"Advanced" gardeners today increasingly prefer fertilizers in chelate form. They are well absorbed by plants, safe for the environment and very effective. Meet chelates, complex mineral fertilizers of the new generation.
In this material, we will tell you how chelated micronutrients differ from conventional fertilizers, what plants need them for, in what doses they are applied and how to prepare chelated fertilizers with your own hands.
Trace elements in plant life
Trace elements - plant nutrition elements, which are just as necessary for their normal vital activity as the main components (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.). Their difference from the latter is only that they are required by the body in microscopic quantities, hence the name. Accordingly, fertilizers containing trace elements are called micronutrient fertilizers.
For plants, there are seven essential trace elements:
- Fe (iron);
- Mn (manganese);
- Cu (copper);
- Zn (zinc);
- B (boron);
- Mo (molybdenum);
- Co (cobalt).
They are directly involved in biochemical processes in plants - affecting the metabolism and transport of macronutrients, participating in the synthesis of chlorophyll, activating enzymes ... In addition, trace elements play an important role in the normal growth and development of a plant, its resistance to diseases and adverse environmental factors, yield eventually.
The lack of a trace element can be detected even visually, if it is not possible to do a soil analysis:
- when there is a shortage of iron, the leaves actively turn yellow, small and weak inflorescences form, the tips of the branches and shoots dry out;
- with a lack of boron, the growth of buds and young leaves is suppressed, they dry out and fall off, the stems crack, darken and shred the roots;
- without a sufficient amount of manganese in plants there is a stunted growth, and the leaves lighten and become covered with gray spots, fly around early;
- copper starvation is characterized by inhibition of growth, curvature and grinding of inflorescences and leaves, the formation of seeds and grains suffers;
- with a lack of cobalt, nitrogen metabolism is disturbed, the development cycle of plants is shortened and their growth is slowed down, leaves are twisted and fall;
- if there is little zinc, chlorosis is observed, growth is inhibited (especially the root system), the fruits become atypical in color and ugly forms;
- molybdenum deficiency can be identified by pale spots and perforations on the leaves, their fading and twisting, shredding of flowers and deformation of the inflorescences.
Of course, in the ideal case, all the trace elements should be contained directly in the soil and from there independently produced by plants. However, this is an ideal, which we rarely see in the average summer cottage. Moreover, in conditions of intensive gardening, even the richest soils are depleted over time - they are depleted and require the introduction of all useful substances (including micronutrients) from the outside to get a high-quality crop.
- Microfertilizers: The Great Benefit of MicronutrientsWe understand what microelements are vital for your plants and how to use them properly.
So, microfertilizers are necessary to plants throughout the entire period of growth - from the stage of seed germination and up to harvesting. What microfertilizers to choose from a set of existing?
Earlier in the composition of most fertilizers trace elements were in the form of soluble inorganic salts. Alas, in this form they were absorbed by plants very poorly - no more than 20-35%! These salts could enter into cross-reactions in the soil with the formation of indigestible compounds. In addition, some of them are even toxic, but also require additional processing by soil microorganisms. And because of the low digestibility, it is necessary to regularly make fairly large doses of such fertilizers, inevitably salting the soil. It is difficult and inefficient.
- Mineral fertilizers - what it is and how to apply them correctlyWe understand the features of mineral fertilizers.
But, fortunately, progress does not stand still. And today, the manufacturer has something to offer gardeners, gardeners in this regard. For example, fertilizers in the form of chelates.
Chelated mineral fertilizers
Plant chelates are invaluable helpers, they allow you to assimilate trace elements by almost 90%, which allows you to reduce the chemical load on the soil several times! Due to what?
Chelate (from the Greek chele, "claw") is a complex organic complex, a chemical compound of a microelement with a chelating (exciting) agent. Such an agent firmly holds the trace element ions in a soluble state right up to the moment it enters the plant, and then releases it, converting it into a biologically accessible form, and it itself breaks down into chemical compounds that are easily absorbed by plants.
These complexes are biologically active and are close in structure to natural substances (for example, chlorophyll or vitamin B12 are chelates by nature), therefore they are harmless and effective for a plant, especially a young one. They do not bind in the soil and do not enter into third-party reactions. It is on the basis of chelates that new generation preparations have been created for presowing treatment of seeds, subsequent foliar fertilizing of plants and drip irrigation.
