Minerals for fruit ripening

As a commercial grower in New Zealand, your success depends on producing the highest quality produce that meets the demands of your customers. At Roots, Shoots & Fruits, we can help you achieve exactly that.

As we head towards harvest, ensuring your produce ripens in time is crucial. Delays in ripening potentially have significant costs through loss of produce from weather events. Ensuring fruit ripens quickly may involve foliar applications to plants with mineral deficiencies to optimised photosynthesis which can, inturn, increase the quality of your fruit or vegetables over a short period: strengthening cell walls for crispness, preventing rot and maximising sugar levels, with longer shelf life. These are important finishing attributes, as we know, quality always sells! 

Calcium and Potassium are two minerals your plant needs to ensure the produce is ripe and ready for picking. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at these factors and offer tips to help you produce your best crops. 

Strengthening cell walls 

Strengthening your plants’ cell walls provides structural support to your fruit and protects it from damage. Strengthening these cell walls can lead to a number of benefits for growers, including; 

  • Increased shelf life – Fruits with stronger cell walls is less likely to become damaged or bruised during transportation and storage. This is critical to ensure your produce remains fresh and saleable for as long as possible. 
  • Improved appearance – Fruits is less likely to show signs of damage or decay. This is important to present produce in the best condition to buyers.
  • Enriched Flavour – Help to enhance the flavour by reducing the loss of juice and flavour components during handling and storage. Resulting in better taste and a more desirable product for customers. 
  • Reduced rejects go hand in hand with increased cell wall strength during their ripening phase are Calcium and Potassium. 

Two minerals that are of particular benefit to plants during their ripening phase is calcium and Potassium. Potassium helps regulate the opening and closing of plant stomata. When plants have adequate Potassium, the guard cells swell and allow for the complete closure of the stoma. However, when plants are Potassium deficient, these guard cells do not function properly, and moisture can escape. This is important under dry or drought conditions, generally the period leading up to harvest. 

Calcium is also involved in water movement via the xylem. Fruit transpiration levels are low, leading to harvest, and any water stress can affect the turgor of the plant and fruit, especially if calcium is deficient.

Preventing rot

Rot is described as the decay and decomposition of plant tissue caused by fungi, bacteria, or other microorganisms. This process can cause significant damage to crops, reduce their quality and shelf life, and lead to financial loss for growers. 

The importance of preventing rot is critical as it reduces the quality and quantity of crops and can result in lower yields, lower prices and ultimately, lower profits due to the possibility of rendering produce unsellable. 

For growers, an important part of your business is fostering a good reputation for producing high-quality fruit that looks as good as it tastes. 

Calcium strengthens cell walls. It is involved in plant signalling and is therefore critical in plant defence mechanisms against pathogens, making fruitless susceptible to disease-causing damage and rot.

Maximising sugar levels

As you know, in the simplest terms, plants use sugar to live and grow. Glucose is used to assist the plant in photosynthesising. Maximising sugar levels with the application of calcium and Potassium will ensure your plants reach their full potential and the growth of fruit is not hindered. Most fruit and vegetables struggle to obtain adequate calcium and Potassium from the soil during the ripening phase. Therefore, additions of fast-acting, bioavailable minerals are required to ensure sweeter, tastier fruit.

What should you apply?

To optimise your fruit production, including strengthening cell walls, preventing rot and maximising sugar levels, use our K-Forte and Biomin Calcium products. Biomin is a bioavailable formulation that is fast-acting and phloem mobile, preventing fruit susceptibility and incidence to pathogens. Both these minerals, Potassium and calcium, are important, leading into the dryer ripening period. 

BIOMIN Calcium mineral fertiliser is designed to improve the overall health and mineral balance of plants as well as improve fruit quality and produce shelf life. BIOMIN Calcium is bioavailable and easily absorbed by the plant for fast results. Applying BIOMIN Calcium is suitable during deficiency, and immediately post-fruit set at times of high utilisation.

More specifically, BIOMIN CALCIUM helps reduce and prevent:

  • Fruit splitting in grapes, cherries and stone fruit
  • Bitter pit in apples
  • Albedo breakdown in citrus
  • Pitting of kiwifruit
  • Post-harvest breakdown of fruit and vegetables.

K-Forte applications are recommended, as it contains Potassium and phosphorus in ratios that are essential during the early and later stages of crop development. Increasing yields, sugar accumulation of fruits and overall health. Available in both liquid and powder formulations.

For more information or to speak with Molly regarding your commercial growing operation, email rsf@rd2.co.nz 

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