A few days of good spring weather and cherry, apple and pear trees slowly start to blossom again. For growers this can be problematic, as there is potential for light night frosts in March and April to damage blossom impacting on yield and quality. However, if the osmoregulator Bluestim® is applied in time, this can now be minimised - says Crop Specialist, Gaby van Kemenade.
Bluestim® consists of more than 96% glycine betaine - an organic compound that stimulates water and nutrient transport during stress situations - heat, cold, water and/or salt.
“Some crops, such as cacti, naturally contain high levels of glycine betaine to help survive environmental stress – in the case of cacti, extreme drought,” explains Gaby. “Others need a helping hand – which is where Bluestim® can play an important part. By treating fruit trees in good time, we can make them resilient to light night frosts."
Apply 72 hours before frost
Easily absorbed by the crop, Bluestim® reaches all parts of the plant within 24 hours. From that point, osmosis regulation kicks in.
“We recommend spraying fruit trees with 7 to 8 kg/ha Bluestim® approximately 72 hours before the first frost,” says Gaby. “The crop then has sufficient time to optimise sap flow to better withstand the cold stress. If necessary, the treatment can be repeated after 2 weeks.”
Research carried out by PCFruit in 2010 on pear blossom showed Bluestim® significantly reduced frost damage.
Before the blossom was exposed to a temperature of -3°C, it was treated with Bluestim®. As a result, only 2 of the 66 observed flowers showed slight discoloration and there were no signs of heavy frost damage; Bluestim® protected 97% of the flowers against frost. In the untreated control, 29% of the blossoms were damaged.
In addition to good results with stone fruit and top fruit trees, in situations of environmental stress Bluestim® can deliver tangible yield/quality improvements to soft fruit, greenhouse vegetable and ornamental crops as well as turf.