By Dr. Thomas T. Yamashita
Whereas photorespiration is considered a given, accepted response on the part of Carbon-3 (C-3) plants, which encompasses more than 98% of all agronomic plant species, we have discovered a manner by which the plant is induced to continuing its positive photosynthetic harvest and continues to accumulate carbon and energy for fueling the plant metabolism, provide necessary carbon-energy units for the crop and various superior quality parameters and to allow the plant to express a very effective defense or resistance response to various challenges to its health.
Foliar Applications: Field Research Examples
A young tomato field had been neglected in several critical irrigations and was severely stunted and had aborted its first set of blossoms. The manager had considered pulling the plug on this field and wanted a second opinion. My examinations indicated that the field was salvageable and I proceeded in designing and instituting a remedial program, which encompassed the use of special blended liquid fertilizers and Fusion 360 technologies, and the ability to inject these at variable rates throughout the season.
The seedlings were immediately boosted in their growth and development. When heat waves did hit, the plants did not reduce or shut down their photosynthetic harvest machinery. Instead, the plants continued to harvest carbon and energy. Thus, by eliminating the shutdown from heat wave stress, we began to immediately see that the otherwise common abortion of flower buds that occurs during heat waves was eliminated from this treated block. The vines put on higher density foliage, higher density flower pedicels hosted >50% increase in girth that facilitated the size development and solids delivered and deposited into the fruit. Despite many heat waves, the vines continued to conduct photosynthetic harvest and did not fall into the throes of photorespiration. This treated block yielded ~85 tons per acre of viable fruit (normal is ~40 tons/ac). The average solids ratings were 6.5% (normal ranges for this parameter are 4%-7% solids).
Ten year lemon grove was severely debilitated with high populations of citrus nematode (>25,000/250cc soil), severe defoliation, high incidence of Phytophthora Root and crown rot, small fruit size, alternate bearing, and many other setbacks. The lemon grove was evaluated for its unique parameters and a field-specific program was put into action. A unique and superior foliar program was put into practice (average sprays per season ~12):
FG31 @ 1-2 gal/100 gal + N-Phite Magnum @ 1-2 pt/100 gal + Integ Ca @ 2-3 qt/100 gal + Integ Z422 @ 1-2 pt/100 gal + Integ FG-M @ 0.5-1 pt/100 gal + KNO3 @ 3-5 lb/100 gal + Silwet L77 @ 1-2 oz/100 gal. Sprayed @ ~150 gpa.
Five rows were left untreated. The grove also was placed on a superior Foster-Gardner custom designed, blended fertilizer program. 8-0-6 @ 4-8 gal/wk, 2-12-6 @ 3 -5 gal/wk, 0-0-7 @ 4-8 gal/wk. Although the foliar and soil-applied nutrition programs were reduced, they were nevertheless continued throughout the late fall and winter months.
The lemon grove made a rapid recovery. Within 6 weeks the canopy had developed a full head of foliage and there was a dramatic reduction in both citrus nematode and Phytophthora spp. inoculum levels. The lemon grove began to eliminate the concerns regarding alternate bearing, severe citrus nematode and Phytophthora root rot. The fruit were consistently large and the grower became a preferred source of lemons by several packing companies. Damages from citrus nematode and Phytophthora subsided dramatically. The grower was able to reduce his input of nitrogen N from 360 lbs/ac to ~165 lbs/ac, a rapidly focused concern by state and federal regulatory agencies in an attempt to reduce nitrates in the ground water and transport into various surrounding regions via erosion and runoff.
The seedlings were uneven in growth and development. There was also a problem with thrip infestations and the beginning of spotted wilt virus symptoms. Flowers commonly aborted blossoms, especially during heat waves. It was not uncommon to find fruit with subtle to distinct asymmetry of the fruit. The latter is a result of incomplete pollination and the asymmetrical placement of seeds within the fruit interior. In colored varieties, the color development tended to be highly uneven and there was a long delay before full color development had occurred. Seedlings were sprayed 2 times at a 4 day interval using 40 gpa spray volume:
Fusion 360 Foliar FG-31 @ 2-3 gal/100 gal + N-Phite @ 1-2 pt/100 gal + Integ Ca @ 3-4 qt/100 gal + Z422 @ 1-2 pt/100 gal + FG-M @ ½ -1 pt/100 gal + 10% Boron @ 1-6 oz/100 gal + KNO3 @ 1-4 lb/100 gal + Manex @ ½-1 pt/100 gal + Silwet L77 @ 2-3 oz/100 gal.
Also, the block was analyzed completely and a field-specific soil fertility program instituted: Foster-Gardner used its unique, custom-designed blended fertilizers and did such a great job that it would be difficult to ever go back to generic relics of nutrition. The program entailed use of 4-8 gal/wk of 8-0-6, 2-12-6 @ 4-8 gal/wk and variable rates of 0-0-7 to be used in what I refer to as “counter punch programs,” designed to arm the plant with additional ability to overcome various levels and types of physiological stress.
