When Hiddenite, N.C., farmer Lawrence Branton took a look at his greenhouse filled with dying tobacco transplants his stomach churned and he could envision what would come next, and it was all bad.

Branton bought the transplants from neighbor and friend Chad Blake in nearby Union Grove, N.C. “I knew Chad and I would work something out, but I didn’t know how we would do it,” Branton recalls.

The young tobacco plants in three greenhouses were dying — it was obvious they weren’t getting enough nutrient uptake to survive and build a strong root system.

Blake called now retired North Carolina Department of Agriculture Agronomist Glen Howard. The North Carolina agronomist had been contracted to do a series of field trials with a new soil amendment product called Quick-Sol.

Steve Speros, vice-president of sales for Quick-Sol in North American says, “Glen asked me if we could spray some of the product on these tobacco transplants. We had never sprayed plants in a greenhouse, so I asked what they were planning to do with the plants and Glen said they would probably just throw them away. So, I figured we didn’t have anything to lose,” Speros recalls.

No one, from the veteran farmer Lawrence Branton, to the product promoter Steve Speros, to the veteran agronomist Glen Howard expected what happened next.

Within six days Branton’s transplants were cleared up and green and, he says, about as good as any transplants he ever planted on his farm. Speros says he was amazed at the result and asked to plant a 12-acre test field of the transplants, plus a smaller field, and treat them three times with Quick-Sol.

After seeing what the product did on the transplants, Branton was quick to agree to spraying about 10 percent of his tobacco crop with a product that he didn’t even know existed a few weeks earlier.

“I’ve been farming full time since 1976, and I’ve seen all kinds of snake oil products and sales people come and go. I didn’t think much about spraying this product I’d never heard about on some dying tobacco transplants — I was much more worried about how to get a tobacco crop planted,” Branton notes.