Foliar Feeding: Fast and Slow

Slow-Release "Nitro"
February 2014

One of The New York Times' recent best-selling books was Thinking, Fast and Slow. Today,let's play on the book's title and explain how foliar applications of Growth Products' liquid fertilizers feeds plants "fast and slow" to give you the best of both worlds.

Foliar feeding's many advantages include ease of application, virtually no wasteful volatilization of nitrogen, virtually no leaching of key nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into waterways, and no worries about whether soil pH levels are too low or too high to allow optimum nutrient uptake into plants. Equally important, foliar feeding with the right products can give plants a super-fast nutrient boost while also proving a steady, continuous feed.

The Chemistry of Fast and Slow

To understand how this can happen, look at the methylene urea nitrogen molecule. Growth Products developed its unique methylene urea polymer, know as 'Nitro' in the 1980s, and it is a proprietary ingredient in all of Growth Products' liquid nitrogen fertilizers.

Methylene urea nitrogen is a long, 7 - 9 carbon chain length molecule that - despite its length - is quickly absorbed by leaves. Once inside the plant, methylene urea's strong carbon-nitrogen bonds are gradually broken down by heat, hydrolysis, microbial activity and UV radiation. As a result, nitrogen is gradually released one molecule at a time for a slow feed lasting for weeks.

Methylene Urea ("NITRO") polymer

By combining long-chain slow-release 'Nitro' with small amounts of fast-acting, short-chain nitrogen, Growth Products liquid fertilizers provide the perfect fast-slow balance. With just one spray, the fertilizers can provide quick green-up of turf (results are sometimes visible within 24 hours or less) and a steady feed over a period of up to 6 weeks.

Foliar Absorption: More Than Just A Few Stomata!

How does foliar feeing work? We've known for decades that nutrients can enter a plant through stomata - the small apertures in the outer layer of plant leaves. But we now realize that not only are stomata far more numerous on both the upper and lower sides of leaves than we once thought, but that some foliar sprays can be taken up by plants through trans-cuticle absorption.

A leaf's cuticle includes a waxy outer layer, which typically acts as a barrier to absorption. If you've ever seen a bubble of water perched on a leaf, you've seen how a leaf's waxy cuticle makes the water bead up and prevents it from crossing through the cuticle into the leaf. But Growth Products' liquid methylene urea has a natural spreader quality that makes Nitro fertilizers flatten out on leaves, just like pancake batter. By preventing beading, this natural spreader creates more surface area between the fertilizer and the leaf and thus allows trans-cuticle nutrient uptake.

Give Us A call

The bottom line is that foliar feeding with Growth Products' technically superior fertilizers gives you the best of all worlds. You can get "fast -- slow" feeding in one efficient spray, you can avoid waste and can increase nitrogen efficiency by as much as 33%, and you can create a healthier plant that is not subject to unwanted surge growth or periods of nutrient famine.

Call us at (800) 648-7626 to learn about Growth Products' entire array of fast-slow fertilizers, chelated micronutrients, and more.