Let us look at the different nutrients required by crops at each growth stage, how they contribute to the growth of your crops and their ideal levels of applications.
Growing happy, healthy plants is not always easy! Plants need thirteen different minerals from the soil in order to fully develop. Six of these nutrients are needed in large quantities.
These six essential nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and calcium.
WHAT DO THESE NUTRIENTS DO?
Let us first break them down according to each nutrients below:
- Nitrogen: Nitrate (the form of nitrogen that plants use) helps foliage grow strong by affecting the plant’s leaf development. It is also responsible for giving plants their green coloring by helping with chlorophyll production
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is responsible for assisting with the growth of roots and flowers. Phosphorus also helps plants withstand environmental stress and harsh winters
- Potassium: Potassium strengthens plants, contributes to early growth and helps retain water. It also affects the plant’s disease and insect suppression
- Magnesium: Magnesium contributes to the green coloring of plants
- Sulfur: Sulfur helps plant resist disease and grow and form seeds. They also aid in the production of amino acids, proteins, enzymes and vitamins
- Calcium: Calcium aids in the growth and development of cell walls. This is key because well-developed cell walls help resist disease. It is also necessary for metabolism and the “uptake of nitrate”
The Different Nutrients Required by Crops at each Growth Stage
The Root Stage
At this stage, crops need more phosphorus than any other nutrient because it’s the phosphorus that’s responsible for DNA/RNA, ATP, cell membrane development in a plant hence its very necessary to kick start growth! This should be supplied along nitrogen….
The Vegetative Stage
This is the stage at which vegetative parts grow e.g branches, stems, leaves… growing of these requires food, which is manufactured best by use of nitrogen which facilitates chlorophyll.
At this stage you need more nitrogen and magnesium than any other stage, the nitrogen is one that boosts process of protein production, which in turn is a building block for growing parts.
Use fertilizers like UREA, CAN, NPK and supplement with vegetative foliar fertilizers like easy grow vegetative.
DURING VEGETATIVE GROWTH AND BEYOND
This stage needs more of potassium and trace elements. Trace elements are those nutrients needed in small quantities. These play of supplement small roles of the much needed nutrients. For example calcium helps build quality fruit skins,or outer walls.
Potassium is a macro nutrient, it plays a role of reducing and fighting stress in plants, brings life to the dying plants,reduces water loss, helps to boost the process of food breakdown by plants!
More potassium,calcium and some trace elements is needed here depending on rope and fruit type, with reduced nitrogen but more trace elements!
At this stage if possible reduce vegetative parts on the crops for example; melons e cut off the end to avoid them growing longer, tomatoes reduce on leaves etc so that available trace nutrients focus on fruit development and plant well being!
Foliar fertilizers, are good nutrient supplies because they are easily taken up by plants and also provide high amounts of trace elements!
These also have steps for example easy starter is for root development, vegetative is for growth of vegetative parts, and fruit and flower