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Boosting Wheat's Drought Defence with Foliar Fertilizers

Boosting Wheat's Drought Defence with Foliar Fertilizers



Droughts are tough on crops, especially wheat, a vital food source for many. With climate change bringing more droughts, farmers face a big challenge: how to protect their wheat from drying up and dying out.

One smart solution researcher are exploring is using special fertilizers that dissolve in water. These fertilizers contain important nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which plants need to grow well. Instead of putting these nutrients in the soil, farmers spray them directly onto the leaves of the wheat plants. This method, called foliar fertilization, is like giving the plants a quick and targeted nutrient boost.

So, what's the big deal about spraying nutrients on leaves? Well, when there's not enough water in the soil, plants struggle to get the nutrients they need through their roots. But with foliar spraying, the nutrients go straight to where they're needed most – the leaves.

Researchers tested this idea by spraying water-soluble fertilizers on wheat plants, especially during times of drought. And guess what? It worked!

Here's what they found:

Spraying a mix of potassium and water-soluble fertilizer directly onto the leaves of wheat plants has shown remarkable benefits in enhancing plant health, especially under conditions of water scarcity. Let's delve into the details of how this foliar fertilization technique works wonders for wheat cultivation:

Better Plant Health:

When wheat plants face water scarcity, their growth and health suffer. However, foliar spraying of potassium and water-soluble fertilizers provides a targeted nutrient boost that directly benefits the plants. Potassium is essential for various physiological processes in plants, including enzyme activation, photosynthesis, and water regulation. By delivering potassium and other essential nutrients directly to the leaves, foliar spraying ensures that the plants receive the necessary resources even when water availability in the soil is limited.

This targeted nutrient application leads to several improvements in plant health:

Increased Wheat Production: Potassium and other nutrients supplied through foliar spraying contribute to enhanced wheat production. Wheat plants sprayed with these fertilizers tend to produce more grains, thereby improving overall yield.

Enhanced Greenness and Vitality: The foliage of wheat plants appears greener and more vibrant after foliar application of nutrients. This indicates improved chlorophyll content and overall plant vitality, which are crucial for efficient photosynthesis and nutrient uptake.

Stress Tolerance: Wheat plants treated with foliar fertilizers exhibit greater resilience to environmental stresses, including drought. The supplied nutrients support the plants' ability to withstand adverse conditions, leading to healthier and more robust crops.

Keeping Plants Hydrated:

One of the key challenges wheat plants face during drought is maintaining adequate hydration. However, foliar applied nutrients play a vital role in addressing this challenge. When wheat plants experience water stress, they activate mechanisms to conserve water and maintain cellular hydration. Osmolytes, such as proline and soluble sugars, accumulate in plant cells to regulate osmotic balance and protect cellular structures from damage.

Through foliar spraying, wheat plants can efficiently absorb osmolytes along with other nutrients directly through their leaves. These osmolytes act as Osmo protectants, attracting and retaining water within plant cells even in dry conditions. As a result, wheat plants treated with foliar fertilizers exhibit improved water retention and hydration status, reducing the negative impacts of drought stress on growth and development.

Less Stress:

Drought stress imposes significant physiological and biochemical challenges on wheat plants, leading to increased oxidative stress and cellular damage. Malondialdehyde (MDA) is a marker of lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in plants. Elevated MDA levels indicate cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) under stress conditions.

However, foliar application of potassium and water-soluble fertilizers helps alleviate drought induced stress in wheat plants. These fertilizers contain nutrients and bioactive compounds that enhance antioxidant activity and mitigate oxidative damage. By reducing MDA levels and enhancing the plants' antioxidant defences, foliar spraying contributes to overall stress reduction and improved plant health.

More Wheat:

Ultimately, the goal of any agricultural intervention is to increase crop yield and productivity. Spraying potassium and water-soluble fertilizers directly onto wheat plants proves highly effective in achieving this objective, even in regions prone to frequent droughts. The combination of targeted nutrient delivery, improved stress tolerance, and enhanced physiological processes results in higher grain yields and better-quality wheat crops.

The precautions for using foliar fertilizer on wheat during drought conditions:

Before Applying Foliar Fertilizer:

Timing: Spray the fertilizer early in the morning or late in the evening when it's not too hot or sunny. This helps avoid burning the leaves.

