Prepping for a bountiful bud-burst next season: The phosphorus fertilizer post-harvest approach  

The period six to eight weeks after harvest is a critical time for plants, before growers can finally look forward to a break and reflect on the season, and before preparation for the next season begins all over again.

Maximising the potential of each season requires careful preparation and a regimen that encourages carbohydrate storage during the root growth period before the cooler dormancy phase sets in, to prepare crops for a robust bud-burst next season.  In this blog, we look at why post-harvest practices, like the application of phosphorus fertilizer, is pivotal in orchard management.

Understanding the importance of post-harvest care

As produce is harvested and farms, vineyards and orchards transition from the peak of production to the hibernation or dormancy of winter, Carbohydrate storage organs in these perennial crops become extremely important as this can often be the only available source of energy.  Post-harvest nutritional requirements should be addressed to ensure optimal carbohydrate storage for subsequent bud burst providing a competitive advantage, for an early season and insurance against early season frosts, cold, or wet conditions. 

The role of carbohydrate storage

Carbohydrates are the currency of plant energy, vital for supporting growth, fruit development, and overall plant vigour. Before dormancy, perennial plants, trees and vines undergo a phase of replenishing their energy reserves. This period, often referred to as the “recharging phase,” sets the stage for the next season’s success. By adding focus to the application of appropriate nutritional requirements, growers lay the foundation for resilient growth and high yields for the next season’s harvest.

Phosphorus fertilizer: A key player in post-harvest success

Phosphorus fertilizers are renowned for their ability to stimulate carbohydrate storage and promote healthy bud burst. As a fundamental nutrient for plant metabolism, phosphorus plays a central role in energy transfer and storage processes. However, phosphorus is a mineral that is relatively immobile in the soil, with only an estimated 10-20% of applied phosphorus being used by plants in the year following application.  This formulation and application is therefore not the appropriate method to ensure carbohydrate storage into the organs of plants for resilience and to ensure next season’s crop is fruitful. By applying phosphorus fertilizer as an available foliar product before leaves begin to desicate, growers ensure that their trees and vines have ample reserves to draw upon during the critical stages of growth and development early season.

Season-on-season success

The true measure of farm management lies in its ability to deliver consistent results year after year whilst enhancing the soil and other natural resources. Products like Synergizer can be used as an immediate, potent and highly available source of phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. The low-efficiency uptake by crops of applied Nitrogen fertilizer is a major concern also, because of its negative impact on production costs and the environment. To improve Nitrogen efficiency in crops, agronomic practices such as precise timing and placement of Nitrogen fertilizer, through products such as Synergizer supplying three important macro elements, should be a norm in nutrient management.  

By incorporating Synergizer into their spraying program, growers have consistently achieved success season after season. Crops treated with Synergizer may exhibit not only improved bud burst due to stored energy reserves but also superior fruit quality and yield. This sustained success speaks volumes about the efficacy of post-harvest interventions in orchard management.

Phosphite fertilizers provide another option

Where dieback of trees or crops is of concern caused by the pathogen Phytophthora,  which can have devastating costs, think about the option of utilising a highly systemic and potent foliar or soil applied Phosphite such as Phoscare

Phosphite works in three ways to encourage healthy plants.  Phosphite increases the plants natural defence systems or Phytoalexins. Phosphite amps up the production of proteins associated with photosynthesis, creating a healthier plant, and Phosphite inhibits the pathogens growth.

Phoscare contains zero nitrogen and highly available potassium and phosphorus fertilizer, whilst many of these pathogens prefer to live in an environment of high nitrogen with low phosphorus and potassium. These highly potent levels of phosphorus fertilizer are also stored in plant organs adding to a successful start to the next season. By prioritising carbohydrate storage and utilising products like Synergizer and Phoscare plants and crops flourish, yielding abundant produce and ensuring continued success for future harvests.

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