After all the rain we have received in South Africa, many nutrients would have been leached from the soil. It is now of the utmost importance to ensure plants have enough nutrients for their continued growth. Using enhanced efficiency fertilizer will ensure nutrients do not leach from the soil and are still available to the plant.
In waterlogged soils, plant roots will not be able to take up nutrients through their roots. To enable the plants to still have sufficient nutrients to manage these water and temperature stresses foliar fertilizer application is very important. In the above-mentioned water logged soils, aerial application should be considered (visit https://www.agaviationafrica.com/ for more information). It is very effective and with new enhanced technologies available, aerial application costs have come down considerably even lower than ground application.
Coping with Stress via Plant Nutrition
Mineral nutrition of plants plays a critical role in increasing plant resistance to environmental stresses. The management of plant nutrients is very helpful to develop plant tolerance to temperature stress. Better plant nutrition can effectively alleviate the adverse effects of stress by a number of mechanisms.
Stress (high temperature) can cause premature leaf senescence, which leads to loss of chlorophyll, increased membrane damage and progressive decline in photosynthetic capacity. High temperature stress directly damages the photosynthetic apparatus and decreases both photosynthetic rate and duration of the assimilate supply.
The function of different nutrients to assist the plant in coping with stress
Nitrogen plays a very crucial role in temperature stress tolerance. At higher temperatures, the intensity of light is also very high. So high light intensity, as a function of high temperature, affects mineral nutrients uptake in plants and affect plant growth negatively. Of the mineral nutrients, nitrogen plays a major role in utilization of absorbed light energy and photosynthetic carbon metabolism. An excess of non-utilized light energy can be expected to occur in N-deficient leaves, where it leads to a high risk of photo-oxidative damage.
Among the mineral nutrients, Potassium (K) plays a crucial role in survival of crop plants under environmental stress conditions. K is essential for many physiological processes, such as photosynthesis, translocation of photosynthates into sink organs, maintenance of turgidity and activation of enzymes under stress conditions
Due to temperature stress the re-active oxygen species (ROS) are produced continuously as byproducts of different metabolic pathways. Magnesium improves carbohydrates translocation by increasing phloem export and reduces ROS generation and photo-oxidative damage to chloroplast under temperature stress (high or low) conditions. Maintenance of chloroplast structure by improving Mg nutrition enhances the photosynthetic rate under temperature stress, which in turn improves the productivity.
Boron can increase the antioxidant activities of plants and thereby alleviate ROS damage induced by temperature stress. B application also improves the CHO metabolism and decreases the phenolic compounds in leaves. This in turn reduces the production of ROS species, enhances the photosynthetic rate and reduces the cell damage. This improves the yield by improving the temperature stress.
Manganese (Mn) can reduce the adverse effects of temperature stress indirectly by enhancing the photosynthetic rate, and nitrogen metabolism in the plant body. Manganese (Mn) is also involved in the activation of many enzymes in plant systems and plays a crucial role in decreasing the production of oxygen free-radicals and increase the anti-oxidative compounds and enzymatic activities under temperature stress thereby may play a role in detoxification of ROS.
From: Alleviation of temperature stress by nutrient management in crop plants: A review. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258518225_Alleviation_of_temperature_stress_by_nutrient_management_in_crop_plants_A_review.
The COMPO EXPERT product range include all essential nutrients to ensure a balanced nutrient programme for each crop. We have a range of nutrient efficient products such as our Novatec, Duratec and Basacote ranges. For a fast response, to ensure nutrient levels are sufficient, a foliar fertilizer is recommended. Nutrimix® Complete and Nutribor® are foliar fertilizers with micronutrients, magnesium and nitrogen. These products can be used to ensure micronutrient levels are sufficient in plants to lessen stress already visible in plants.