Salts are a natural component of soils, including our soluble plant nutrients (Ca, NO3, ect). Excessive levels of any salt can be detrimental to both plant health and soil quality. On the Delmarva Peninsula, excessive salts can come through several sources, which include fertilizers, irrigation water, and salt water intrusion.
Fertilizer burn due to sidedress N applications.
Issues with fertilizers are related to seed germination and growth, where in-furrow recommendations of starter N+K fertilizers are limited to 10 lb/acre total due to salt effects. During sidedress applications, fertilizer burn (Figure 1) can damage leaf tissue, particularly UAN greater than 50lb/acre. As long as corn plants are younger, minimal tissue damage doesn’t affect yield. Considering the above recommendations, salt damage due to fertilizers should be easy to manage. Continue reading