Spray Your Problems Away

Believe it or not, you really can keep your plants healthy and growing at peak levels by using your sprayer. The secret is to spray the right ingredients with the right sprayer at the right time.

Growth Products' Nursery Foliar Spray Program for Container and Field Applications, shown in part below, is a great place to start. This spray program complements a grower's regular soil fertility program and gives amazing results.

Increasing Growth, Decreasing Disease

Spraying with a tank mix of only four Growth Products ingredients, either with or without a conventional fungicide, on 7- to 14-day intervals repeatedly results in healthier container grown and field grown shrubs and trees of all sorts. The basic mix consists of Essential Plus 1-0-1, Companion Biological Fungicide, "TKO" Phosphite 0-29-26 (OR Recover Rx 3-18-18), and Micrel Total.

  • In "leaf pathogen therapy," the Companion coats leaves with a beneficial bacterium (Bacillus subtilis) that knocks out disease-causing microbes and keeps leaves as pathogen-free as possible.
  • The B. subtilis also activates the plant's natural immune system to fight off disease. This Induced Systemic Resistance (ISR) signals the plant to "put up its dukes" to prevent invading pathogens from gaining traction.
  • The phosphite in "TKO" Phosphite 0-29-26 is quickly absorbed through plant leaves, twigs, and branches, where it reduces plant stress caused by environmental extremes. Scientists are not certain how phosphite reduces harmful stress effects in plants, but they think it has to do in part with the thickening and fortifying of the plants' own cell walls. "TKO" also provides plants with the phosphorus and potassium, both of which are critical to plant growth and development.
  • In situations where plants already have adequate levels of P and K, Recover Rx 3-18-18 with Salicylic Acid can be used in place of "TKO" to help prevent stress damage or to rejuvenate damaged plants.
  • The macronutrients in the foliar spray - along with the micronutrients provided by the Micrel Total - will move through leaves into the plant. The use of an air-blast sprayer hastens the movement, as the sprayer's fine particles quickly enter the leaves through stomata and through miniscule cracks in the leaf cuticle.
  • Finally, the Essential in the spray mix provides an array of nutrients, natural biostimulants, enzymes, and beneficial humic acids not found in synthetic fertilizers.

The Right Sprayer and the Right Timing

The importance of selecting the right sprayer or simply of switching to a more effective nozzles on your current sprayer is explained in a Nursery Magazine article by Heping Zhu and Randy Zondag. By consulting the article or talking to your spray equipment dealer, you can select the best equipment for your individual situation.

As for timing, Growth Products' foliar spray mix is best applied in the early morning or in the earlier evening, throughout the growing season. At times, you may want to include an additional nutrition spray. In early fall, apply Nitro 22 22-0-0 (1 quart to gallon per acre). This will set up a tree or shrub's carbohydrate storage to give it a ready food source as it emerges from dormancy next spring.

Remember, a sprayer isn't just a tool for spreading traditional pesticides it can be an effective nutrition and disease prevention tool, too.