Adding key foliar nutrients to almond hull split sprays can help boost yield, nut size and long-term tree productivity and health

Producing almond crops with consistent annual increased yields, large nuts and minimizing alternate bearing problems get their start now, not in the spring, says Ken Dart, National Technical Manager for Agro-K Corporation, an innovative, 40+ year old foliar nutrient company that focuses on plant physiology and science-driven agronomic principles to improve grower profitability.

“Cool spring soils and variable soil pH limit nutrient uptake and availability from the soil which is why it is critical to have sufficient stored nutrients in the buds and tree,” says Dart. Trees that are nutritionally sufficient when they go into dormancy will see stronger early growth and better yield and quality than trees than lack nutrient(s) going into spring. Key nutrients can be foliar applied now at hull split which are needed for strong buds, more uniform bud break, and faster early growth for larger leaves that have more photosynthetic capability.

“Hull split/NOW insecticide sprays provide a great free-ride for an effective foliar nutrient boost for next year’s crop while improving this year’s harvest. In spring the tree’s need for zinc, manganese, phosphate, and other micronutrients peak so these are important nutrients to have in the tank with your hull split insecticide spray. Adding other early peak demand nutrients can help to further balance the nutritional status of the trees heading into dormancy.” A hull split / NOW spray trip saves the cost of making an additional trip post-harvest to support the nutrient needs of next year’s crop. In addition, application at this time is more effective because leaves are in better condition than post-harvest. Because leaves are in better condition, nutrient uptake at NOW timing is significantly better.

For a complete nutritional mix, Dart recommends adding Agro-K’s Sysstem Finale at 2 to 3 qts/acre for complete micronutrient support (zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron and copper) plus AgroBest® 0-20-26 at 1 gal/acre for the macronutrient support. Agro-K offers Top Set D.L., a 9% boric acid plus 0.5% Moly solution. Molybdenum is important to increase nut set for almonds and is an often overlooked nutrient. Hull split is an excellent time to use this mix to support an increase next year’s nut set.

Sysstem Finale is formulated for rapid and complete leaf penetration and availability to the tree for late season use and storage” says Dart. “It’s compatible with most pesticides. Combining Sysstem Finale with AgroBest 0-20-26 creates an ideal storehouse of nutrition waiting for bloom and rapid leaf out in the spring.”

“Growers will like what they see in the spring as their next crop shows strong bloom and early leaf development instead of hesitating until the soils to warm,” says Dart. “Many growers don’t make post-harvest nutrient applications because of poor leaf conditions, lack of equipment to cover the acres and the extra cost, but they are missing out on yield benefits. That’s why the hull split/NOW application offers the best opportunity to capture next year’s yield advantages and save the cost of post-harvest applications.”

Consider these important nutritional facts:

• The process of a tree breaking dormancy is a very zinc-intensive process.
• Nut trees have a very large demand for zinc due to the very large and extensive root, leaf and vascular systems. All these tissues require zinc to function and grow.
• Manganese is required for root growth, root health and chlorophyll formation and function
• The best nut set and yields won’t happen without molybdenum for pollen production and pollen performance, and boron for pollen tube development and phosphate for cell division for good nut size.
• The full potential of good nut fill and size won’t happen with small leaves and poor chlorophyll. Leaf size is dependent on adequate zinc levels while the leaves are forming – early peak nutrient demand. The key to making this work is having zinc in the buds, roots and vascular tissues applied at a time, and in a form that will be taken in, stored in these tissues and ready to go when dormancy breaks in the spring.
• Chlorophyll production takes place as the leaves expand and requires manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and sulfur. If these are deficient as the chlorophyll forms, the leaves will not be effective in capturing the light for photosynthesis (especially in the lower canopy) which leads to smaller nuts, weak lower limbs and terminals that are more vulnerable to the complex of diseases leading to lower limb die back.

For more information on Agro-K’s foliar nutrients and high quality line of fertilizers, contact Agro-K or a local authorized dealer today. Phone 800-328-2418. Visit www.agro-k.com, or email info@agro-k.com.