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Plant absorption of foliar applied nutrition can be 2-30 times more efficient than soil applied nutrition depending on the nutrient. Often soil structure and soil chemistry will prevent the proper utilization of soil applied fertilizers i.e. soil pH, CaCo3 content, soil infertility, losses from leaching, lack of soil moisture, limited organic matter, mineral imbalance.
A structural research shows that sometimes the availability of conventional fertilizer to be only 10-30% when applied to the soil. Liquid plant nutrients offer a direct way to feed the plant. Crop responses to nutrient sprays are rapid but also more temporary than from soil treatments.
Very often we can use foliar sprays while the soil treatment takes effect or as a supplement during critical periods i.e. stress, flowering, fruiting, slow growth periods, injured root systems.
Note: In addition, foliar nutrients, because they are concentrates, are less expensive to buy than bulk fertilizers. Total farm or landscape management programs based on foliar nutrition as a supplement to single sources have been proven to be more profitable.