DLF Seeds, the company behind the Johnsons Lawn Seed brand, is channelling investment into research that will bring innovative new lawn seed and fertilisers to market, designed to meet the challenges posed by climate change.
More than 10% of the workforce at DLF Seeds is employed solely in research and development, with the company committing €14million per year to pioneering research projects that will supply retailers with lawncare products of the future.
Scientists say the planet is experiencing what’s set to be the warmest decade since records began in 1850. A BBC report claimed that over the next five years there’s a chance we’ll see a 12-month period in which the average global temperature rise could exceed 1.5C – an alarming prediction. DLF Seeds is pumping investment into research, to introduce products that offer outstanding performance, even during periods of drought and heavy rainfall.
Johnson’s Lawn Seed’s Guy Jenkins said: “Headlines about the accelerating pace of climate change are causing widespread concern within the scientific community, and consumers are understandably worried about the effect of weather extremes on gardens. We are running an extensive research programme that is investigating grass varieties that will tolerate the types of extreme conditions that are expected in future. New products that deliver proven results despite challenging growing conditions hold the key to future growth in lawncare, and give retailers the confidence to dedicate floorspace to this important category.”
A Royal Horticultural Society report, Gardening in a Changing Climate, underpinned the need for new grass seed that will thrive in erratic weather conditions. The study predicted “extreme rainfall events” that may lead to waterlogging and flash flooding, while hot, dry spells are tipped to increase, resulting in water shortages. Milder springs and autumns may extend the growing season – potentially expanding the lawncare sales season for retailers.
DLF Seeds’ investment in R&D has already led to a major lawn fertiliser launch this year. A collaborative project resulted in a UK first – an organic, triple-action lawn fertiliser called Super Smart Lawn Feed. Significant scientific research went into the product, which uses beneficial bacteria (Azospirillum) to fix nitrogen to roots, soluble mycorrhizae, which can increase the root system by 150 times, and seaweed extract for dense, green growth.
One of the R&D team’s notable success stories is a tetraploid lawn seed. It has three times as much energy as ordinary seeds, and it’s faster to germinate and establish, even at temperatures as low as 3C, while offering the benefits of improved colour, better drought-tolerance and deeper rooting, which leads to a lower requirement for watering and feeding.
Many of Johnsons’ top-selling products, including Lawn Thickener Lawn Seed, Luxury Lawn and Shady Place Lawn Seed, contain an innovation called Seedbooster ®. The two-in-one coating of fast and slow-release fertiliser, developed for the professional turf market, offers consumers the benefit of fast germination and establishment, with up to 30% more grass. Another key selling point is that the coating is unpalatable to birds.
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