- Written by Jon Frank Jon Frank
Amazing Breakthrough in Foliar Plant Nutrition
Part II - Researching the Evidence
AMAZE’s Mode of Action and Some Important Attributes Necessary for a Truly Effective Calcium Foliar Spray
In my previous article on foliar plant nutrition, we explored the results of using AMAZE with PGR as a foliar program on Dwayne Bowman's apple orchard. While AMAZE works great on apples, it also shows great promise on fresh fruits and vegetables. All fresh fruit and vegetables will, at some point, either dehydrate or rot depending on how healthy the cells are. I like to term this cellular fidelity. For most produce cellular fidelity (i.e., resistance to rotting) can be enhanced by increasing the level of minerals and carbohydrates. The major mineral to focus on is calcium.
As you know, there are many foliar sprays on the market today. I like to break these down into two broad classes; those with calcium and those without calcium. Both types can be very useful but are generally used for different purposes. Foliar sprays without calcium are easier to make, cheaper to make, and are very useful on crops that store dry such as grains or nuts. Fresh fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, respond particularly well to properly made calcium foliar sprays. I will write about non-calcium foliar sprays in subsequent articles, but for the remainder of this article I want to focus on how to identify a good foliar spray made with calcium.
Which is it—Blindingly Obvious or Hidden in Plain Sight?
For a calcium foliar spray to be effective it must:
- Penetrate the leaf
- Accelerate plant metabolism
- Deposit additional carbohydrates and minerals in the produce
- Contain these three additional properties: Acidity, Polarity, Mobility
Leaf penetration is directly correlated to the acidity of a foliar spray solution. It takes acidity to soften the waxy cuticle on the leaf surface. If foliar nutrients cannot break through the waxy cuticle, all they do is sit on the leaf surface waiting to be washed off the next time it rains.
The second property calcium foliar sprays need is polarity. Polarity is the separation of positive and negative charges thus creating dipole molecules within the spray solution. This is also needed in order to penetrate the leaf. Here is how it works: the negative charges of the nitrates and phosphates are magnetically attracted to the positive hydrogen ions inside the leaf. If the waxy cuticle has been sufficiently softened by acidity the nitrates and phosphates will pass through the leaf surface first; pulling the calcium and potassium behind. This is the secret of getting calcium into a plant leaf. Read the next sentence carefully. The ratio of negative to positive charges is critically important; there must be significantly more negative charges than positive charges in order for the negative charges to carry the positive charges into the leaves. A word picture might illuminate this concept better. Imagine two physically fit men deep in the wilderness. One weighs 100 lbs and the other weighs 300 lbs. One of them breaks his leg and needs to be carried out of the wilderness. If the 300 lb. man breaks his leg, the 100 lb. man will not be strong enough to carry him out. If the 100 lb. man breaks his leg the 300 lb. man could carry him out. A neutral solution represents an approximate one-to-one ratio of negative to positive charges. One last thing about polarity; dextrose was dissolved and applied with every AMAZE application. Dextrose is a six carbon sugar that is highly polar and is an integral part of the spray program because it significantly increases nutrient penetration due to its polarity.
The third property a calcium foliar spray must have is plant mobility. This means the calcium must be mobile in the plant so it can move to the fruit or sinks of the plant. Many say that calcium is not mobile in the plant. This is only partially true. It is mobile in the plant when bonded with phosphates. This happens all the time while plants grow. Soil calcium enters the plant in phosphate of calcium form, and is then ushered to the growing point of the leaves or the fruit of the plant and integrated into the cellular structure.
What Role Does Phosphate Play in a Proper Foliar Spray?
Dr. Carey Reams, a longtime Ag consultant, was an early promoter of foliar plant nutrition and is widely considered the founding father of foliar feeding. Dr. Reams conducted numerous classes on the subject and laid out the foundational principles that are still being taught today. I want to highlight two foundational principles:
- All nutrients in a foliar spray must be presented to the plant in a usable form.
- All foliar sprays must contain some phosphates.
Let’s discuss these rules. Unlike nutrients placed in soil that has active microbial digestion, plant leaves don’t have enough microbial activity to convert complex compounds into soluble forms. This is why successful foliar sprays must present soluble nutrients to the plant for quick uptake. The study of plant physiology reveals that phosphorus in the phosphate form is intricately involved with the transport of nutrients and energy within the plant. Phosphates drive the Krebs cycle, which is how plants make energy. Anytime you see a foliar spray offering plants phosphorus in a non-usable form, such as phosphites, run away as fast as you can.
Once the calcium bonds with phosphate, calcium is no longer available because it is now part of the cell. When the available calcium and/or phosphorus of the soil are below optimum level, cellular fidelity of the produce is compromised. International Ag Labs has developed AMAZE foliar spray by adding calcium bonded to phosphates to compensate for this deficiency and drastically improve produce quality and quantity. There is a lesson to be learned when contemplating calcium’s one-way street: for best results calcium foliar sprays should be regimented to continually supply ongoing doses of mobile calcium. What is the best way to determine efficacy of the calcium foliar spray? Check the calcium content of the fruit against a control that was not sprayed. Do not check the leaves as this could easily be a false positive.
Time for Action
The verdict is in—AMAZE foliar spray increases quality and profitability.
If you would like to order or have questions about AMAZE please call 507-235-6909 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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