Foliar feeding is the application or feeding of a plant with a liquid nutrient or additive through the leaves instead of via the roots. Foliar spraying was first proven to work by the notable plant researcher Dr. H.B. Tukey. His early experiments used radio-active labeled/tagged phosphorus and potassium to view the uptake and transport of these ions by the leaves and their transport around the plant. Dr. H.B. Tukey found plant nutrients moved at the rate of about one foot per hour to all parts of the plants. Comparing efficiency of plant use of foliar-fed nutrients versus soil-applied nutrients near roots, he found foliar feeding provided about 95 percent efficiency of use compared to about 10 percent of use from soil applications! This early work showed that foliar spraying has great potential as an additional feeding program to allow for increased growth rates and development of plants. In fact, Dutch Master has taken his findings to another level by studying leaf (foliar sprayed) versus root absorption of radio-active tagged complex carbohydrates and amino acids at a prominent Vancouver University and discovered that these molecules are just too big to be effectively absorbed by the roots, but can be easily and effectively absorbed by the leaves. Dutch Master is at the cutting edge technology of foliar feeding and spraying!
WHY SHOULD WE FOLIAR FEED? If we think of a plant as a city, then the leaves would be the manufacturing centres of that city. Almost everything a plant requires to grow and develop is manufactured in the leaves. Hormones, metabolites, proteins and amino acids - the list goes on and they are all manufactured in specialized cells contained within the plants leaves. Sunlight is the main catalyst for this as everything begins with a photon of light received from the sun or your globe. The roots, too, produce some hormones but it is insignificant compared to what is produced in the leaves. If we look at a plant in this way, we can see that the best opportunity to increase the plant’s production capacity, and hence our yield, is to go direct to the factories themselves, the leaves. Foliar spraying is the only practical way that most of these little leaf based factories can be accelerated due to 2 primary factors;
1. The presence of a specialized root structure called the Casparian Strip. This strip is located inside each and every root and acts as a specialized barrier that blocks the uptake of ALL elements or compounds except simple sugars and regular plant nutrients like Nitrogen and Potassium etc. Numerous studies conducted by Dutch Master, at the University of British Columbia, has proven that plants cannot uptake things like amino acids and complex carbohydrates etc, effectively through their roots. Root based supplements, or growth and flowering stimulants, based on these things can never really work, unless they are foliar fed, because, quite simply, they are never taken up by the plants roots!
2. The negative feedback loop system. Even if some elements are taken up by the roots, such as hormones etc, this feedback loop stops almost all of these additives from ever working. It does so by detecting the basic hormones etc contained in these performance additives and correspondingly slowing, or completely stopping the plants own internal production of these compounds to compensate and keep everything in balance – almost like a plant veto! However, foliar feeding, when used in conjunction with a delivery agent, such as Gold Range SATURATOR, defeats this system easily by temporarily and suddenly flooding the plants negative feedback loop system, overwhelming it and allowing for a temporary increase in growth and development. It is by this systematic and periodic flooding of the plants metabolic systems that we can increase overall growth and development when using foliar feeding and of course obtain that maximum yield!
WHAT SHOULD I FOLIAR FEED? Foliar feeding should never be used as a sole source of plant nutrition, but rather, a good foliar program supports the plant via the foliar application of carefully selected plant additives such as Dutch Masters Gold Range LIQUID LIGHT that accelerate or enhance the action of one or more of the plants metabolic subsystems, in this case helping to speed up the plants use of light itself! To get the best out of foliar feeding, you must apply something that directly affects one of the many production pathways inside the leaf. Using our Gold Range LIQUID LIGHT as an example again – you can see we have directly increased the production pathway associated with light energy conversion into plant energy (sugar, carbon etc) also known as photosynthesis. Other things that can be successfully used are a 1/3 strength grow nutrient solution. This can quickly correct any nutrient deficiencies but remember to use a delivery agent like Gold Range SATURATOR with any foliar application for best results.
I’VE TRIED FOLIAR FEEDING BEFORE BUT IT DIDN’T WORK LIKE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO – WHAT CAN I DO?
For any foliar program to be completely effective in gaining that maximum yield, you must be able to deliver your specialized plant stimulants/nutrients etc inside the leaf of your plant. Now this is not as easy as it sounds because you first have to get past the protective waxy layer that surrounds every leaf. Once past this layer, you must then get it inside the cells where all the action is taking place. This is not as simple as just “madly” spraying your leaves with plant nutrients or additives, as most of what you apply to the leaves will never be absorbed. For many years it was believed that by allowing a solution to remain in contact with the leaf surface for an extended period of time, the effective absorption of that solution would take place through tiny openings in the leafs surface called the stomata. The plant uses their stomata to absorb and exchange gases (CO2, Oxygen) and to regulate water flow (transpiration). Modern research now shows that only a tiny portion of what you spray can actually get inside the leaf surface via the stomata. In fact, typically less than 10% of the stomata uptake any plant nutrients. This is then further compounded by the fact that even once taken up, most of the supplied material is immobilized on the inner side of the leaf surface by ion exchange membranes. This certainly explains the very hit and miss effects of traditional foliar spraying when trying to get that maximum yield with plant nutrients and additives. The only way to effectively deliver large amounts of specialized elements inside the leaves of your plant is to use Dutch Master Gold Range SATURATOR, a very new type of product known as a “Delivery Agent”. This is not to be confused with a wetting agent. Dutch Master Gold Range SATURATOR is the only delivery agent of its kind available and the only way to make foliar spraying truly work efficiently by delivering all the available plant stimulants i.e. grow and flowering boosters/flowering stimulants. The difference between a wetting agent and a delivery agent is very simple and very important. A wetting agent is designed to make water wetter, so that it sits more evenly over the leaf and extends the contact area and time when applied to a leaf. A delivery agent (Dutch Master Gold Range SATURATOR) is primarily designed to actively deliver (translocate) plant stimulants from the outside of the leaf surface to the inside, past the ion exchange membranes and directly to the cells where they are needed for a maximum yield. A delivery agent is designed to do this independently of the stomatal openings in the leaves. What you have with foliar spraying Gold Range SATURATOR and Gold Range LIQUID LIGHT together is a unique opportunity to profoundly affect the development and growth patterns of your plant. Make sure you ask for Gold Range SATURATOR, a delivery agent and not a wetting agent if you want to be able to maximize the results from a specialized foliar spraying program.