Crop Guides - Strawberry
Fertilizer Recommendations for Strawberry
Lono – Yield
Lono focuses the strawberry plant on reproductive growth (fruit), rather than the vegetative growth stimulated by conventional Nitrogen fertilisers. Lono uses Levity’s LimiN chemistry to hold nitrogen in the amine form which improves photosynthesis, root and fruit growth, and increases yield.
Albina - Shelf Life
Albina is a pioneering new calcium fertilizer that can reduce physiological disorders, improve flower set & fruit holding, and increase firmness and shelf life in strawberry crops. Albina uses LoCal technology to help fruit absorb calcium, a nutrient that can improve quality but is poorly absorbed by developing fruits.
Indra - protect
Indra improves growth and quality of strawberry crops by helping them cope with stress caused by heat, cold, salinity, drought and high UV light. Stress causes strawberry crops to produce toxins (ROS) that damage cells and reduce quality.
Sulis – Earliness Colour & Brix
Sulis builds maturity (colour and brix). It works by supplying molybdenum and boron in a special formulation that helps the fruit maximise the function of the enzymes responsible for maturation, building better levels of colour and brix to allow earlier picking.
How Our Recommended Fertilizers Work on Strawberry
Use Lono to Increase Strawberry Yield
When strawberry crops are supplied with too much nitrogen, vegetative growth tends to accelerate at the expense of fruit growth, this means a disproportionate amount of the nitrogen applied to the crop is used by the plant to grow leaf rather than yhsn being used to produce fruit. It is also why increasing nitrogen applications can reduce fruit quality. Due to this, farmers must carefully balance their nitrogen applications to ensure that the strawberry crop has got enough and not too much Nitrogen.
Why does Nitrogen cause vegetative growth ahead of fruit development?
1) Strawberry crops are bad at taking up Nitrogen Fertilizer.
Strawberry crops are inefficient at capturing nitrogen fertilizer applied, and only take in between 8% and 20% of applied nitrogen. This is because of instability in the ‘form’ of nitrogen in the environment.
Strawberry plants can take up nitrogen in the following forms: Amine (NH2), Ammonium (NH4) and Nitrate (NO3). When nitrogen fertilizer is applied, competing microorganisms quickly change the form of the nitrogen from amine (NH2) to ammonium (NH4) to nitrate (NO3). This means that even though nitrogen may be applied applied in the more productive amine form it is quickly converted by microorganisms to ammonium (resulting in losses via volatilisation), and then into nitrate (which is mostly lost via leaching). Strawberry crops are bad at taking up nitrogen with most of the nitrogen being lost either by volatilization or leaching. The small amount of nitrogen that the strawberry crop is able to take up is mostly in nitrate (NO3) form because of the quick conversion by the microorganisms.
Take away: : When we apply nitrogen fertilizer to strawberries, most of the nitrogen is not taken up by the crop and the nitrogen it manages to take in mostly comes in the form of ‘Nitrate’ (NO3).
2) The ‘Form’ of Nitrogen affects which part of the strawberry crop grows
Even though Amine (NH2), Ammonium (NH4) and Nitrate (NO3) are all forms of Nitrogen, each ‘form’ taken up makes the strawberry crop grow differently.
Nitrates (NO3), which is the vast majority of what is taken up with conventional fertiliser applications, are processed in leaves. Here the crop converts the nitrate into amine nitrogen. This accumulation of nitrate nitrogen in foliage makes the plant produce the growth hormone ‘Auxin’ in the leaves, leading to increased vegetative growth and the expense of strawberry fruit growth.
Amine nitrogen (NH2) is processed in the roots and is easily converted into proteins. Amine nitrogen accumulation in the roots does not result in increased auxin growth hormone and therefore vegetative growth remains stable. It does however lead to production of the growth hormone ‘Cytokinin’ which is responsible for growing the reproductive areas of the plants such as fruit.
Take away: When strawberry crops take up Amine Nitrogen (NH2), emphasis is put on growth of actual strawberries rather than vegetative growth.
Levity have developed the fertilizer Lono which uses ‘LimiN’ Technology. LimiN Technology supplies ‘Stabilized Amine Nitrogen’ (NH2) which does not get converted to ammonium (NH4) and nitrate (NO3).
This has 2 significant advantages to other nitrogen fertilizers:
- The nitrogen is no longer lost to the environment by volatilization and leaching.
- The crop takes up the nitrogen in amine (NH2) form which has a far greater emphasis on strawberry fruit and flower production & growth rather than vegetative growth.
Experiments at Myerscough college show the effect of Stabilized Amine Nitrogen (Using our Lono-K Fertilizer with LimiN technology) compared to the same nutrients applied without stabilization.
More field trials, this time in California show the comparison in strawberry yield results between Levity’s Lono-K (With LimiN technology) and standard fertilizer programmes supplying the same nutrients in un-stabilized form.
Lono K gave greatly higher yields that the industry standard. The trial ended early because the farmer decided to turn over the whole crop over to Lono.