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Plant resistance in cold periods (winter stress)

Written by Maarten Casteleijn | Last updated: 23-07-2021

Plant resistance strengthens the crop and ensures less sensibility to stress. Stress in plants is caused by growth problems in crops that are unexposed to light. It is important to preventively increase plant resistance before it becomes colder. Chemical crop protection agents are used less frequently, so it is necessary to enlarge plant resistance with alternatives. 

What is winter stress for plants?
Plants can experience stress due to various factors, such as diseases, pests, temperature and a lack of light. This has negative consequences for the plants’ fungi. In winter, plants mainly suffer from stress caused by ‘non-living’ factors such as wind, a lack of light, radiation or drought. Continuously monitoring the environment of the plants and providing a complete nutrition for the plants, enables to prevent the abiotic stress of plants.

Plant resistance in horticulture
The crop can become stronger and heal faster by using plant resistance products. These agents can be divided into plant resistance products above-ground and underground.

Plant resistance above-ground
Plant resistance can be strengthened underground and above-ground. For above-ground plant resistance, this can be done by using plant strengthening foliar fertilizers and by activating the plant immune system. In addition, the plant vitality should be increased with plant strengthening agents. Good plant health improves resistance to pests and diseases.

Plant resistance underground
Plant-strengthening fertilizers can be used to improve the underground plant resistance. For example, use organic or mineral fertilizers. Additionally, increase the underground plant resistance by stimulating soil life and using absorption and soil improvers. For example, use compost worms to maintain the level of soil life.

How to increase plant resistance in colder periods?
The focus of many growers is on preventing plants from becoming sick and less on curing the plant. From curative to preventive. Especially in the winter months, growers see the importance of preventive control. It is possible to increase plant resistance in cold periods by making use of:
  • The natural defense mechanism of plants;
  • Products that improve plant resistance;
  • Biological crop protection;
  • Adapted feeding regime for winter.
Each option is explained below.

The natural defense mechanism of plants

Plants are able to protect and strengthen themselves through their natural defense mechanism. When the plant experiences stress, it produces substances that protect itself from various dangers. This is beneficial for the plant resistance. It is possible to improve the plant’s defense mechanism. You can support plants in stressful situations by using products that strengthen the natural defense mechanism without using chemicals.

Products that promote plant resistance

Resistance through the substrate is becoming an increasingly important element of controlling above-ground pets and diseases. Organic additives in the form of compost, influence the soil life. Plant resistance can also be enhanced by plant-strengthening foliar fertilizers. These fertilizers support growth, the processes in the plant and the absorption and conversion of minerals and trace elements. By applying these products, the needs of the plants are always sufficiently covered.

Biological crop protection
Plants can be protected underground and above-ground, and plant resistance can be increased by biological crop protection. Biological crop protection is the control of harmful organisms in the crop by using natural enemies, biological crop protection agents and crop protection of natural origin. By using biological crop protection in the winter, you keep diseases and plagues in crop under control, resulting in a healthier crop. 

Adjusted feeding regime for winter periods
Applying an adapted feeding regime a few months before winter may cost a little more, but limits the loss. An adapted feeding regime means that you enrich the fertilizer schedule with different plant resistance products or fertilizers, including for example Compete Plus, Algan, calcium, magnesium or silicon products. These elements harden the plant. 

Increasing dry matter content?
Preventively, you can increase the dry matter content before a cold period. This should always be done quickly and cheaply. The dry matter content of the plant can always be seen by means of a dry matter measurement, so that you can always monitor it easily.

More information about plant resistance in colder periods?

Do you have any questions about plant resistance in colder periods or about the use of the above products? Please contact product specialist Maarten Casteleijn using the form below. On working days, you will receive a response within 24 hours. 

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