Over fertilization is an ongoing challenge that many greenhouse growers continue to face. In the early years of greenhouse production, pulse feeding was the norm. This provided high concentrations of fertilizer, about 400-500 ppm, on a weekly basis. After some time, research began to show that plants responded better to daily fertilization at lower concentrations. This led to a new trend in feeding which provided 200-300 ppm on a daily basis – about half the feeding rates previously used. This became the new standard for many years to come.
Much of this early research was established on the manufacturing of blended water soluble fertilizers. We learned that a proper ratio of nitrate nitrogen to ammoniacal nitrogen is important. We also learned that elevated levels of phosphorus, as seen in the classic formulation 20-20-20, causes stem and plant elongation. And finally, we learned that the proper level of various minor elements are as, if not more, important than the NPK ratio itself. Manufacturers soon took note of this new information and updated their formulations. We continued down this path to achieve feeding at rates of 200-300 ppm to ensure that plants received the proper dosage of nutrients, especially minor elements.
Since that time, new research has shown that plants can grow just as well or better at even lower rates of fertilization at 50-100 ppm. These lower rates reduce stretching, increase plant turgor and overall hardiness. We’ve also found that these lower rates reduce the incidence of botrytis and soil borne diseases. Botrytis is reduced since leaves are tougher, not soft and tender, which helps block initial infection. Lower rates of fertilization also reduce salt buildup within the soil profile which reduces root tip injury, a common infection point for many soil borne organisms.
The current challenge that growers face is how to accomplish lower NPK rates while still delivering proper minor element levels to the plant. Plantex® has formulated the Plantex Solutions® line of blended water soluble fertilizers to specifically address this challenge. You can feed at these newly accepted lower rates, maintain plant health, and still have that dark green, full plant that the industry expects. Plantex has elevated the levels of minors and added various chelating agents to allow you to feed less and have a better looking, healthier plant. Plantex is committed to supplying the most cost effective quality fertilizer that makes the grower community successful.