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How do you install new substrates in a greenhouse?

Written by Tom de Haas | Last update: 18-05-2020

In many cases, a new crop cycle starts with a new substrate, as this is more hygienic than reusing existing substrate mats. After you have chosen the right substrate mat, your order is delivered and you can start working with the new substrate after having removed the previous crop. It is important that you handle the substrate mats correctly. That is why we list a number of points of attention for you and offer advice for installing new substrate mats. 

Taking delivery

  • If you will not be using the new substrate mats immediately after receipt, store them in a clean and dry place. We strongly advise against storage outside.
  • Place the pallets at a location outside the production area, where the substrates cannot be damaged by employees or transport equipment. This is because damage can cause inequality in initial saturation, poor crop rooting and inequality in plant structure.
  • Keep the delivery data to ensure the traceability of the substrate mats (e.g. the retrieval codes).

Installing the substrate mats

  • Place the mats with the right side up (check the arrow and read the text on the film).
  • If you ordered substrate mats without pre-perforated plant holes, determine what interspacing you want to apply between the plant holes.
  • Insert the irrigation pins. Make sure that the pins do not pierce through the mat.
  • Crops should not be planted on dry mats. Therefore, the substrate should be filled with the nutrient solution suitable for your crop at least 48 hours before planting. Make sure that the solution is warm (> 18°C), so that the young plants do not suffer from cold shock.
  • Check to ensure all mats are properly filled. If the substrate mat is fully filled, the packaging film becomes lumpy, while the nutrient solution can be seen on the surface of the mat. If the mat is not full, fill it up manually using a watering can.
  • In order to ensure maximum capillary action of the substrate mat, the mat must remain fully saturated for at least 24 hours. An exception applies in the event of extremely high temperatures: in that case, fill the mats at night so that the solution does not become too hot. This is because an excessively hot solution (> 26°C) increases the risk of Pythium.
  • Create drainage holes in the substrate mats at least 24 hours before planting. Do this correctly, to ensure you obtain the best crop results.



  • Discuss with your supplier the conditions under which the plants are transported so you can be sure that the plants are delivered in a good condition.
  • A temperature between 18°C and 28°C offers the best conditions for the plants to root. Therefore, make sure that the greenhouse and the substrate are at the right temperature.
  • Prevent cold shock by moving the plants directly to the greenhouse and planting them as quickly as possible.

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Questions about installing subtrate mats?

If you have a question about installing or using your new substrate mat or if you would like to receive customised advice, please contact Tom de Haas, or ask your question by completing the form below.

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