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Everything You Need to Know About Foliar Fertilizers

Of course, we all know that plants absorb their nutrients through their roots. But, way back in 1950, some research claimed that plants also absorb nutrients through the leaves. After that research, many scientific studies went into exploring the capability of leaves to absorb nutrition. And those studies revealed that plants Foliar Fertilizers absorb nutrients through their leaves at a much faster rate.  

For many years, people believed that plants absorb nutrients and minerals through the stomata of the leaves. Stomata are nothing but pores on leaves that enable plants to breathe. But, recent research revealed that micro-pores present on the leaf surface better absorb the nutrients than stomata.

However, one thing’s for sure. That leaves can absorb chemicals, minerals, and nutrients directly. Thus, many companies started investing in foliar fertilizers, which you can apply directly to leaves. Hands down, agriculture is where the food is, making it a huge business market. 

The farming industry started shifting towards foliar fertilizers, and many foliar fertilizer suppliers started booming in the market. These foliar fertilizer suppliers came with chemicals that play a vital role in plant growth. Those chemicals can stimulate humic acid, proteins, beneficial microbes, and plant hormones. 

Hence, foliar fertilization has started gaining momentum worldwide. Applying foliar fertilizer is no big deal. All you need is to dilute it with water and spray it on your plants. Thus, the plants will absorb the nutrients through their leaves, receiving an instant benefit.

So, what exactly are foliar fertilizers? Why do farmers, gardeners, and agriculturists choose them? Read on to gain complete insights regarding foliar fertilizer solutions.

What is Foliar Fertilizer?

Foliar fertilizers are liquid fertilizers that you can apply directly to leaves. Foliar fertilizers promote nutrient absorption, and more than 90% of the fertilizers go straight to the plant. The leaves absorb the nutrients directly, which in turn stimulates root development as the plant starts to demand more water. 

Yes, foliar fertilizers help increase the intake of nutrients from the soil as it encourages the plants to absorb more water. Thus, it nourishes the plant and prevents it from suffering any deficiency. However, it is not an alternative to soil fertilizer and soil conditioning. Instead, it just acts as a supplement to increase efficiency and enhance plant health. 

In general, nutrient intake from the soil will take several days. Thus, it will take anywhere from a few days to months to see noticeable results. But, liquid foliar fertilizers come in handy to boost nutrition absorption as the fertilizer goes straight to the plants rather than remaining in the soil. 

Things to Consider while using Foliar Fertilizers:

Foliar fertilization has been more in practice in recent times. Agriculturalists and farmers worldwide have turned towards foliar fertilizer as it promotes nutrition absorption in plants, aiding faster growth. 

However, to enjoy the optimal benefits of foliar fertilizer, you need to follow some precautions. 

  • Firstly, dilute the foliar fertilizer before applying it to prevent fertilizer burn. The concentrated form will be more vigorous, and accidental spills can get you burns.
  • Next is applying the fertilizer to the plants at the right time. That is the optimal time when the plants are most likely to benefit. The ideal time to apply foliar fertilizer is when the temperature is cold, and some dew drops remain on the leaves. Thus, you can apply foliar fertilizer to the plants early in the morning or late in the evening for better absorption. Spraying the fertilizer during heat can damage the plant, and it is better to avoid doing so.  
  • Finally, it is crucial to know the nutritional needs of the plant. Not all plants are similar, and the fertilizer formulated for one plant may not suit another. Thus, learning about the nutritional needs of your plants will let you choose the ideal foliar fertilizer that is best suitable for your plants. So, read all the ingredients listed on the fertilizer before purchasing it. You can always clarify at the store if you are not sure about the product. 

How do leaves absorb chemicals from Foliar Fertilizers?

Plant leaves look fairly solid. How do they even absorb nutrients? There is some interesting story behind this theory. For many years, we believed that plants absorb their nutrients through stomata. Stomata are nothing but pores present on leaves. Plants use stomata for breathing and expelling excess water. 

Of course, plants do absorb chemicals from foliar fertilizers through stomata. But stomata are very waxy and cannot absorb much water. And, the most recent research revealed that the existence of micropores on the leaf surface absorbs the chemicals much better. These openings are much lesser in size than stomata, and they take the maximum nutrients from foliar fertilizer. 

When to use Foliar?

Foliar fertilizer solutions play a dynamic role in crop nutrition. Yes, foliar fertilization helps in increasing yield by enhancing plant health. In fact, foliar fertilization can increase yield by around 25% compared to traditional fertilization. You can utilize foliar fertilizer for your advantage by using it in specific conditions like:

  • Liquid Foliar Fertilizer is an ideal solution when the root system is not functioning optimally or nutrition through the soil is malfunctioning. 
  • Root uptake is often disturbed by various factors, including extremely cold or warm soils, high soil PH, high weed competition, or nematode infestation. Foliar fertilizers can help plants combat deficiencies and reduce stressful situations. 
  • Farmers can use foliar fertilizer when they find an obvious shortage of a specific nutrient upon visual indications or soil analysis. In case of deficiency, foliar fertilizer can fix that.

Benefits of Liquid Foliar Fertilizer:

  • The first and foremost benefit of foliar fertilizer is its capacity to enhance maximum nutrient absorption. 
  • Plants use only 10% of traditional fertilizers applied to the soil, whereas they use nearly 90% of the foliar fertilizer applied to the leaves.
  • Foliar fertilizers seem to be more effective than traditional soil-based fertilizers in the sandy loam.
  • Foliar fertilizers are quite effective in matching soil deficits. Plus, it also helps to overcome the soil’s inability to transfer nutrients to the plants under low moisture conditions. 
  • Foliar feeding is cost-effective, quick, and efficient. 

Limitations of Foliar Fertilizers:

  • For most garden plants, the primary pathway for nutrient intake is through roots. Leaves can absorb nutrients to a certain extent. But for major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, plants still rely on roots. So, Foliar fertilizer is only a supplement and cannot replace regular soil-based fertilizers.
  • Regular use of foliar fertilizers is not advisable without a documented need. 
  • Always test your soil and fertilize it as per soil requirements. Foliar fertilization will never replace good soil fertility management. 

Final Thoughts:

Crops need minerals and nutrients for optimal growth, just like humans do. Fertilizers, in general, play a vital role in food production and agricultural product. Plants are essential for feeding the world, and fertilizers are crucial for taking care of plants. That says enough about the importance of fertilizers. 

Foliar fertilizer can be a farmer’s best friend. It helps in nourishing the plants with vital nutrients and minerals. Plants can absorb foliar fertilizers faster through their leaves, resulting in excellent growth and sustainable yield. Quality plays a crucial role when it comes to selecting the foliar fertilizer. So, make sure you get high-quality foliar fertilizer from a reputed foliar fertilizer supplier.

Read More: Why Do Indian Farmers Need Crop Protection Products?

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