Optimizing Fruit Set

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A few weeks go we presented newsletters addressing ways to improve fruit set. Getting a good bloom and fruit set is critical. I’ve always made the analogy that prior to fruit set it’s all about the “mother,” or getting the plant as healthy as possible. After fruit set, it’s all about the “baby,” as plant energy is redirected to fruit development.

Plants need energy to grow. Once green shoots and leaves begin to grow, plants can produce their own food by photosynthesis. The products of photosynthesis are called photosynthates, which are usually in the form of simple sugars such as sucrose. These sugars are transported through the plant via the phloem in a process called translocation. Why is this particularly important now? These photosynthates were directed to the shoots and leaves (mother) during vegetative growth but shift to move plant energy to the seeds and fruit (baby) during reproductive development.

As fruit set begins, the fruit becomes an additional sink for photosynthates. Sink is where sugars are delivered in the plant. A portion is incrementally diverted from growing shoot tips. By this time, with carbon reserves largely depleted, the vine relies solely on this year’s canopy to support further canopy development and shoot growth as well as cluster development. Shoot tips and fruit “compete” as sinks for photosynthate.

We like the idea of helping to accelerate photosynthesis, or turning up the power, and this year’s inconsistent weather increases the need to promote photosynthesis and overall plant energy and growth.

Our complex foliar fertilizers (Agroprime, Agrostim, SuperGrow and Cropstim) are an essential input, providing the 17 ingredients that all plants need  (N, K, Ca, Mg, P, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, B, Zn, Mo, Amino Acids, etc.) in a ratio that they can be processed or taken up by the plant. Foliars also contribute to root exudation that further regulate the soil microbial community in the rhizosphere, helping nutrient cycling and contributing to plant growth

CropBioLife, a biostimulant, is a flavonoid. Flavonoids boost and balance secondary metabolism in plants, improving overall plant health and stress resistance. Once in the plant, flavonoids create, through biosynthesis, natural triggers to plant health including increased nutrient uptake by the plant that promotes greater photosynthesis capabilities. It’s been found that exudation of flavonoids signal compounds for rhizobia. Rhizobia are bacteria that fix nitrogen. Flavonoids also contribute to enhanced phenolics and sugars in fruit.

Sea-Crop is a liquid concentrate containing an abundance of elements and minerals from seawater that positively impacts the exchange capacity in soils. Soils can be thought of as storehouses for plant nutrients. Many nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium, may be supplied to plants solely from reserves held in the soil. Others, like potassium, are added regularly to soils as fertilizer for the purpose of being withdrawn as needed by crops. The relative ability of soils to store one particular group of nutrients, the cations, is referred to as cation exchange capacity or CEC. Sea-Crop contains fulvic acids, enzymes, proteins, growth stimulating factors and other natural substances that contribute to plant development and support pest and disease resistance.

Metagrow ST Compost Tea can contribute to having earlier sugar and better sugar-to-acid ratios. They can help with crop maturation by revving up the soil biology so plants can access nutrients more efficiently and mitigate other plant stresses, contributing to more uniform growth and fruit development.

Finally, our seaweed extract product called Aquasap is a 0-0-35. Seaweed helps to expand root systems, which contributes to healthier foliage, flowers and fruit. In addition, with its natural element of Potassium (0-0-35), in photosynthesis, it regulates the opening and closing of the stomata affecting CO2 uptake. Potassium triggers activation of enzymes and is essential for production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is an important energy source for many chemical processes taking place in plant tissues.

Together, these products have the capability to optimize fruit development.