Foliar Spraying holds a huge amount of nutritional potential, limits pests, and supports soil health. The process is simple, the gardener delivers liquid foliar foods to the top and bottom leaf surface of a target plant.
There is an organic vegetable farmer in Minnesota that only uses foliar spraying to feed his crops. He randomly tests the nutrient content of his plants to see what they need and formats a custom spray to add needed nutrients. This farmer has shown that foliar spraying is the quickest way to thriving plant health. His method is an advance version of foliar treatment, but the concept is still the same. Deliver the good stuff to the plants leaves and they will thrive.
This natural process involves little openings on the leaf surface called stoma, these are part of the plants gas exchange system and can open and close at needed times. When they are open, passive gas exchange happens, carbon dioxide and some other waste materials come out and oxygen and other gases and nutrients come in. If conditions are right, open stoma can increase plant energy and soil health.
About half of the carbon taken in as carbon dioxide gets used to foster plant growth. Most of the rest of the CO2 is converted into soil food that encourages soil health. This converted carbon is called root exudate. When stoma stay open longer on healthy plants, the exudate and plant growth are both increased. Stoma may stay closed to protect from diseases or if the weather is too hot or cold. Foliar spraying can affect disease protection.
Imagine the leaf surface as a dining room table. When the table is empty, it is quite easy for the cat to jump on the table. In this example the cat (I like cats) is the disease organism. If there are plates, silverware, dishes of food, and people sitting at the table, the cat has a much harder time landing on the table surface (maybe the soup tureen). This is a lot like what happens when foliar spraying products are applied, the applied product can encourage beneficial organism to fill the leave surface, aiding the leaf and protecting it at the same time. We can build effective biological shields on our leaf surfaces.
My favorite method of foliar spraying is with a hose end sprayer. Another item for larger trees is a syphon hose. If you are spraying smaller plants, a wand sprayer will work great and use less material. The action of covering leaf surfaces, top and bottom, is the important part. A bonus impact with spraying with something organic is that “wasted over spray” is excellent for the soil.
I do not have a long list of products that I apply to my plants leaves. A few wonderful liquid amendments that I already use in my garden are ideal. MicroLife’s Super Seaweed, Horticultural Molasses, Ocean Harvest, and the new Soil and Plant Energy are all really amazing foliar spray ingredients. Check the label for application rates and take your gardening to the next level.