In various fertilizers, different chelating agents are used, which can vary in the strength of ion binding and in stability in the environment of one or another acidity. Therefore, when choosing a chelate fertilizer, it is necessary to consider for which particular plants and in which soils to use it:
- EDTA is stable at pH 1.5-6.0;
- DTRA is stable at pH 1.5-7.0;
- EDNA is stable at pH 3.0-10;
- HEDP is stable at a pH of 4.5-11.
When to use chelate fertilizers?
Chelate fertilizers can be "single", including only one trace element (for example, Fe-EDTA or Fe-DTPA), and they can also be complex (for example, an aqueous solution of Mn, Zn, Cu, Mo trace elements based on HEDP). You need to choose one or another, taking into account the condition of the plants and the soil in your area.
How to use chelated fertilizers? General recommendations boil down to making chelates during periods of life that are particularly important for a plant in order to effectively help them:
- For pre-sowing seed treatment (dressing, soaking). As a result, we simultaneously disinfect the seeds, and increase their germination and germination energy.
- For processing and transplanting seedlings. As a result, its germination and survival rate improves, resistance to environmental stress factors and diseases increases. Chelates are especially important in the initial stages of development, when the root system is not yet strong.
- For processing plants during flowering. The result is an acceleration of flowering and fruit ovary, an increase in the number of ovaries, an increase in immunity against viral diseases.
- For joint treatment with pesticides to relieve stress in the plant after the use of pesticides and for the prevention of fungal diseases and chlorosis.
- For processing "according to the fruits." As a result, we obtain a noticeable increase in yield, improvement in the quality indicators of fruits (sugar content, starch content, etc.), an increase in the shelf life of products and even a decrease in the level of nitrates in it.
Of course, chelates are used not only for garden plants. Indoor and garden flowers will also be grateful to you for such dressing. For example, chelated fertilizers for roses, which significantly improve their quality and presentation of flowers, are very popular with experienced gardeners.
How to use chelate fertilizers?
The greatest effect is the use of chelated micronutrients for seed treatment, followed by foliar and root top dressing (during the whole vegetation period, as we mentioned above). In addition, micronutrients in chelate form can be applied simultaneously with other macro-fertilizers and toxic chemicals, if there are no contraindications for the compatibility of substances.
Be sure to read the instructions for the use of chelates - the manufacturer indicates on the packaging important data on the characteristics of the composition and use of the drug!
In what form and how to use chelated micronutrients.
- In the form of a solution for pre-sowing seed soaking.
- In the form of root feeding. Watering at the root has only one drawback - some of the trace elements can go with an excess of moisture deep into the ground, where it will be inaccessible to the plant.
- In the form of foliar (leaf) top-dressing - when the microelements of the chelate complex are in contact with the leaf surface, they can easily get inside, where the fertilizer will give the nutrients to the plant.
- In the form of drip irrigation (irrigation) - the method is very effective, since micronutrient fertilizers are directly delivered to the roots.
Chelated fertilizer do it yourself
On sale most often you will see liquid chelated fertilizers. The advantage of such aqueous solutions of microelements lies in the convenience of their use - it is easy to measure the finished working solution of chelates, it is easy to use it (whereas chelates in bulk form will have to be dissolved according to the instructions, because they are ineffective in dry form).
If you wish, you can make chelate mono fertilizers at home. Let us tell the technology on the example of the most popular iron chelate fertilizers:
- 8 g of copper sulfate dissolve in 2 liters of warm distilled water;
- separately in the same amount of water dissolve 5 g of citric acid;
- Pour the first solution into the second thin stream, stirring constantly;
- add another 1 liter of water to the mixture, stirring it in a thin stream;
- 5 liters of a 0.5% solution are obtained, which must be used immediately.
Copper chelate is also prepared in the same way - 20 g of copper sulphate and 40 g of ascorbic acid are used as starting materials.
We only recall that home fertilizers due to the large amount of ballast substances are more suitable for preventive treatments than for taking urgent measures to treat, for example, the same chlorosis. In addition, they are not stored and do not allow further dilution.
So, chelate fertilizers are safe, highly effective and convenient to use. They improve the digestibility of basic nutrients and significantly help plants. The only disadvantage of them is the increased price - the production is quite expensive. However, the advantages of fertilizers in chelate form with an excess cover this flaw, we hope we have proved it to you.