High cost – Due to phytotoxicity considerations, small amounts of nutrients should be applied at a higher frequency. However, frequent applications at lower concentrations are very costly and not practical.
Therefore, when a deficiency symptom shows up, a quick, but temporary fix, would be applying the deficient nutrient through foliar application.
Phytotoxicity – Applying high concentrations of nutrients by foliar application might result in leaf burn, as water evaporates and salts remain on the leaves.
Limited dosage – Nutrients applied in foliar application cannot meet the entire nutrient requirements of the crop.
Author: Mr. Guy Sela, agronomist, expert in plant nutrition and irrigation.
- Spray volume – Spray volume has a significant effect on the nutrient absorption efficiency. Spray volume must be such that it is sufficient to fully cover the plant canopy, but not too high so it does not run off the leaves.
- pH of the foliar spray solution – Nutrients must be in their soluble form in order for the plant to be able to absorb them. pH affects the solubility of nutrients and their interaction with other components in the water. Generally, acidic pH improves the penetration of nutrients through leaf surfaces.
In specific growth stages – Plants require different amounts of nutrients in different growth stages. It is sometimes difficult to control the nutrient balance in soil. Foliar applications of essential nutrients during key stages can improve yield and quality.
Foliar feeding is a common practice of supplying nutrients to plants through their foliage. It involves spraying water-dissolved fertilizers directly on the leaves.
11 facts about foliar-sprays you must know before your next foliar application.
With foliar feeding, the nutrients travel through the stoma or epidermis and then can be used straight away by the plant. Proved by adding radioactive markers such as phosphorus and potassium to the nutrient mix, scientists at the Michigan State University concluded that foliar feeding can be 8-10 times faster than soil feeding! If soil feeding is like the plant eating, then foliar feeding is an intravenous line going straight into the bloodstream.
By feeding the leaves with phosphorus, zinc and iron, you will benefit from greater efficiency of absorption compared to that of roots. When leaf-fed, the percentage of nutrients absorbed is far greater than the alternative, where part of the substances will leach out as unused water drains. When added to soil, phosphorus can also bind with other elements and thus become difficult for the plant to take in, while iron and zinc rich soil is hard to achieve in the first place.
With the foliar feed giving the plant extra energy and speeding up photosynthesis, this helps to increase the BRIX levels. The higher brix levels help to reduce the risk of blight infection in both tomatoes and potatoes.
Evolution is a pH balanced foliar feed, containing plant hormones, vitamins, trace elements, polysaccharide sugars, amino acids and bio-stimulants. It can be used once a week on top of your standard nutrients to significantly speed up the vegetative stages of growth, preparing the plant to produce more new shoots. Evolution can also help to recover weak or stressed plants, encourage mother plants to produce more shoots for cuttings with higher strike-rates and take care of any mild deficiencies . Evolution can be used once the plant has established the first set of ‘true leaves’ up until the second week of flowering.
- Balanced nutrient profile
- Stimulates soil microbes
- Increased yield
- Combating P&D (especially blight)
Foliar feeds are liquid fertiliser solutions designed to be sprayed onto the leaves, stems and other above ground parts of the plant. The plants then absorb the nutrients through the epidermis (the outer layer of cells that covers all external parts of the plant) or through the stomata (pores mostly on the underside of the leaves that regulate water content and gaseous exchanges).
From helpful advice about watering your plants in soil and a guide to magnesium nutrients, to top tips about growing hydroponic vegetables and a comprehensive overview of microbes, we’ve got everything covered.
There are many advantages to feeding in this way:
But we understand that successful horticulture is about more than just having good quality chemicals, nutrients or fetilisers, that’s why we have written this blog to provide you with the insights, tips and techniques you will need to give your garden that extra magic touch.
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