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Top dressing tips

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Ten top tips for planting

Top dressing refers to the process by which any material from natural or synthetic origin is added to the soil to supply one or more nutrients as is required by the plant/crop.


The main reason is to ensure that a crop acquires the necessary nutrients for growth. Sometimes it boosts the plant as the crop is to absorb the readily available nutrients without hustle hence growth is rapid and high/increased yield is achieved.

Top dress after having done a soil test and you are sure of the lacking nutrients in the soil

When to do it

When topdressing, where mostly CAN is used, ensure that the fertilizer does not come into direct contact with any part of the plant to avoid scorching. The best method to topdress is band placement which is more economical. 1 table spoonful is enough for a plant. For plants like maize, topdressing twice is important for less fertile soils. For maize, it is done twice, when the plants are at knee high and the other when they are producing tassels.

Top dressing should be carried out when the soils are moist and done in splits.Splits is simply dividing the amount of fertilizer to be applied twice or thrice i.e if you are to apply 100 kgs of fertilizer apply 50 kgs . The optimal number is 2 splits with the first split 3 weeks after germination and final and second split 6 weeks after for most short duration crops. Avoid top dressing your crop during heavy rains as it will be leached from the soil or washed away.

In Top Dressing, maize should be topped dressed when they are at knee high and the second top dressing is when they are at shoulder high. Fertilizer should not Come in contact with the plant since it may have a Scorching Effect.

Weeding

Weeding is a process of removing unwanted plants from the farm. This can be done through uprooting, slashing,or using of drugs that destroy or suppress growth of weeds. Example of common weeds include grass, wandering Jew, Mexican Marigold, blackjack, Sodom apple etc.

In venturing into new land or preparing land previously planted one should clear first the land or uproot stumps of trees then plough the land before the rain season. It should be done during the dry season to allow or give weeds time to dry and destroy them.

When managing a crop weeding is to be done before topdressing. This will prevent weeds from consuming fertilizer (eg.CAN) applied to crops for top dressing.

Weeding should be done twice or thrice depending on the crop grown.

Weeding should always be done to avoid competition for nutrients and also sunlight., Weeds can also be used as Mulch and when they decompose they make the soil fertile.

It is best that weeds be uprooted rather than using chemicals because chemicals contains acids which leads to acid-soils.

When weeding, shake the weeds to ensure the soil attached to weeds drops and then pile them together so that they don't regrow again and dries.



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