Early Season Nitrogen Strategies in a VERY Wet Year

April 03, 2023

Almond nitrogen needs are now in full swing, but with the extremely wet conditions, there is no need for irrigation, thus no ability for fertigation, which is the primary means of delivering nitrogen to the 1.3 million acres of almonds grown in California. Wet weather also means the need for post-bloom foliar fungicide applications, which provides an ideal opportunity for highly efficient foliar nitrogen applications from NDemand 30L. 

The University of California recommends 20% of the season total N requirement be applied in February – March and 30% in the April application window. Early season nitrogen is critical for shoot expansion and the development of fruiting positions for the following year’s crop. Obviously, the full complement of early-season nitrogen cannot be met via the foliar route, but early-season foliar NDemand applications can provide almonds with much needed nitrogen to support shoot expansion and fruit spur development. This is a window of opportunity for Wilbur-Ellis customers to support their almond orchard nitrogen needs in a very unusual wet spring environment. Until soils dry to the point where our initial irrigations can begin, foliar applications may be the only practical and economical means of delivering a reliable nitrogen source to our almond orchards.

Erosion and Exposed Roots

San Joaquin Valley

Citrus Orchard in South San Joaquin Valley

With the massive amount of rainfall and runoff experienced in the fields this year, we should take special caution in applying both herbicides and fertilizers to potentially exposed roots. A large number of growers will be out spraying herbicides and fertilizers soon that could be damaging when directly contacting the roots. Please discuss your options with your Wilbur-Ellis crop advisor before making treatments if your orchards have experienced water erosion leading to root exposure.



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Also, it is best to advise low application rates of products such as UAN and ATS when roots are exposed. Foliar applications of NDemand 30L (30-0-0) or NDemand Kilo (11-0-16), where K is also needed, will help supplement soil applications. The basic rule is First do no harm!


Carl Bruice // Nutrition Technical Manager