Transplanting seedlings on a flexible schedule: PlantTape gives growers logistical freedom

Transplanting seedlings on a flexible schedule: PlantTape gives growers logistical freedom

One of the many benefits of the PlantTape automated transplanting system is the logistical flexibility it gives growers and greenhouse operators. Specifically, PlantTape seedlings can be planted at any time after the sowing process.

With conventional transplanting, plants and roots must be sufficiently developed to withstand being manually pulled from celled nursery trays. A transplant that is pulled too early can be damaged or destroyed.

Because PlantTape places transplants into the ground with minimal human touch and without disturbing the roots, seedlings can be planted at any time after sowing. Whether the seedling is at the cotyledon stage or with 5 true leaves, the PlantTape planting modules cut the tape between plants and place each into the soil, while the tape material protects and encapsulates the delicate roots. 

Advantages to growers of the PlantTape system

Produce markets and weather conditions are volatile, and PlantTape’s versatility gives growers the ability to adapt planting schedules to navigate unpredictable events.

Potential planting scenarios and the PlantTape advantage

For example, a broccoli grower might have 20-day old seedlings in the greenhouse when she gets notice that two weeks of rain are moving in. With conventional methods, broccoli plants are too young and fragile to be pulled from their trays at 20 days, so the grower has no choice but to plant in the mud after the storm.

With the PlantTape system, in contrast, the grower can adjust her planting schedule to get the broccoli transplants into the ground before the rain arrives. The seedlings get the advantage of all the rain, and the workers won’t be potentially rained out, and don’t have to plant in the mud.

Planttape trays with seedlings at different ages


To use another example, a celery grower has 45-day old seedlings in the greenhouse when he learns that part of his crew is moving on in a week, leaving him short-staffed. (Read how PlantTape reduces transplanting labor requirements by 80%.)

Given the scarcity of skilled agricultural labor, the grower can’t hire more employees in time, and his celery is too young to plant immediately with conventional methods.

Again, PlantTape to the rescue. The grower decides to plant before the workers depart, and PlantTape handles the young celery seedlings just fine.


Six different stages of transplants from 1 week to 6 weeks old

A demonstration with romaine seedlings of different ages

To demonstrate PlantTape’s ability to transplant seedlings at almost any maturation stage, we recently loaded our transplanter with six lines of romaine, each line being a different aged plant, and planted it near Salinas, CA.

On the far left, a line of romaine sown one week prior, with cotyledons barely sprouting. On the far right, a line of romaine at 6 weeks with 4-5 true leaves and three-inch tall plants. In between were lines of romaine at 2, 3, 4, and 5 weeks.

As seen in the YouTube video, the PlantTape planting modules had no issue precisely placing each seedling into the soil, regardless of developmental stage.

When we checked in on the 6 lines two weeks (?) after planting, all seedlings were thriving. 

To learn more about PlantTape, or to request a field demo, contact or call +1 (888) 272-6828

PlantTape Announces Key Leadership Promotions

PlantTape Announces Key Leadership Promotions

Lance Portman takes on role as President of PlantTape and Hunter Smith promoted to Vice President of Agriculture & Sales

Lance Portman is the new President of PlantTape

Lance Portman is the new President of PlantTape

SALINAS, Ca. (June 22, 2021) –   PlantTape®, an automated transplanting system, announced today the promotion of Lance Portman to President and Hunter Smith to Vice President of Agriculture & Sales.  The two key promotions will provide the innovative company with ample support for continued growth within the United States and globally.

“Both Lance and Hunter joined our PlantTape team at a pivotal time of growth and have been there every step of the way during PlantTape’s commercialization,” said Brian Antle, prior President of PlantTape.  “Their combined knowledge, leadership skills and in depth understanding of the agriculture industry as well as PlantTape system, will continue to take this innovative company far into the future.”

Brian Antle previously served as PlantTape's President

Brian Antle previously served as PlantTape’s President

Portman joined the forward thinking PlantTape team in 2018 as Vice President of Engineering.  Prior to joining PlantTape, he held several leadership positions that spanned across the United States, Canada, Indonesia, and Singapore.  Portman held numerous roles during his 14-year tenure at BJ Services Company, which included Technical Advisor and Director of Research & Engineering Coiled Tubing.  He additionally served as Vice President of Coiled Tubing & Cementing at Baker Hughes Incorporated and Vice President of Marketing at Cormorant Engineering LLC.  In his new role as President of PlantTape, Portman will oversee all operations and drive the company’s success in transforming the automated transplanting for vegetable, tomato, hemp and other crops.

“PlantTape is a fantastic, labor and money saving technology that is yet to reach its full potential across all applications. I am honored for the chance to take on this key leadership role within PlantTape, and the opportunity to make this the most successful and accepted transplanting system globally,” said Portman.  “I look forward to forming new partnerships with growers, and pledge to continue to give our existing customers the best service possible.”

Hunter Smith has been promoted to VP of Agriculture and Sales

Hunter Smith has been promoted to VP of Agriculture and Sales

Hunter Smith, Ph.D., joined PlantTape in 2018 as the company’s Director of Agronomy.  Smith received his bachelor’s degree from Arkansas State University and attended graduate school at the University of Florida.  He completed his doctorate program in Agronomy there in 2016.  Prior to his current role at PlantTape, Smith performed field research, developed pesticide programs, and optimized growing practices for Generation Farms in Southeast Georgia.  In his new role as Vice President of Agriculture & Sales, Smith will continue to oversee the agronomic studies of PlantTape while taking on the management of the company’s sales team.

“With significant labor shortages on the farm, automation is taking over the agricultural industry.  PlantTape is leading the automation revolution and I’m excited to continue working for such an innovative company,” said Smith.  “We’ve made great progress over the last few years and I look forward to PlantTape becoming the dominant transplanting technology around the world.”

About PlantTape

PlantTape is an automated transplanting system

PlantTape is an automated transplanting system

PlantTape is an automated transplanting system that is ideal for agricultural producers aiming for increased efficiency and productivity. The system is more efficient than the conventional transplanting method and offers a fully integrated system from sowing the tape, to germination and nursery care, to transplanting in the field. PlantTape is commercially used to transplant vegetables, tomatoes, hemp and other crops.

A PlantTape automated transplanter in the field

A PlantTape automated transplanter in the field