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Does foliar feeding really work?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I've never used foliar feeding.

I can see that, perhaps, soluble fertilizer might work, but wouldn't insoluble fertilizer; especially organic fertilizer; clog the pores?

It just doesn't make sense to me. Although I have noticed after a rain shower that everything looks greener, and have wondered if the airborn nitrogren was taken up by the leaves. Or was it, perhaps, the rain washed off the dust?

Cherry Grove, OH(Zone 6b)

Yes.
In the 1950s, at Michigan State, they used radio-isotopes to track the absorption of nutrients from foliar feeding.

Google "Dr. H.B. Tukey" for more info.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I really like some of the liquid fertilizers especially the Neptune Organic brand. I have used both their liquid Fish Fertilizer and the liquid Seaweed. I knw my roses just love the stuff. But it is good for anything in the garden.

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

I guess it depends on your climate. For me, foliar feeding is a huge NO-NO! Can't understand why I would wet the leaves on purpose. The roots know what to do with it. Why not give it to them? Other than the occasional copper/neem spray, I don't want to induce fungus.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Well I admit one needs to be careful with foliar feeding and I go that way with about everything except my watermelon vines.Definitely a big no-no with the watermelon plants.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Steve - I Googled Dr. H.B. Tukey and thank you for the link.

I'm never to old to learn something new ^_^

I have an experiment on-going with some tomato plants and will give some of them MG tomato fertilizer to see the results for myself.

I found this part of the conclusion a real "eye-opener!"

Quoting:
If we apply these materials to the leaves in soluble forms, as much as 95% of what is applied may be used by the plant. If we apply a similar amount to the soil, we find that only about 10% of it is used. This is a very dramatic finding!

Cherry Grove, OH(Zone 6b)

Ray_Der_Phan, to answer your question about why foliar feeding vs root feeding, I'd recommend you read up on Dr. H.B. Tukey's research. As Honeybee noted, foliar feeding can be up to about 95% efficient while adding to the soil is, at most, about 10% efficient.
I've never had a problem with mold but obviously our climates are very different.

You are welcome Honeybee. I agree, it is amazing how effective foliar feeding is.

Oceanside, CA(Zone 10a)

Yup, might help in certain climates but definitely not here. For me, I just never seen the need when plants do well without it. I know it's faster acting than a soil drench, but unless you see a nutrient deficiency, I'd rather keep the leaves as dry as possible.

One thing of note, I mainly grow in containers/beds....so feeding the roots is a lot easier for me than in-ground plants.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Interesting thread. I have some liquid kelp that I've been using as a foliar feed for the first time this year, especially for my tomatoes. I'm hoping to arm them against the dread Early Blight by strengthening them. I had no idea that foliar feeding was that much more efficient!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I use a hose end attachment to apply liquid organic fertilizer. I spray it on the plant and the soil. I try to do it in the morning. Applying it during the day can burn the foliage and applying it in the evening it may not dry fast enough thus adding to fungus issues. I've always done it this way I thought that was what the hose attachments were for lol.

I do think Ray has a good point though. He grows in a lot of EBs so the soil mixture is very specific, unlike in ground planting and also living by the ocean high humidity and fungus are a constant battle.

I guess I always figured that if plants can loss moisture thru their leaves that they can also utilize that way too.

Now I need to google Dr. Turkey.

Why can't watermelon plants be foliar fed. When I spray my garden everything gets sprayed. lol

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Because where I am I have every fungus is waiting ,and a few I woudn't even want to imagine.
Yours it works great ,ok mine it 's ain't .Of course when comes to the small garden and watermelon some seasons I haven't even gotten one.Knowing what I know,I cannot blame the garden,can I?(booo)(lol).
Only I do have green tomatoes and only a week later than my best season!!!! yea!!!!!! All thanks to foliar feeding?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the clarification. It's not watermelons in general, it's watermelon in your area, that I understand.

Cherry Grove, OH(Zone 6b)

We always have trouble with watermelons also. We haven't found the magic formula for growing them here.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

I foliar feed with Daniel's, it's organic and plant based. I can't spray in the heat of the day either, but I have sprayed in the evening since we get heavy dew at night anyway.

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