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GardenSMART :: Foliar Feeding Your Plants is a Good Idea

Foliar Feeding Your Plants is a Good Idea

By Nature's Lawn

Plants need different nutrients at different stages of development. Granular fertilizer blends that are applied pre-planting may or may not release the proper nutrients when they are needed. Nutrient release can be affected by soil compaction and drainage, bioactivity, soil temperature, dry or wet weather, and a host of other factors. Foliar feeding plants (foliar means through the leaves) the right nutrients exactly when they are needed yields better and more predictable results in your garden than you might have ever thought possible. Foliar feeding is a fast and very economical way to fertilize.

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In fact, testing done many years ago by the Atomic Energy Commission proves that it is 8-10 times more effective to foliar feed a plant as far as the amount of nutrients required and the speed with which those nutrients are utilized. Our opinion: Foliar feeding is by far the best approach to use to insure maximum growth, yields, and quality by overcoming limitations of the soil and its ability to transfer nutrients into the plant.

Nutrients sprayed correctly on leaves are absorbed quickly and are distributed throughout the whole plant or tree within minutes. This means that you only have to spray some of the leaves to get nutrients to all of the plant, including the roots. This can boost plant health and production dramatically. The "law of little bits" always applies in foliar feeding. It is better to spray smaller amounts of material often rather than try to drown a plant in one large dose.

So, whether you want greener grass, more flowers, more fruits or vegetables, or just more growth from a plant, foliar feeding every 7 to 10 days, or every two weeks is a great technique for serious gardeners.

Foliar Feeding Tips:

  • Spray early in the morning for best absorption and avoid mid-day heat. Early evening after the temperature has dropped is the next best time.
  • Spray as much of the underside of the leaves as possible. This is where the majority of the stomata (pores) are.
  • Only spray plants that have been watered regularly and are not under drought stress.
  • Use a fine mist trigger sprayer, pump sprayer, or commercial sprayer. Fine mist sprays give better coverage.

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