Foliar fertilizers can provide immediate nutrients to the crop during the growing season to overcome or prevent deficiencies and increase yield. They are used in much smaller amounts per acre and applied with a sprayer, typically with a pesticide. Foliar fertilizers are a supplement to soil applied fertilizer, not a replacement. Foliar fertilizers are typically applied with herbicide applications earlier in the growing season or with fungicide later in the season.
Applying foliar fertilizers with other foliar chemicals will minimize the application cost. Early morning and evening applications are typically the most effective. Nutrient adsorption into the leaf is enhanced when air temperatures are
less than 85ºF and high humidity is present. Applications made to young, actively growing tissue and buds are generally most effective.
Foliar fertilizers enable the crop to resume growth following external stress from hail, frost, heat, wind, mechanical damage, disease and anaerobic conditions and increase crop performance under normal or favorable conditions to increase yields.
Foliar Fertilizers have several benefits, such as:
- Supplying nutrients during peak periods of demand when an immediate response is needed
- Providing plants with certain nutrients that may not be readily available for root uptake
- Allowing flexibility in supplying nutrients related to improving grain quality
- Minimizing nutrient losses in conditions with high potential loss
- Providing a nutrient source during periods of stress when soil applications are not practical
- Giving a nutritional boost to plants at the same time that other foliar pesticides are being applied, thereby minimizing application expenses