Seedlings treated with Fusion 360 technologies were oftentimes deceptively shorter in stature but consistently with superior branching or bushiness of the canopy and without question, hosted a dramatically superior root system. The root system was approximately 2.5x to 5x the volume of seedling roots placed on the grower’s standard practice. The seedlings did not experience flower abortion during numerous heat waves and/or shifts in temperature extremes. Fruit set was distinctly superior in numbers, size development, evenness of sizing and maturity, as well as being free from sunburn. The fruit were consistently symmetrical and hosted a density of 1.3x to 1.7x the density of fruit from the grower’s standard practice. Pest and disease pressures were minimal to absent. Further, despite the physical shock from harvesting, the vines recovered rapidly and continued to produce superior yields and quality.
General Foliar and Soil Programs
The rates and days between spray may vary from crop to crop and from various weather patterns. Also, many plants growing out of the dormant period are very low in physical integrity and physiological efficiency. Thus, initial sprays directed at these sensitive tissues need to be toned down in their concentration. After acclimation following 2 sprays, it may be safe to begin gradual rate increases.
In certain crops such as citrus, it is a common practice to use high volume spray practices. If this is a must in your spray operations, it may be necessary to use the lower concentrations to avoid high costs. We do encourage you, however, to institute low volume spray programs that impinge a light mist onto the target tissues. Maximum benefits from nutrient spray programs are always achieved with repetitive, light volumes rather than with a few high volume jolts. The general programs are as follows:
Preferably more than 6 hours before stress event.
Materials and Rate/100 Gal:
- Fusion 360 Foliar FG-31 – 1-3 gallons
- Nutri-Phite Mag – 1-3 pints
- Integrity Ca – 2-4 quarts
- Integrity Z422 – 1-2 pints
- Integrity FG-Micros – ½-1 pint
- Borosol (10% solution) – 2-6 ounces
- KNO3 – 1-5 pounds
- Kocide 101 (optional) – ¼-1 pounds
- Silicon Surfactant – 1-3 ounces
Fill the spray or mix tank at least ¾ full with water and start agitation. Follow gradually with materials in the order given. Apply in a volume that delivers a fine mist.
Please note: If heat waves and/or severe shifts in temperature* are of common occurrence in your area, apply more than 1 spray at 3 to 5 day intervals.
* = More than 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in one day’s high as compared to the following day. This constitutes a physiological stress, and the plants will need some protective and catalytic activity to keep the machinery running.
If the plant tissues are thin and sensitive to osmotic stress, begin sprays with the low concentration. Gradually build the concentration with successive sprays and hardening off of tissues. If unsure about tissue status, overnight representative samples of tissue to Sunburst Plant Disease Clinic and request a rapid Evaluation for determination of appropriate spray concentration, (No. 631-B): Spray Concentration Phytotoxicity Bioassay with 24 to 72 hour turnaround. Results will be emailed or faxed to you.
If expeditious results are pressing, call a Sunburst PDC Representative and request the Phytotoxicity Bioassay for Nutrient Sprays.
Preferably more than 6 hours before stress event.
Materials and Rate/Ac:
- Water – 10 gallons
- Thiocal – 3-5 gallons
- K-Mend – 3-5 gallons
- Fusion 360 Soil – 5-20 gallons
- Iota – 1-2 quarts
Into a mix tank first place the required amounts of water and start agitation. Gradually add products taking care to avoid sudden dumping of materials. Inject into the drip or mini-sprinkler system for even distribution.
If you elect to inject levels of Fusion 360 Soil greater than 5 gpa, be sure to include N and P as supplementary as follows.
- During the spring and early summer, keep the soil N levels between 25 to 35 ppm (within the top 6″ of the soil, for every ppm N, you will be dealing with ~2 units of N and for every ppm P you will have ~2 units of P).
- If you inject 1 gal of F360 Soil/Ac, you can assume that ~2 units of N and 0.75 units of P will be needed for microbial assimilation. This means that if you were to inject 20 gpa of Fusion 360 Foliar, you would be needing ~40 units of N and ~15 units of P. If a 6″ depth soil evaluation finds your soils are holding 15 ppm N and 35 ppm P → your soil holds 15 ppm x 2 units N/ppm = 30 units of N; 35 ppm x 2 units P/ppm = 70 units of P.
- To calculate what we must add to avoid N & P deficiencies brought about by microbial activation:
- Needed N for 20 gpa addition of Tilth = 40 units
- We already have 15 ppm N in the soil = 30 units
- Needed P for 20 gpa addition of Tilth = 15 units P
- We already have 35 ppm P in the soil = 70 units P
Common Questions About Foliar and Soil Programs
Question 1: What ppm N & ppm P do we want in the soil following microbial assimilation?
- Increase N from 15 ppm to 30 ppm or an additional 15 ppm (=30 units N)
- Increase P from 35 ppm to 70 ppm or an additional 35 ppm (=70 units P)
Thus, required supplemental N = 70 units, and required supplemental P = 85 units.
Question 2: If “Mineral Tie-up Is A Major Deterrent To Efficient Plant Growth & Development, Will It Not Be Necessary To Add Compensating Levels Of N & P?”
For soils not treated with F360 Soil and Iota, the answer would be, “Yes.” Many soils, for example, host an average efficiency of mineral release of barely 20%. Therefore, pure mathematical analysis says we’ll have to divide our calculated additions for N and P by 0.20 to give an actual requirement of ~350 units N and 425 units P. However, for soils receiving F360 Soil and Iota Activation, one of the greatest benefits is the conversion from a soil with high mineral tie-up to one with minimal to no mineral tie-up whatsoever.
Thus, the additional 70 units N and 85 units P would suffice for the example above.