In-Season Foliar Fertilization
As your crops continue to grow and advance in their life cycle, they have different nutrient demands at different growth stages. There are advantages to split applying fertilizer and leaving some for foliar applications in season. When you don’t put everything down up front, you’re spreading out the risk of those nutrients being leached out, volatilized or tied up with things like calcium, sodium or magnesium.
When fertilizer applications are spread out in 2, 3 or even 4 different timings in some areas, you’re giving that crop the nutrition it needs throughout its entire life cycle exactly when it needs it. This is especially the case when it comes to macronutrients, specifically nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) (see wheat N uptake curve above). If you apply all of the crop’s nutritional needs at planting, chances are very high you are going to lose a lot of what you’re putting down on the soil. This would leave the plant short of what it needs during the critical periods of its life cycle.
Foliar fertilizers are also much more efficient than soil-applied fertilizers because you are placing that nutrient directly into the plant through the leaf surface area. For example, the following is a comparison of foliar versus soil-applied N, P and K:
- 1 lb foliar-applied N = 10-15 lbs soil-applied N
- 1 lb foliar-applied P = 20 lbs soil-applied P
- 1 lb foliar-applied K = 27 lbs soil-applied K
This not only gives that crop the nutrition it needs at the right time, but it also makes your fertilizer applications much more efficient. Most foliar fertilizers are compatible with many herbicide and fungicides, which makes them much easier to use.
Helena Chemical Company offers a multitude of different foliar fertilizer products for your unique crop needs. Contact your local Helena representative for more information on how you can make your fertilizer program more efficient.
- Joe Janecke, Product Manager