Crop Nutrition Advice for a Successful Celery Crop

We are entering the heaviest production season for celery, one of the highest nutrient demanding vegetables in coastal regions of southern California. Adequate nutrition and fertilizer management of celery are essential not only to grow succulent, high quality celery stalks but also to optimize the efficiency of fertilizer use, keep nutrients available in the root zone and avoid nutrient losses to groundwater resources.

To achieve those goals, Yara Crop Nutrition uses the 4-R nutrient approach as the nutrient management framework to help celery growers achieve their crop system goals. The 4-R Nutrient Stewardship incorporates four components; the Right fertilizer source at the Right rate, at the Right time and in the Right place.


The right fertilizer time for celery nutrient management

Small amounts of nitrogen (N) and other nutrients are required in early stages of development. Little N is taken up after planting and between 20 to 30 lb N/ac can supply the crop demand of young plants for about 30-45 days after transplanting. The needs of N increases as the crop matures and N uptake reaches a maximum two weeks prior to harvest during the time of rapid biomass accumulation. It is recommended to apply fertilizers at each irrigation event to have a continuous supply of soluble nutrients at low rates, and avoid accumulation of fertilizers within one application.

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The right fertilizer place for celery nutrient management

The major rooting zone of celery crops is in the top foot of soil and for that reason nutrient uptake efficiency for celery is low. Placement of fertilizers within the root zone will help to effectively deliver nutrients to where they are taken up by plants. Fertigation is the most efficient way for supplying in-season fertilizers in celery, especially N. Fertigation ensures better application of readily available N in a frequent form to meet crop demand and minimize nitrogen losses to the environment.

The right fertilizer rate for celery nutrient management

Fertilization amounts should be based on soil nutrient levels, yield expectations and duration of the crop cycle. The total N required for a high-yielding celery crop ranges from 200 to 250 lb/ac. Potassium (K) is needed in large quantities - up to 500 lb/ac - and celery tends to respond to K fertilizer even at relatively high soil K levels. Calcium is also needed in relatively large quantities and it is essential for strong cell development that minimizes the incidence of celery black heart.


calcium deficiency

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The right fertilizer source for celery nutrient management

When applying fertilizers, it is important to ensure the correct form is being added specific to the crops and field conditions. Between 30 to 40% of the N in the ammoniacal form (NH4) and 60 to 70% in the nitrate form (NO3) are recommended for celery. YaraLiva® CAN-17™ provides predominantly nitrate-nitrogen, the form of nitrogen preferred by most crops, to supply immediately available nitrogen that supports periods of significant growth and dry matter accumulation of celery.

Also, trials confirm that ammoniacal-nitrogen is more conducive to Fusarium yellows of celery, caused by Fusarium oxysporum, than nitrate-nitrogen. (Schneider, R.W. 1985)

YaraLiva CAN-17

  • Grade 17-0-0 8.8 Ca
  • Nitrate N 68%
  • Calcium (lbs/gal) 1.11
  • Weight (lbs/gal) 12.64
  • pH 6.0-6.5

Celery field trials in California have shown that YaraLiva CAN-17, together with micronutrient applications, improved yields by 7% and increased net return in $742/ac.

15:1 ROI, $742 increased net return/ac

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Celery Carton/ac by Size

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Celery takes up most of the potassium during the second half of its growth cycle. YaraTera® NITRAKAL™ MAX1 provides balanced nitrate-nitrogen, potassium and calcium which is ideal for applications by fertigation during peak demand in the weeks prior to harvest.


  • Total Nitrogen (N) 9.0%
    • Nitrate N (NO3) 6.8%

    • Ammoniacal N (NH4) 2.2%

  • Soluble Potash (K2O) 7.0%
  • Calcium (Ca) 3.5%


Reach out to your local Yara Agronomist to learn more about the role of specific nutrients in celery and how to best utilize these products in your comprehensive nutrition program.

Patricia Dingus
Patricia Dingus
Regional Sales Manager

Central Coastal California

Eddie Muro
Eddie Muro
Sales Agronomist

Central Coastal California

sebastian korob
Sebastian Korob
Regional Market Development Manager