Fertilizer application is a crucial aspect of crop production. Irrespective of the nutrient content of the land to be cultivated, it is advisable to supplement with fertilizer as the plant grows. This approach increases the fertility of the land during cultivation and conserves the fertility of the soil after cultivation.
Fertilizers are a great way to help your plants grow and thrive. They supply the nutrients that plants need to keep them healthy and happy. Fertilizer application is very important; aside from the nutrients present in the soil, the application of fertilizer is necessary to supplement the existing nutrients, thus, making nutrients available for the growing plants always.
Methods of fertilizer application depend on several factors; one of which is the nature of the fertilizer. Fertilizers can be organic or inorganic. The method of applying an organic fertilizer is quite different from that of inorganic fertilizer; this is a result of the physical and chemical composition of the fertilizer.
Types Of Fertilizer To Apply
There are many different types of fertilizer that you can apply to your lawn. The following are the most common types of fertilizer to apply:
Organic fertilizers are derived from animal or plant material that has been decomposed by bacteria. They tend to be slow-release, meaning they provide nutrients over a long period of time. They also tend to be less expensive than inorganic fertilizers, but they are easy to use because they don’t require special handling or equipment.
Organic fertilizers include manure, compost, wood chips, and other organic materials that can be spread on the soil as they are being prepared for planting.
Inorganic fertilizers contain chemical substances like ammonium nitrate or urea specially formulated to supply a single or combination of nutrients into the soil quickly when applied at planting time.
These products have many advantages over organic fertilizers because they work faster and better than organic fertilizer; however, there are drawbacks as well. they are expensive and since these products don’t contain carbon from decomposition processes like organic sources do (which helps add structure), their nutrients may leach out more quickly than those from organic sources after application.
Different Methods of Fertilizer Application
On this note, fertilizer application is classified according to the mode or place of application, type of fertilizer, time of application, and rate of fertilizer to be used. Below are the methods of fertilizer application and their various peculiarities:
The broadcasting method of fertilizer application is a technique that involves spreading fertilizer evenly over the soil surface. This method can be used with almost any type of fertilizer, including liquid, granular, and pelletized forms.
The broadcasting method can be useful for large-scale applications, such as for farms or for lawns. In the case of large-scale farm applications, the broadcast method may be used to apply fertilizer in conjunction with a tractor or a spreader on wheels. For smaller lawns, this method may involve simply tossing fertilizer onto the grass with your hands.
The broadcasting method is most beneficial when it comes to applying fertilizer to grass seedlings or newly-planted trees and shrubs. It also works well when it comes to spreading compost or mulch over a flower bed or garden bed.
To do this, you’ll need:
-A spreader (or “fertilizer spreader”): usually an attachment that can be added to a push mower or other piece of equipment.
-Fertilizer: a bagged or granular form of fertilizer that you mix with water and spread on your lawn, depending on what kind of fertilizer you use.
-Water: because without water, nothing will happen.
-It saves time and labor costs as compared to other methods of spreading fertilizer.
-The broadcasting method does not require any special equipment or machinery, which makes it easy to carry out on small farms with limited capital resources and labor force availability.
-This method can be used for any type of crop or soil condition because there are no specific requirements for the application of fertilizer in this method.
-It is easy and simple to do, hence making it suitable for small farmers and backyard gardeners.
Broadcasting Method Disadvantages
-Broadcasting may result in uneven distribution of fertilizer in the soil which makes it difficult to control crop yields.
-Because it covers so much ground quickly, you may end up losing some of the fertilizer on its way down through the soil if it rains soon after application.
Placement is a tactical method of applying fertilizers. It is the application of fertilizer to a fixed portion of the soil where the plant can easily take it up for usage. This method of fertilizer application can be used when:
- the fertilizer are in small quantities, hence, it must be meticulously utilized;
- the soil has a low level of fertility, hence, it must be used efficiently by the crops;
- lastly, when the development of the root system is poor, hence, used to stimulate rooting.
Therefore, you may say that placement is an economical method of fertilizer application.
Placement can be done in several ways. They are basal placement, plow sole placement, deep placement, localized placement, side dressing, and band placement.
-Basal placement is the application of the fertilizer to the base or around the root zone of the plant; in other words, fertilizers are placed at the root zone of the plant. This method can be used in maize farms and other cereal crops.
-In plow sole placement, fertilizers are applied during plowing. The fertilizers are buried in the furrow (space) made by the plow during operation. This method allows the application of fertilizer prior to planting.
-Deep placement is another method of placement commonly used in paddy fields. It involves placing the fertilizers near the root zone of the plant. It is used in the application of nitrogenous fertilizers for optimum distribution and usage of the fertilizer in the root zone of the plant. It has several advantages as it prevents the loss of nutrients through runoff.
-Localized placement is another method of fertilizer application that involves the application of fertilizer into the soil close to the seed or plant with the aim of making the nutrient readily available for the plant. This can be done using a seed-cum fertilizer drill planter, where the fertilizer and seed are placed in the same row but at different depths. It is best used in the application of phosphatic fertilizers.
