Foliar Sprays and how to use them
For many years gardeners have used foliar sprays as a way of applying fertilisers to plants. The foliage of the plant takes up the fertiliser with the leaves absorbing a range of minerals and trace elements directly. It is not a new technique, with sprays such as Epsom Salts, Vermicaste Tea and Seaweed based fertiliser being used for many years.
A lot of home made recipes are available, and many commercial products are also available from good nurseries and garden centres.
Why Use a Foliar Spray?
Foliar spays are a supplement to good healthy soils, they work in conjunction with fertilisers and mulches to promote good healthy plant growth. It is simply another way for plant to take up fertiliser, and in some cases, more effective than applying it to the soil. Epsom salts is a good example, studies have been carried out that point to the fact that plants take up the Minerals in Epsom salts more effectively through foliar spraying than through soil application.
Why not use a watering can ?
Watering cans put out large droplets, and these quickly run off the foliage. Special horticultural sprayers put out a fine mist which stays on the foliage and therfore has abetter absorption rate.
Common Foliar sprays.
- Espom salts
- Vermicast Tea
- Seaweed and Fish emulsions
- Comfrey Tea
Can you make your own foliar spray ?
The simple answer is yes, you do need to follow a proven recipe, and you do need to make sure that you strain the spray before using it to avoid nozzle clog.
How to use Foliar Sprays
It is important that foliar feeding should be carried out correctly and at the right time of the day. Here are some basic rules.
- Application rates should not be exceeded.
- Sprays should be applied in the cool of the mooring, and on cool days.
- Never spray in direct sun.
- Avoid spraying on rainy days.
- Do not water for 1 day after foliar spraying
- Both the underside and the top of the foliage should be sprayed.
- Cease foliar spraying vegetable and other crops at least a month before harvest.
- Read the instructions on the packet and follow the advice.