Achieve High Berry Quality with Cation Interaction Management

We’ve known that calcium (Ca) uptake during fruit development is essential to improve fruit quality and increase resistance to bacteria and fungi. Calcium plays an integral role in overall plant health and structure but let us not forget about the importance of having a well-adjusted cation ratio to fulfill the berry’s nutritional requirement.

The phase during establishment and development of inflorescences lead to the most fundamental stage of production. During this stage, it is of most importance to keep in mind which nutrients are readily available (soluble) and the concentration ratios among cations (calcium/ potassium/ magnesium/ sodium). In the California coastal region, some of the limiting factors for producing quality strawberries are poor water quality, as well as saline or alkaline soils. We find ourselves having to compete with sodium (Na) to get the required amount of Ca, K and Mg into the plant. Delivering the nutrient’s the plant requires should be applied as needed based on soil, water and tissue analyses is our 4 R goal. 

Always take in consideration electrical conductivity, pH levels, and cation availability in the soil. High electrical conductivity levels limit the amount of fertilizers that could be applied in the soil or through the fertigation line. High pH levels negatively regulate the availability of many nutrients, while high sodium levels disrupt the balance between cations in the soil. Ideal soil ratios suggest a 3-5:1:0.5-1:0.25 Ca:Mg:K:Na, gradually increasing potassium (K) after fruit establishment. 

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Macronutrient Uptake
Elsanta grown in bags filled with perlite - (yield 497g/plant, 5.96kg/m2)

There are other benefits commonly found when calcium levels in the plant and the fruit are increased. YaraLiva® is the name for Yara’s family of nitrogen and calcium fertilizers that are suitable for fertigation. This includes both CAN-17™ and CN-9®. In addition, Yara has a complete line of foliar fertilizers termed YaraVita®. The Vita name implies knowledge of elements and crops. YaraVita® SENIPHOS™ is a safe and effective foliar calcium fertilizer in an ortho phosphorus base.

YaraVita® MAGPHOS™ provides phosphate, soluble potash and soluble magnesium that are immediately available to the plant. The results are stronger, healthier plants which are more resistant to adverse environmental stress.


Patricia Dingus
Patricia Dingus
Regional Sales Manager

Central Coastal California

Eddie Muro
Eddie Muro
Sales Agronomist

Central Coastal California