For growth and prosperity

For growth and prosperity

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fertilizer burn - Effect of excessive use of chemical fertilizers,

What is fertilizer burn?
The chemical fertilizers that we use for farming are hygroscopic in nature. When a farmer applies excess chemical nutrients and fails to water the plants sufficiently, the applied chemicals because of their “thirsty” nature starts absorb water particles not only from the soil but also from the plant roots.

This withdrawal of water from the plant tissues (dehydration) will cause ‘drying out’ of tender parts like roots and foliage. This injury will be visible very soon after the application of fertilizers like browning of part or all of the foliage. In some cases, severe injury will cause death of the entire plant. Since the symptoms in the leaf look like 'thermal radiation burn out' this is called “Fertilizer burn’.

Remember: “Over fertilizing is just as bad as under fertilizing”.
Fertilizers are normally soluble but some are highly soluble. The higher the solubility of a chemical fertilizer then higher the chances of “burn” if not used properly.

In most of the ‘burn out’ cases, it was found to be the application of excess nitrogen beyond the needs of the plant that caused the plant burn.

A case history:

Fertilizer burn may occur to plants that are provided with drip / fertigation system also.

Continuous fertigation, less water and hot climatic condition may cause ‘burn’ as happened to a Banana farmer who had applied 200gm of Single Super Phosphate and 100gm of Di Ammonium Phosphate as basal fertizers and after a week started to give daily dose of 1gm each of Ammonium Sulphate, Urea, Calcium nitrate, Potash and water soluble 19:19:19 (Total 6gm per Banana plant). The inevitable ‘burn’ happened one hot noon and the farmer was advised to stop fertigation and asked to irrigate the plant copiously.

Pictures taken on 01/09/2011 at his field (Uthamapalayam, Theni District, Tamilnadu) are published here above.


Irrigate copiously to leach (wash out) the excess chemicals from the soil.

A.Vishnu Sankar


Anonymous said...

very informative blog which provides great description on fertilizer burn.Excessive fertilizer can "burn" plants and damage leaves by increasing the mineral salt concentration in the soil.. Best wishes for your best efforts..Thanx for sharing such important information for us.. on Fertilizer burn

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