Concentration: Don't make the fertilizer too strong. If it's too strong, it can make drops on the leaves, which isn't good. It's better to use weaker fertilizer more often than stronger fertilizer less often.

Soil Conditions: Check the soil. If it's too acidic or alkaline, too wet, or too cold, the plants might not get all the nutrients they need from the soil. In these cases, spraying the fertilizer on the leaves can help.

During and After Foliar Fertilizer Application:

Avoid Rainy Weather: Don't spray the fertilizer if it's raining or really humid. This can stop the plants from getting the nutrients and might make them sick.

Watch the Plants: Keep an eye on the plants after spraying. If they start looking strange, like their leaves change colour or they start wilting, do something about it quickly.

Follow Instructions: Always do what the instructions on the fertilizer bottle say. They tell you how much to use and how to use it safely.

Importance of foliar fertilizer on wheat during drought conditions:

1. Quick Nutrient Delivery:

    During periods of drought or water scarcity, the availability of nutrients in the soil may be limited as roots struggle to access moisture and essential elements. Foliar fertilizers offer a rapid solution by bypassing the root uptake process altogether.

    By directly spraying nutrients onto the leaves, foliar fertilization provides an immediate supply of essential elements, ensuring that the plants receive the nutrients they need without delay. This swift delivery is crucial for sustaining vital physiological processes and maintaining plant health during dry spells.


2. Efficient Absorption:

    Plants possess remarkable capabilities for absorbing nutrients through their leaves, a process known as foliar uptake. When fertilizers are applied to the foliage, the nutrients can be absorbed directly through the leaf surface and transported to various parts of the plant.

    Compared to soil application, foliar absorption offers higher efficiency, as it bypasses potential barriers to nutrient uptake in the root zone, such as compacted soil, waterlogging, or nutrient imbalances. This efficiency is particularly beneficial in drought conditions when root activity may be compromised.


3. Targeted Treatment:

    One of the key advantages of foliar fertilization is its ability to provide targeted nutrient delivery. Farmers can tailor the composition and concentration of foliar sprays to address specific deficiencies or stress conditions observed in their wheat crops.

    This targeted approach enables precise application, allowing farmers to treat individual plants or specific areas within a field without the need for blanket application across the entire area. It maximizes resource utilization and minimizes waste, contributing to cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability.


4. Boosts Growth and Health:

    The timely provision of essential nutrients through foliar fertilization is instrumental in promoting vigorous growth and maintaining optimal plant health, even in challenging environmental conditions.

    During droughts, when water availability is limited, foliar applied nutrients play a crucial role in sustaining metabolic processes, supporting photosynthesis, and enhancing stress tolerance mechanisms within the plant. This, in turn, promotes resilience and enables wheat plants to thrive despite adverse conditions.

    Additionally, foliar fertilization can stimulate the production of phytohormones and secondary metabolites, further enhancing growth, development, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

 In essence, foliar fertilizer serves as a versatile and effective tool for enhancing the productivity and resilience of wheat crops, particularly in regions prone to drought and water stress. Its ability to provide rapid, targeted, and efficient nutrient delivery makes it an indispensable component of modern agricultural practices aimed at optimizing crop performance and ensuring food security in a changing climate.


In conclusion, the findings presented in this exploration underscore the transformative potential of foliar fertilization in bolstering wheat's resilience to drought. From enhancing plant health and hydration to mitigating stress and boosting yield, the benefits of this innovative approach are undeniable. As farmers confront the escalating challenges posed by climate change, foliar fertilization emerges as a beacon of hope – a tool through which they can navigate the uncertain terrain of agricultural production with confidence.

By embracing foliar fertilization, farmers can not only safeguard their wheat crops against the perils of drought but also cultivate a sustainable and resilient agricultural ecosystem. As we look towards the future, it is clear that the adoption of innovative strategies like foliar fertilization will play a pivotal role in ensuring food security, preserving livelihoods, and fostering resilience in the face of an increasingly volatile climate. Together, let us embrace the power of innovation and stewardship, forging a path towards a more resilient and sustainable agricultural future.

Note : This research is based on google we are not responsible for any other circumstances.