture sensors in agricultural technology support farmers and indoor growers to increase yields and grow healthier, more nutrient-dense plants.