Flush With Success! Post-Harvest Is the Time to Ready Perennials for Spring

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Most perennial crops will do a final leaf flush after harvest or in the fall, to expand new root growth and store sugar produced through photosynthesis as starch to be used for next year’s spring growth flush. The tree also reduces its total moisture content and begins to synthesize the proteins it will need in its dormant period.

Leaf flushing comes after leaf fall, and is delayed by temperate weather. Fertilization, especially the use of foliar sprays, will augment root expansion via translocation of nutrients from the plant foliage to the root systems, as well as to the woody areas. Much of the new wood growth in the next season will be impacted by the extent of post-harvest fertility applications. Optimum fertilization can be correlated to the leaf-flush schedule.

The greatest amount of new root growth occurs after harvest, when irrigation water is applied or rainfall occurs. Research has shown that as much as half of all nutrients are taken up by the trees during this period. Uptake begins to taper off as soil temperatures drop and the last leaves fall. This is the proper time to promote root flush and to use irrigation water to help remove excessive salts in the plant and root zone. If a plant takes up excess salt, it can reach toxic amounts in the plant, causing a host of problems.

In preparation for what the new crop season may bring, I like the idea of doing as much as possible now. Last year, for instance, flooding and wet ground delayed getting into the fields early enough to apply nutrients at first growth. Our microbial based foliar fertilizers, Agrostim 10.25-5.40-6.60, Agroprime 11.15-.25-3.75 (OMRI listed), Supergrow 6-2-12 and Cropstim 14-8-10 are excellent ways to get the most out of the the post-harvest process and provide an optimum start to the coming spring season.