The last berry has been picked, the harvest is in, and now it's time to relax. Not so fast! Your plants have spent their energy producing a crop and need to recharge. For example, application of post-harvest fertilizer should start within a couple of weeks after the last picking. Irrigation should not be stopped, and plants must be kept clean and healthy.
Protect your high value investment and take action for the vital steps that need to happen this fall to help your crop get off to a better start next spring.
Post-Harvest is a critical time to upgrade your crop and soil conditions:
- Recondition and rebuild the soil: Examine your soil’s condition, then improve root zone biome, soil trafficability, water and nutrient supply for demand next year.
- Heal harvest wounds, deal with diseases and harmful insects. Get rid of excess foliage and improve air flow.
- Rebuild carbohydrate reserves so plants have their fuel for the winter and build next year's potential.
Fall is the time to focus on preparation for next year's crop. Failure to do so will reduce potential yield and quality next year.
Here are some helpful steps and products that will increase your chances for success next year.
Fiber: Cover crop or perennial low maintenance grasses permit water to infiltrate soil better and are a good source or organics/fibre from roots and cuttings. Decomposition of green or dry fibre stimulate soil microbial activity. In addition, they offer a good trafficability and more protection from top soil loss due to run off or wind. Richardson Seed's barley, oats, winter wheat and fall rye are some of the seed varieties that work well, depending on your preference for die back or winter survival, and spring mowing or desiccation. Richardson Seed Low Maintenance is a drought tolerant blend of different fescues and turf-type perennial ryegrass, while Richardson Seed Alleyway Mix is a blend of chewings fescue and turf type perennial ryegrass that has been especially blended for trafficability.
Humics: Humic substances are recognized by most soil scientists and agronomists as the most important component of a healthy fertile soil. Organic matter in soil is depleted after 2-3 years of cultivation and must be replenished. Our Humiliate product is a low ash, low clay, dry product perfect for spreading in-between rows. EarthLink HumiLink has 12% humic acid and it an easy-to-apply liquid product that can be sprayed under the rows, in tire and/or wheel tracks and in the middle, if needed.
Kelp/Seaweed: Acadian Seaplants meets and exceeds the demands of today's growers by providing a superior seaweed extract product that is proven to increase root growth and early development. Acadian's Stella Maris® (a TerraLink exclusive in Western Canada) is made from the most active seaweed species in the world and is hand harvested preserving the base of the plant, guaranteeing it will grow back. Stella Maris is produced using a gentle extraction process to ensure the maximum amount of beneficial compounds is in the final product and released to your crop. EarthLink Affinity is a specialty blend of premium Acadian seaweed and liquid organic carbon (humic and fulvic acids).
Calcium: Add available calcium from naturally occurring pure gypsum. Gyp-Link is a certified organic micronized and granulated gypsum sourced from leading gypsum suppliers that provides superior solubility and calcium release without contaminants. Or get both pH control and calcium from Dolopril or Calpril.
Lime takes longer to activate than gypsum, so apply lime products as early as possible post-harvest. Raise the soil pH suitable to your variety of blueberries.
Magnesium: Soils requiring a high additional magnesium contribution to balance their cation exchange capacity will benefit from a fall application of K-Mag.
Boost Next Year's Buds
Consider the benefits of Stella Maris or EarthLink SeaGreen as a post-harvest bio-stimulant to help plants restart their vegetative growth. Both products contain Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed that helps plants recover faster from bearing fruit, and hence get past their recharge need for carbohydrate more quickly, ready to turn to regenerative mode. EarthLink Post Harvest (liquid) is an organic-based liquid product especially formulated for post-harvest foliar treatment of fruit crops to help prepare plants to withstand colder temperatures. It helps minimizes frost damage by improving cell tolerance against lower temperatures during late fall to early spring. EarthLink BerryMax Fall applied in late fall will prepare the plants for spring budding, and Agro-K's Top Set with boron and molybdenum will support bud development in the new season.
Apply nutrients to your fields to promote healthy growth in all seasons. If extra nitrogen is already present in the soil, EarthLink Enhanced Fall helps balanced it, and the growth it produces. Apply as soon as possible after harvest. EarthLink Max is readily absorbed to meet the requirements of phosphorus and potassium before the winter dormancy period. EarthLink Top-30 K provides rapid uptake of potassium during a plant’s critical stages, especially for the post-harvest period. Agro-K Zinc +4 DL with magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and zinc is a great option to make sure your crop gets a refill of minor nutrients, or for fields that test low on magnesium, there is Agro-K's Magnesium Dextro-Lac. Both of those products should be applied before leaves are turning.
TerraLink's technical field representatives can help you take the right steps with the right products to ensure a great NEXT season. Contact us today for more information, and for your detailed plan of action.