We all know that the application of nutrients to leaves and soil is a valid way to get food to a tree.
Apply nutrients to bark and woody tissue
The roots can uptake all nutrients and the tree can move them to the point of need.
Most of the crop’s N, P, and K (macronutrients) are applied to the soil. Treatments to the leaves can be faster and provide a convenient and timely foliar feed to match the requirements of the tree (these foliar treatments are often used for secondary and micro nutrients).
Over the years, farmers have learnt that the woody tissue sites (such as the trunk, branches, and dormant buds) can also absorb food and pesticides.
Treatments such as lime sulphur are applied to trees in dormancy and often elements such as nitrogen and zinc are used to help defoliation. Following these treatments, elemental nutrients can be seen to lift in the following season.
Nutrients applied to bark & woody tissue are translocated
Research in the late 1950s at Michigan State University in the USA showed that many elements could be absorbed by the bark and woody tissue and translocated in the tree (they used nutrients tagged with radio isotopes).
Following this discovery, some farmers adopted the practice of feeding the dormant wood with elements such as calcium, and saw benefits with tissue calcium levels in the spring. Problems such as bitter pit on apples could be reduced.
We also know that dormancy breakers such as hydrogen cyanimide can be applied in late dormancy to help hasten bud burst.
Bud Feed Plus: apply before budburst
Recognising all this, the Stoller Group designed a product called Bud Feed Plus which is designed to be sprayed on the trees prior to bud burst.
The product provides valuable amine nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium to the tree and in relatively large quantities (as there is low risk of burning a dormant tree).
The other side effect of this is fuelling a stronger and more even budburst.
This is a great tool when trees have lacked a post-harvest nutrient treatment or in varieties with early budburst that can be weak in colder conditions.
Advantages of Bud Feed Plus
The product Bud Feed Plus is now commonly applied to a range of tree and vines with the following advantages:
- Applied in dormancy so higher rates can be used without phytotoxicity
- Contains critical nutrients for healthy spring growth (N, Ca, Mg)
- Can trigger a stronger more even budburst
- Helps varieties with weaker early growth habits
- Ensures key nutrients are in the tree at the earliest growth stages.
Normally Bud Feed Plus is applied after pruning and at least two weeks before any green bud tissue is visible.
Rates vary according to the requirements, but at rates of 40–60 litres per hectare with water for thorough coverage to run-off.
Analysis (N 23.0%, Ca 6.0%, Mg 2.0%, plus Stoller’s Co-Factors)
contact Stoller Australia
Call 1800 FERTILISER visit
See this article in Tree Fruit April 2017