SoilOptix® Blog

Different Methods of Fertilizer Application in the USA

Fertilizer application refers to adding supplemental nutrients to the soil layer to enhance and improve plant growth. The application method can vary depending on diverse factors, like the type of fertilizer, the form, and the specific requirements of the plants and soil.

While all aspects of your routine are essential, fertilizer application in the USA has the most effect on your plants.

Understanding the most standard fertilizer application methods will help you in selecting the best practice for your crops and ensure you’re applying your product in the way you prefer.

fertilizer application USA

Source: Freepik

Methods of Fertilizer Application:

  • Row Application:

One very popular method of fertilizer application is row application, in which the fertilizer is applied in rows of crops. This method allows for directly using the fertilizer close to the seed or plant, ensuring the nutrients are immediately available to the growing plants. This method of fertilizer application is particularly effective for crops like sugarcane and maize, typically planted in widely spaced rows.

  • Furrow Application:

Another method is furrow application in which fertilizer is put at the bottom of a furrow or narrow trench in the soil layer. This method, also known as the ‘plough sole placement’, is often employed where the soil becomes quite dry to a few inches below the soil layer during the growing season. Placing the fertilizer in the moist soil layer at the bottom of the furrow can make it all the more available to the growing plants during dry seasons.

The choice of method for fertilizer application in the USA can also depend on the quantity of fertilizer to be applied and the time of application. For example, band application refers to a continuous fertilizer band on one or both sides of a seed or seedling. This method is often employed when a considerable amount of fertilizer needs to be applied, and it is especially impactful for widely spaced crops.

  • Dry or Pelletized Fertilizer Application:

Dry fertilizer, commonly in the form of pellets, is a standard fertilizer that can be applied directly to the soil. This application method is beneficial for soils having a very heavy clay content, as the pellets can be applied at a depth where they can gradually release nutrients without getting washed away. Placing fertilizers in this method often depends on the plants’ specific nutrient requirements and the soil’s condition. For instance, the anhydrous ammonia, a type of nitrogen fertilizer, must be applied at a certain depth to prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere.

  • Liquid Nutrient Application:

Liquid fertilizer is another popular form often preferred for its great ease of application and quick absorption rate. This fertilizer application method involves using liquid fertilizers, which can be applied in several ways. One standard method is fertigation, where the fertilizer is dissolved in the irrigation water and applied to the soil through open or closed irrigation systems. This method ensures efficient use of fertilizers, allowing the nutrients to be properly distributed in the soil. However, it’s essential to note that applying the liquid fertilizer requires careful in handling to avoid over-fertilization and the potential damage to the young plants.

  • Soil Application:

Soil application refers to the process of applying fertilizer directly to the soil. This method ensures the nutrients are placed where the plants require them most – in the root zone. It is especially effective for nutrients like nitrogen, which can be actually lost in the atmosphere if applied simply on the soil surface. The fertilizer is applied between the rows of crops or around the growing plants, ensuring that the nutrients are easily available to the crop. This method can involve manures and fertilizers, which can be applied by hand or by broadcasting methods for surface application.

In all these methods, the application method often depends on the plant’s specific needs and the soil’s condition. The goal is to ensure that the essential nutrients are available in the soil to promote healthy root development and overall plant health.

The Art of Choosing the Right Fertilizer Application Technique:

Choosing the proper method of fertilizer application is vital for the health of your soil and plants. By understanding the different techniques and their benefits, you can really make an informed decision that will only help your plants to thrive. Remember, the best and most suitable method of fertilizer application is the one that only meets the specific nutrition needs of your plants and soil.

To obtain high resolution soil information to help assist in the application of fertilizer, contact our team of experts at SoilOptix® today!