Have you ever wondered how some people grow juicy, sweet, brightly-coloured fruit and yet others seem to be small, anaemic-looking and lack flavour? Introducing the STAR for sweetness, Potassium.
We’ve been recommending a good quality Potassium fertiliser applied pre-harvest to all our commercial growers for decades, and the results are the brightest coloured grapes, juicy and sweetest apples, fruit that is so delicious!
What does Potassium do for Fruit?
Potassium is required by all plants and has specifically notable effects on fruit crops. When applied as a fertiliser, it accelerates the ripening process, increasing flavour and sweetness, so you get your juicy produce faster. Potassium increases the level of sugars within a fruit, making it sweeter and enhancing the flavours. Fruits have also been shown to have brighter colours, firmer textures and higher levels of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) within them.
The symptoms of Potassium deficiency in your fruit tree.
Because Potassium is so essential for the growth of plants, a deficiency can be very detrimental to your trees. Potassium deficiencies manifest in many ways, some of the most common being: chlorosis, stunted growth, decreased resilience to weather and defoliation. Chlorosis classically presents as yellowing around the margins of foliage. Usually presenting on the middle and lower leaves, Chlorosis is often the initial symptom of a Potassium deficiency turning to dry, dead tissue around leaf edges.
If your plants are proving to be slow to mature, or show signs of stunted growth, Potassium (or a lack of) could be the potential culprit. Acting as a catalyst for growth, when a plant becomes deficient in the nutrient, its maturation is greatly delayed. The lower the Potassium uptake of a plant, the less water is circulated throughout it. This leaves plants more susceptible to weather changes and drought. A detrimental symptom of a Potassium deficiency is the defoliation of the plant. Leaves will begin to yellow, then eventually brown and finally, fall off completely.
How to ensure your plant has the right amount of Potassium
There are many ways to ensure that your plants have access to an appropriate amount of Potassium, naturally. We recommend our commercial growers perform soil and tissue tests which give excellent insight into the intricacies of your soil mineral levels and can highlight deficiencies quickly.
As a home gardener, ensuring that adequate Potassium is available for the plant is vital too and there are a few household tips to do this. You can add unwanted reject fruit to your compost; specifically, potassium-rich bananas. Or Kelp, which is also rich in Potassium, can be mixed into the soil, to release the nutrients. Animal manure used as compost has also been shown to have increased levels of Potassium with Nitrogen too.
High-quality organic Potassium fertiliser
Unless home gardeners are regularly adding composting nutrients with good biological activity, then availability can be low and slow. Potassium for home use is generally most economically purchased mixed with other essential nutrients into a fertiliser. Good quality, organic fertilisers are designed to allow for easy absorption of vital nutrients to the plant.
If you do go down the route of sourcing a high-quality Potassium fertiliser, be careful to ensure it does not have a high concentration of Nitrogen filler added to it. Nitrogen is a common filler which is usually great for foliage growth, however, at times of fruit-ripening, this will divert your plant’s resources into growing new leaves instead of ripening the fruit and creating more sugar content.
Organic, innovative fertilisers available
Needing a Potassium-boost for your fruit trees? Humax is Roots, Shoots & Fruits Potassium-rich, fertiliser. It is certified organic with Biogro and easily absorbed by the plant, due to the high Humic acid content. Harnessing the benefits of Potassium, it will be an excellent booster to improve your fruit crops. Look out for increased colour, size, flavour and sugar contents in your fruit, alongside better growth in winter and increased fruit production!
We also stock K-Forte (Potassium and Phosphorous) for our commercial growers, this product is used extensively throughout New Zealand with incredible results.
Related Tags: Organic Fertilisers NZ