Growth Products, Ltd: Horticulture

The Art & Science of Managing Plant Stress

September 2018

In most areas of the country, this has been a difficult year for cultivating crops, operating a nursery, maintaining a golf course, or any growing endeavor. Disease stress and environmental stress have been the name of the game.

When the weather becomes unpredictable or goes to extremes, it is doubly important to provide plants with the right nutrients, in the right form, at the right time. While sticking to these basics, giving plants a boost by stimulating their root system, boosting their natural immune system, and giving the plants some extra “perks” will help your plants fend off the negative effects of stress. Here are few suggestions for keeping your plants free from the damage that stress can cause:

Manage Your Water

Managing your water is one of the biggest factors in stress control. Do you regularly check the bicarbonate levels of your water – especially if it is effluent water? Do you know its pH, are you keeping an eye on water movement, and are you controlling the amount of water your plants get?

One tool that you can use to enhance your control of the water is HydroMax™. Made from the Mohave Yucca plant, HydroMax is a natural wetting agent that helps water move through the soil profile and leaches excess soil sodium.

Another excellent tool for water management is Growth Products’ pH Reducer. A safe, organic alternative to phosphoric or sulfuric acids, pH Reducer can serve as an excellent buffer in a mixing tank. As a bonus, it helps chelate certain micronutrients that might otherwise be unavailable to your plants.

Know & Enhance Your Soil

The more organic matter in a soil, the better. High levels of organic matter lead to improved nutrient uptake, better plant development, and improved disease resistance. Over the last 30 years Growth Products’ liquid Essential® Plus 1-0-1 100% Natural Organic Root and Plant Stimulant has gained an excellent reputation as a convenient way to add beneficial L-amino acids, kelp extracts, lignin, cellulose, hydrolyzed proteins, simple and complex sugars, and vitamins to soils, while also increasing valuable microbial activity in the rhizosphere.

Other products that can increase a soil’s organic matter include Organic Fulv-Ex 13-0-5 as well as any of Growth Products’ BioNutrient dry solubles (e.g., BioNutrients AG 8-1-9). (To learn more about BioNutrients and the importance of organic matter in the soil, check out this video.)

Take Away the Salt Shaker

Physicians tell us to cut back on our salt intake for our health. Likewise, agronomists recommend that we cut back on the sodium we give our plants. Keeping an eye on effluent water is one part of controlling your plants’ salt intake, but the biggest and easiest control measure is to switch to low salt fertilizers.

Growth Products fertilizers have some of the lowest salt indexes in the industry. By substituting harmful high-salt fertilizers with any of GP’s low-salt fertilizers, you are making a great decision for the here-and-now and for the future.

Call in Reinforcements

While switching to low-salt fertilizers is always a good idea, in some cases of pre-existing high sodium levels it’s not enough. Years of soil mismanagement, or climate change that has increased sodium levels in the soil, often result in growing conditions that demand more active remediation.

One easy and effective way to reduce salt build-up in soils is to apply Sodium Knockout® 5-0-0, an innovative calcium drench. When applied to the soil, the calcium in Knockout neutralizes the sodium, and further salt damage is prevented. By restoring the correct sodium-calcium balance, Sodium KnockOut improves both soil structure and plant health. Problematic dry spots disappear, and stressed plants and turf recover their health.

Take an Aspirin

Recover Rx 3-18-18 with Salicylic Acid is a high-performance, fully organic product that contains 8 oz. of Salicylic Acid (SA) – the active ingredient in aspirin – per gallon. Derived from Salix (Willow) trees, salicylic acid stimulates root growth and boosts a plant’s natural immune system. Recover Rx’s high concentration of SA is absorbed through leaves and quickly goes to work to enhance a plant’s ability to withstand both disease and environmental stress. It’s often just the boost that stressed plants need.

Turn to High Tech

In this case, the kind of high tech you need is OsmoTech™. OsmoTech is a sprayable and drenchable liquid plant protector and nutrient activator containing 22% glycine betaine. Classified as an osmoprotectant, this product stabilizes proteins and cell membranes, thereby reducing damage from drought, cold, frost, heat, and salinity. In addition, when tank-mixed with NPK fertilizers and micronutrients, OsmoTech allows even difficult elements to be effectively absorbed though leaf and root surfaces and to be translocated throughout a plant.

With OsmoTech™ and other products in Growth Products’ line-up, managing plant stress becomes very do-able. To learn more, or for help in creating a tailored plant stress management plan, call a GP nutrition specialist at 1-800-648-7626.