-Side dressing is another placement method of applying fertilizers to plants. It involves spreading fertilizers between rows and around the plants. This is one of the methods used in applying organic fertilizers or manure.
-Topdressing is a method of fertilizer application, in which the fertilizer is spread on top of the soil and then worked into it. This is a good method to use when you want to add nutrients to your soil, but don’t want to disturb the existing structure of your garden. It’s also useful if you are working with a limited amount of fertilizer and want to make sure it’s distributed evenly across your garden.
When inorganic fertilizers are applied using the top dressing method, it is advisable that water should be applied immediately so as wash down any trapped particles of fertilizer on the plant leaves. This is because inorganic fertilizers are hygroscopic in nature; hence, they tend to absorb moisture from the crop leading to scorching of the leaves.
-Row placement is a common and simple method of fertilizer application. It involves the application of fertilizers on one or both sides of a row. It is commonly used when crops like sugar cane and potato are planted.
Placement Method Advantages
- More efficient use of fertilizers, as granules do not get wasted
- You can control the amount of fertilizer that is applied per plant, which helps reduce soil erosion and runoff.
- Can be used for both pots and beds, as long as you have a container that can hold enough water for the plants.
Placement Method Disadvantages
- Requires special equipment and training to apply fertilizer properly
- You may have to apply more than one application if you’re using a slow-release fertilizer like ammonium sulfate (which releases its nutrients over time).
#3. Foliar Fertilizer application
Foliar application is the process of applying fertilizer or nutrients directly to the leaves of a plant. It is also called foliar feeding, or foliar fertilization. The type of fertilizer used in the foliar application is usually liquid fertilizers, but powders can be used as well. Foliar application can be used to supplement deficiencies in soils and fertilizers, as well as to increase nutrient availability for plants during periods of rapid growth or stress.
Foliar application is most often used on plants that are growing well and have enough nutrients in the soil, but still need more help getting their growth going. It’s also used when you want to fertilize specific parts of a plant—like flowers or fruit—without having to wait for them to grow out of the ground so you can apply the fertilizer directly to the root system.
Foliar application is effective in the application of nutrients like calcium and other minor nutrients like iron, copper, boron, zinc, and manganese.
Foliar Fertilizer application Advantages:
- Foliar application of fertilizer is a fast and economical way to provide nutrients to plants.
- It can be used on a wide range of crops and plant types, including vegetable, fruit, and ornamental plants.
- Foliar applications are generally safe for the environment because they do not leach into soil or groundwater.
Foliar Fertilizer application Disadvantages:
- It can be difficult to get the same level of control over foliar applications as with other methods of fertilization.
- Can be harmful to plants if you don’t do it right
#4. Fertigation Application Method
Fertigation is the process of applying fertilizer to a plant’s root zone by using an irrigation system. This practice improves the efficiency of water and fertilizer use, while protecting the environment from runoff and waste. It is commonly used in hydroponic or greenhouse environments, where plants are grown in soil-free grow media such as rock wool or coconut fiber.
A typical fertigation system consists of a pump, controller, valves, and tubing. The pump delivers water from a tank or pond through the valves and tubing to either sprinklers for broadcast application or drip emitters for localized application. The controller regulates the flow rate, timing, and frequency of each cycle.
Fertigation allows for the precise delivery of nutrients in a controlled manner, which helps prevent waste and over-application. it is an efficient way to give your plants what they need without having to worry about them becoming over-fertilized or under-fertilized. It also allows you to measure how much fertilizer each plant needs and adjust accordingly.
Fertigation Method Advantages
– Fertigation can be applied to more plants than other methods of fertilizer application.
– Fertigation is a more efficient way to apply fertilizer to plants because it uses less water than other methods.
– Fertigation can be used on plants that have been transplanted into the ground.
– The nutrients in the fertilizer are released over an extended period of time instead of all at once, which helps prevent burn damage or leaching from the plant’s roots.
-It’s more targeted than broadcasting fertilizer on top of the soil, which can lead to runoff and wasted fertilizer.
-It allows for precise delivery of water and nutrients to plant roots at exactly the right time—making sure plants get what they need when they need it.
Fertigation Method Disadvantages
– You need special equipment to apply fertigation, and this equipment can be expensive.
– Fertigation works best when you mix your own solution rather than buying one premixed with fertilizer already in it.
Fertilizer is applied to the soil in a variety of ways. The most common method is by broadcasting the fertilizer with a spreader on top of the soil, but other methods include injecting it into the ground with an injector, applying it with a banding applicator or broadcast spreader, and applying it through drip irrigation systems.
The type of fertilizer used will determine how best to apply it. For example, granular fertilizers are usually applied with a broadcast spreader or banding applicator because they do not dissolve as quickly as liquid fertilizers. Liquid fertilizers can be applied using all of the above methods, but they should not be used with an injector because they will clog up the tubing.
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