Stomatal health is crucial to tree health

Oct. 24, 2023 | 5 Min read
Water, like all plants is vital for tree health and yet only a small fraction of water taken up by the roots is used for metabolism, plant growth, and ultimately yield.

Water, like all plants is vital for tree health and yet only a small fraction of water taken up by the roots is used for metabolism, plant growth, and ultimately yield.

In fact 97 per cent of water taken in by a tree is lost to the atmosphere via transpiration through minute leaf openings known as stomata. Transpiration aids both plant cooling and the uptake of nutrient enriched water from the soil.

You can optimise the utilisation of the remaining three per cent for the benefit of the tree by focusing on these key areas to maximise moisture utilisation:

• stomatal function.

• augment leaf health.

• physically increase available soil moisture.

Improving stomatal function

Many wetters when used with foliar sprays have an adverse effect on the stomata ‘guard’ cells.

These products are designed to assist with leaf penetration but damage to these sensitive guard cells, hinders their ability to function efficiently often resulting in leaf burn - we use the term “CropShock®” for this adverse effect.

However, Flextend® from Agspec has the unique ability to act as a filter over the stomata, (in essence, performing like a glasshouse), which allows the plant to exploit more of the available moisture before it is lost to the atmosphere minimising CropShock.

Many growers who have switched to Flextend have remarked they notice better leaf coverage, a greener foliage, and a reduction in secondary disease.

Additionally excessive UV is damaging to leaves.

Flextend has a unique UV filter effect encouraging strong photosynthesis while protecting the plant from UV damage.

Enhancing leaf health

Tree crops often suffer from a reduced ability to utilise potassium creating a negative impact on stomatal function.

This impaired functionality can accelerate the loss of water from the leaf.

To halt this happening, an application of BlueSpear® Filler as a foliar fertiliser application, with its high K loading, ensures an adequate availability of potassium at critical times for stomata opening and closing, boosting the plant’s ability to best appropriate the limited moisture available.

BlueSpear Filler incorporates macro and micronutrients and is specially designed to be used with a vast range of insecticides and fungicides.

The addition of BlueSpear Filler will minimise the “CropShock” effect that impairs stomatal function and leaf health.

Increasing available soil moisture

Trees fight a constant unseen battle for water.

This fight is between soil’s leaching and water holding ability versus a tree root’s capacity to access moisture for growth and vitality, remembering, 97 per cent of the moisture a tree accesses is lost to the atmosphere.

A simple, cost-efficient method to maximise plant-available moisture is to adopt AquiMax® Soil Moisture Management into your irrigation program.

AquiMax increases tree available moisture and nutrients to a level far above a soil’s natural capacity channeling a greater and more consistent volume of moisture and nutrients into the root zone.

This increased accessibility ensures the plant and stomata function at a high level which is crucial, especially when enduring extreme heat or wind stress.

Until now, you may never even have considered stomata function?

It’s hard to fathom such a small opening in a leaf has such a dramatic effect on water loss, photosynthesis, translocation, and metabolic function.

There is no silver bullet, no single solution!

However, the inclusion of Flextend, BlueSpear Filler and AquiMax by Agspec into your tree cropping program (especially on high Delta-T days in summer) actively assists trees to produce greener leaves longer.

Achieving this means your trees will be healthier and the orchard happier culminating in greater quality and a boost in your profitable yield.

Categories Fertilisers & nutrition

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