Hot conditions in the prairies often coincide with crops gearing up for flowering. During this reproductive stage, the crop has an increasing demand for boron. Unfortunately, boron is immobile in the plant and cannot be stripped from vegetative tissues to fulfill the transient peak of demand of the flowers.
Boron is a key nutrient to successful pollination. When the conditions become hot and dry or hot with a high level of relative humidity, boron translocation becomes jeopardized. This can lead to a poor extension of the pollen tubes resulting in misses in the pods. We often hear about ‘heat blast’ or ‘pod abortion’, which a direct consequence of boron shortage at flowering time. Heat also shortens the flowering period and affect the activity of the pollinators
So, what can you do? Beat the heat with boron!
Providing readily-available boron can help your crops mitigate the damage caused by heat stress. A couple weeks ago my colleague Russell Clark talked about the benefits of boron for hail damage, and many of the same benefits apply to heat damage, but it also has more properties that are especially helpful for dealing with heat stress.
With an adequate supply of boron at flowering time pollination becomes optimal, which leads to better seed fertilization and development, reduces the number of blanks in the pods and aborted flowers/pods. To help reduce heat stress and supply boron during shortages, I recommend SuperB or KB78.
These liquid foliar fertilizers are formulated with boric acid, the most available form of boron for efficient foliar uptake in crops. Super B is recommended for a wide variety of field, horticultural and vegetable crops. It corrects boron deficiency, and can be used to supplement soil-applied boron. KB78 also contains potassium, which can mitigate potassium deficiency triggered under hot conditions.
If your crops are stressed because of hot conditions, talk to your local OMEX plant health professional today to learn more about how boron can help mitigate heat stress and improve your crop’s pollination and health.