All plants absorb nutrients through their leaves and stems using stomata, which are little openings similar to the pores of human skin. Plants absorb foliar sprays 20 times faster than soil-applied nutrients, which is like the difference between eating and digesting a meal or receiving nutrients via an I.V. Foliar application help plants compensate for soil deficiencies during the growing season, including low fertility and low soil temperature. Foliars fortify plants facing other types of stress as well, such as drought, heat, cold, mechanical or insect damage or pathogens. Foliar feeding can be timed to encourage and/or enhance critical points in the plant’s growth cycle, such as seedling emergence, rapid growth phases or flowering, fruiting and seed formation. Many crops benefit from 6-8 foliar feeding applications per season.
Purposes of Foliar Feeding
- To improve plant health and development of nutrient uptake from the root system is suppressed or delayed
- To alleviate physiological stress after or before exposure of the plant to unfavorable weather events
- To supplement overall nutritional status of plants grown under intensive conditions or low soil fertility conditions
- To supplement nutrient supplies during critical peak demand periods
Considerations for Foliar Feeding
- Don’t attempt to completely replace a properly constructed soil fertilizer program with foliar feeds. A plant cannot absorb sufficient quantities of most nutrients via the foliage to satisfy its full requirement for those nutrients
- Don’t apply foliar feeds:
- During the warmest period of the day, during hot weather conditions, or to wilted plants
- With Lime Sulfur, Bordeau mixture or other potentially damaging substances
- With certain stickers
Foliar Feeding Suggestions
- Any foliar feeding recommendation should be discussed your local fertilizer distributor, crop consultant, and/or manufacturers representative before use.
- Crop production, yield and quality are determined by many factors, including but not limited to: crop type and variety, weather conditions, insect/disease pressures, soil type, fertility, compaction and drainage.
- Foliar fertilizers are to be used in conjunction with a balanced soil fertility program. We recommend that soil fertility levels are determined with an annual soil test in order to establish a baseline for both soil and foliar application recommendations. Frequent leaf and/or petiole analysis are highly recommended and should be taken near the intended time of application if possible.
- Exercise caution in applying any active chemicals during times of plant stress or extreme temperature. For the best results, apply foliar nutrients after irrigation or rain, early in the morning or late afternoon, and when the foliage is completely dry.
- These suggestions are given in good faith, we cannot be held responsible for product applications and use due to the many variable factors mentioned above.