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How to recover frost damaged fruit crops

Where fruit crops, particularly apples, pears and grapevines have suffered frost damage we need to think about how to best manage the crop buds which are left. Yara’s solution to this problem is to use two products with very specific targets, to both recover the damaged buds where possible and then to recover the lost growth.


How to recover frost damaged fruit crops
How to recover frost damaged fruit crops

This year the weather is very different from just about every other year of our 5-year average. Similar to last year we had early heat in late February lasting no more than two weeks. Enough time for the early varieties to begin, signs of bud swell, however, a dry April ensued and temperatures began to plummet, come late April despite bud swell and first true leaves emerging temperatures of -6 deg C were recorded on a few nights, though the average minimum temps were on average around -1 deg C. This early heat and late frost have led to some varieties losing not only young vegetive growth but entire buds that had been chilled right back. Now the frosts have largely past we need to think about managing the crop buds which are left. Yara’s solution to this problem is to use two products with very specific targets.

First priority is to gently recover the damaged buds 

YaraVita BIOTRAC is a biological stimulant product combined with a micronutrient formulation of potassium, boron and zinc. The biological component of YaraVita Biotrac consists of two key enzyme’s extracted from Ascophyllum nodosum. This extraction allows YaraVita Biotrac to be more concentrated than other similar seaweed formulations which allows a lower application rate for the same benefit.  The Ascophyllum nodosum enzymes nurture damaged vegetative matter, helping the plants with new cell division as they recover the growth and coating any softer tissues reducing the impact of secondary infection sites. The Nitrogen component of YaraVita Biotrac is a component of the Ascophyllum nodosum enzymes. The potassium, boron and zinc in the formulation aid young bud development.

Given some that some cellular damage may have occurred to the nutrient transfer system of the new growth. It is far easier to feed damaged cells with a targeted foliar application than using a macro feed to the base of the plants. This gentler approach should allow partially damaged buds and leaf mater to recover sufficiently enough to enable new young growth to be established. While a coating of Ascophyllum nodosum enzymes should prevent further cold damage to the already sensitive leaf, from occurring at -1 deg C temperatures.

Second priority is to recover the lost growth

Once new growth has been established and old-growth secured from further damage, it is time to give the crop a boost to stimulate new growth and help recover the crop as much as possible.

YaraVita CROPLIFT PRO is an old faithful and well known in all crops. It is a complete balance of NPK & micronutrient foliar feed, which delivers a perfect balance to the new growth to bring the crop on to the level the growers would have expected from an unfrosted crop. YaraVita Croplift Pro will recover much of the lost growth without having too high an NPK balance as to create extra vegetative growth later which would require more pruning.

The major benefit of using a two product approach is that it allows the grower the freedom to decide how soon to push a damaged crop. Other proprietary products high in N will push damaged crops on regardless of recovery. In this case, any partially damaged leaf area will most likely be burned by high N application. Should the crop be less damaged and the grower feels that the partially damaged area can sustain more N, then the grower has the option of using YaraVita Biotrac and Croplift Pro in the same tank mixture. This would deliver an unparalleled foliar nutrient feed to young vegetative crop.

Apple fertiliser and crop nutrition advice
Apple fertiliser and crop nutrition advice

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