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Early Season Fertility

Temperatures have been up and down for the southeast but it is still a little too early to begin injecting Nitrogen in most areas of Georgia.  The exception would be if you are growing strawberries in the lower coastal plain.  One thing that we all need to be considering is an application of boron (B).

I normally recommend that you take a tissue sample the first of January to determine B levels in the field.  This also gives you a baseline for the other needed nutrients.  Since many growers did not get a sample taken i have been recommending around 0.25 pounds of actual B injected through the drip tape.  This can be accomplished using 1 quart of Solubor per acre.  There are probably other sources of boron.  Growers just need to be sure that they don’t go over 0.5 pounds of B, because higher rates can cause injury.

About mid-February is when the middle part of the state should begin their fertility program.  We typically start out with 0.5 pounds of nitrogen per day per week or 3.5 pounds of N each week.  this will gradually increase as we move toward flower and fruit production.  I usually recommend a combination of potassium nitrate and calcium nitrate, but there are also some liquid formulations (8-0-8 and 7-0-7) that work well.

It is highly recommended but seldom done to take petiole samples just before initiating your fertilizer injections.  There is a very good graphic that shows where your nitrate levels should be throughout the growing season.

 

So go ahead and take both the initial leaf and petiole sample now.  This will help you determine if there are any minor elements that are lacking and get you started analyzing your petiole Nitrogen.  Sampling like this will keep you from over or under applying nitrogen throughout the season.