As 2018 bloom continues in California’s tree fruit and tree nut crops, mother nature continues her promise to not let the farmer’s rest. From early spring-like temperatures, to hard freezes, and lots of rain, it is hard to tell how to best treat your bloom.
“In a season that starts out like this, I always advise my growers to continue to make scheduled sprays to give all buds and fruitlets the best chance at surviving these stresses. Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach can leave yields lower than they need to be. In a few weeks you will better see the strength of the crop and adjust your fertilization accordingly,” says Kirk Anderson, PCA and Territory Manager with Nutrient Technologies.
Kirk bases his bloom spray programs on either TECH-FLO® Bloom Blend or TECH-FLO All Season Blend. Each has a balanced blend of essential nutrients. All Season Blend is slightly more concentrated and includes potassium and more sulfur than Bloom Blend. TECH-FLO Zeta Zinc 22% or TECH-FLO Phi are often added as targeted nutrients to address each orchard’s individual needs.
ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS FOR BLOOM
Boron improves pollen viability and therefore contributes to increased fruit set. Boron also contributes to the differentiation of meristemic cells, assists in calcium uptake, and the movement of starch to the roots. The best time for boron applications is during “pink bud” in orchards and then as needed after pollination or petal fall.
Calcium is essential during early cell division and growth, resulting in a distinct effect on vegetation and fruit set. Adequate calcium is important for forming cell walls, rigid structures, enhancing pollen germination and growth. Calcium is not very mobile in plant tissues, which makes foliar applications especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth. Adequate calcium during bloom improves quality of fruit, especially in stone and pome fruit, where flavor, shipping, and storage qualities are especially important to growers.
Zinc is another essential nutrient that is not very mobile and works best as a foliar spray. Zinc is needed for the formation of chlorophyll, hormone growth, and plant protein synthesis. It is essential for proper cell elongation, internodal growth, lengthening of internodes, and in vineyards, for the full expansion in bunches. Zinc is known to be deficient in many western soils and zinc applications are beneficial in dormant, delayed dormant, and bloom spray programs.
Iron and Manganese uptake is affected by soil pH, free lime, and irrigation water high in bicarbonates. Iron is required for chlorophyll formation and serves as an activator for respiration, photosynthesis, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Manganese serves as an activator for enzymes in plant growth processes and formation of chlorophyll. Iron and manganese deficiency symptoms are often seen in spring and early summer and need to be corrected by applying nutrients. These two nutrients affect the uptake and availability of each other, so using the correct forms in the right amounts is important to see the benefits.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TARGETING A NUTRIENT PROGRAM FOR YOUR NEEDS, EMAIL US OR YOUR FERTILIZER DEALER.