Every grower wants to provide the best possible conditions for their crops, and when traditional approaches no longer deliver, it’s time to look for a more efficient way. Foliar feeding is becoming more and more popular as a way to solve common nutrient issues. But in order to use it correctly, you need to know the basics and use the right products.
What is foliar feeding and how does it work?
Foliar feeding is a relatively new approach in providing plants with sufficient nutrients. While the common perception is that plants absorb nutrients through their root systems, research has shown that this can also happen through the leaves. In foliar feeding, growers apply a foliar spray on the leaves and stems. This allows nutrients to pass directly into the plants’ vascular system through micro-pores to accelerate growth.
The greatest benefit of foliar feeding is probably speed. Nutrients delivered through the leaves are absorbed 8 to 10 times faster than those located in the soil. This means you can give your plants a quick boost in phosphorus, zinc and iron or combat stress factors.
Benefits and downsides of foliar feeding
Overall absorption is more efficient as well. With soil feeding, many nutrients are lost as unused water drains, while leaf-fed plants absorb a greater percentage of nutrients, making foliar feeding the more economical approach.
However, foliar feeding has some downsides that need to be considered. As beneficial as it is, if done incorrectly, it could actually do more harm than good. For example, it’s important to use the proper concentration and amount by diluting the product. In addition, you’re practically injecting nutrition straight into your plant, so you need to make sure you have the best foliar spray for your particular needs.
How & when to use foliar feeding
Several key questions need to be answered, such as: Should you apply foliar spray with lights on or off? Is it okay to use a foliar spray during flowering? How much is enough?
As a general rule, it’s recommended to spray plants when the lights are off, or any liquid on the leaf surface will lead to dangerously high temperatures, thus burning the leaves or choking the plant. Also, growers prefer to use a foliar spray during the vegetative stage only. The growing environment is generally very humid during the flowering stage, and bringing in more moisture through spraying may disrupt the balance.
Apply the solution using a sprayer that achieves a fine mist to avoid oversaturation. With most products, you need to spray both the tops and the bottoms of the leaves. Also, you need to adjust the pH of your foliar spray prior to applying, as foliar absorption is pH-dependent, and pH must be slightly acidic.
Still, there are innovative products such as the Optic Foliar spray range, where the majority of these restrictions no longer apply. Read below to learn more about the opportunities.
The Optic Foliar Innovation
Optic Foliar is a pioneer in foliar feeding. Through research and innovation, their products have defied many of the rules and stigmas related to foliar sprays.
When we talk about a foliar spray, by definition, it’s a solution applied directly to the plants’ leaves so valuable nutrients are absorbed more quickly and fully. Optic Foliar have taken the science behind the process to the next level. Their products take full advantage of the mesophyll layer of the leaf – the region responsible for pushing plant growth by vigorously converting light energy, nutrients and water. By directly targeting that layer, they deliver active ingredients that are utilized best.
The key advantage of any foliar spray is the absence of any risks or negative consequences. As mentioned above, with most other products, you need to apply them only when your lights are off, spraying both the tops and bottoms of the leaves after adjusting the foliar spray pH. But that’s not the case with Optic Foliar. Now, you can spray your plants any time of the day, even with your lights on, without risking damage or burning. You don’t need to spray the undersides or pH the solution either. The comprehensive Optic Foliar feed chart makes it very easy to tell when and how to apply each product.
Optic Foliar Switch
Optic Foliar Switch speeds up the transition of plants from the vegetative to the bloom stage. It does so by combating the stress factors that can delay blooming.
In addition, Optic Foliar Switch will ensure that your plants remain female, without any male parts. So, how does Optic Foliar Switch work to achieve this? The product blocks male hormones, and even with plants that are already showing hermaphroditic signs, the Optic Foliar Switch reverse nutrient will prevent the male parts from maturing so that the plant maintains female-only traits. This ability makes it the best foliar spray for clones, as it balances the hormones of your plants. Most importantly, it’s a safe product that’s non-cancerogenic and non-toxic.
If you’re wondering how to use Optic Foliar Switch, you can start as early as Day 1 of flowering. Use it during the first 2 weeks of flowering to form blooms earlier, with tighter nodes, ultimately resulting in bigger yields. Spray twice, 10 days apart.
For optimal results, combine with Optic Foliar Transport, a wetting agent that we describe in further detail below.
Optic Foliar Transport
Optic Foliar TRANSPORT is a potent wetting agent that helps deliver your foliar spray exactly where needed. It carries the active ingredients through the epidermal layer of the leaf into the mesophyll layer, allowing plants to absorb the solutions in an instant fully. This way, spray concentrations can be reduced by up to 75%. In Optic Foliar Transport reviews, growers also appreciate the fact that the product leaves no residues and evaporates within minutes.
You can apply the product with your lights on, without any damage or the need to spray the undersides of leaves.
You can use the TRANSPORT spreader by Optic Foliar as a fertiliser supplement with any Optic Foliar spray or any other foliar application, including pesticides, insecticides, etc. For example, if you’re looking at how to mix Optic Foliar Switch with Transport, you simply need to add 10 ml of TRANSPORT to 1 litre of SWITCH and shake well.
Optic Foliar Watts
Optic Foliar WATTS allows your plants to make the most out of the available sunlight and supplemental HID lighting. WATTS leads to an optimized Calvin Cycle, increasing photosynthesis and stimulating chlorophyll & chloroplast production. This greater light efficiency results in better nutrient uptake.
The product is best applied early in the morning, right after the lights are switched on, 3-4 times per week. It’s suitable for seedlings, cuttings, and throughout the growth stage and up to week 4 of flower.
Optic Foliar WATTS can be combined with Optic Foliar Atak or a natural pesticide or fungicide to create a powerful multipurpose spray. Combining it with Optic Foliar REV and TRANSPORT will ensure optimal efficiency.
Optic Foliar REV
Optic Foliar REV is a mighty nutrient solution that provides plants with a range of essential micronutrients, organic vitamins, and amino acids.
It’s ideally used following the application of Optic Foliar WATTS. As WATTS promotes accelerated growth, it leaves the plant in need of a nutrient boost. In turn, Optic Foliar REV provides the necessary additional nutrition, helping to maintain these high rates of growth, produce healthier plants, and deliver higher-quality crop yields.
To prepare for application, add a teaspoon each of TRANSPORT, WATTS & REV for each litre of water and shake well. You can also add ATAK or a natural pesticide to the mix.
Optic Foliar Atak (RTU)
Optic Foliar ATAK is an efficient foliar spray used to combat powdery mildew. In addition, it signals the plant to enable its SAR response (Systemic Acquired Resistance) which activates its internal defence system.
Optic Foliar ATAK (RTU) is premixed with Optic Foliar TRANSPORT for greater ease of use. It’s a non-toxic solution, safe to use into late bloom up to one week before harvest. ATAK can be applied with the lights on and causes no damage or burning to the leaves. Spray tops of leaves only, with no need to wash them off.
Optic Foliar Atak’s concentrated version can also be used to prevent and fight Pythium root rot in the root zone.