Foliar Applications - How do they work?

Foliar applications are a great way to deliver mineral nutrition to your plants, especially micro and trace minerals. Greater nutrition will strengthen your crops, reduce pest pressures, and increase yields. However, foliar sprays only work when they are properly formulated and correctly applied.

There are several crucial points when it comes to foliar products:

  1. molecular size of the nutrient molecules
  2. chelators
  3. pH
  4. timing.

The wonderful thing about nature is there are no accidents! Everything happens for a reason, or doesn't happen for a reason. So why do some foliars work, while others do not?

Molecular Size

First let’s look at particle or molecular size. Foliars are meant to be absorbed by the plant through the leaf membrane. Many plant leaf membranes have a surface opening of 500 to 600 Daltons (atoms) in size. Particles larger than this will remain on the leaf surface until they dry and wash off, doing the plant no good.

Many foliar mixtures use synthetic chelators that are significantly larger than 600 Daltons. They may hold the minerals available for the plant, but the minerals are attached to such large molecules that the plant will never be able to use them, unless it can break them down first (which requires time and energy).

Bio Minerals Technologies uses very small, organic chelators that are much smaller than the 600 Dalton limit. Solu-plks and Bio Release, our general chelators, have a molecular size of only 200 to 300 Daltons. By keeping the mineral elements separated (chelated) and small, our foliar mixtures easily pass through the leaf surface membrane with the chelated nutrients, providing easy nutrition for the plant.


Chelators in foliar products serve vital functions. Chelating minerals means we take a postively charged nutrient like Mn ++ and attach a pair of - - to it so it becomes balanced or neutralized, then it is no longer attracted to a positively charged ion or a negatively charged ion and it remains soluble and usable by the plant.

Bio Minerals Technologies’ foliar products are made so that every single mineral nutrient has its own specific chelator. Zn has its own chelator, Fe has its own chelator, Mn, Cu, B, Co, Mo, each and every one has their own specific chelator. To my knowledge, we are the only ones doing this. If we have 12 mineral nutrients in a foliar product, we have 12 separate chelators. ALL of the chelators used in our foliars are ORGANIC and the plant will use them as a nutrient source along with the mineral it is chelating. 

WHY do we do this? We formulate our products this way so we can maintain nutrient availability and keep the molecules small enough to easily pass through the plant’s root or leaf surface membrane. Our foliar products have between 95% and 98% uptake within 8 hours of application, if the rain doesn't wash them off. If your timing is right, almost everything you apply is used by the plant!

pH Level

pH is crucial because you want the mineral nutrient that gets into the plant to be in the most usable form and at a pH level that does not create any stress as the plant tries to use it. Mineral foliars at high or low pH levels bring a great deal of stress to the plant as it restructures them into different compounds before it can use them without damaging itself. This is a lot of extra work that requires a great deal of energy from the plant. While the plant is dealing with high and low pH elements, it has fewer resources available for growth, immunity, and reproduction. Our foliars are at the optimum pH for the highest uptake and also require far less effort by the plant to utilize them.


Timing of the foliar application is also essential. Getting the minerals into the plant at the right time (growth stages) so the plant can express its genetic potential is just as crucial as building the correct and best foliar products. Properly made foliars, applied at the right times, are excellent management practices that go hand in hand.

In addition to the proper growth stage, the time of day also matters. Foliar applications are best applied when the plants are most active internally which is generally early mornings before the temperatures get too hot and late evenings after temperatures have dropped. Plants will decrease their activity during the heat of the day to reduce stress and water loss.

Bio Minerals Technologies Foliar Solutions

Properly formulated foliar application, delivered in the right way and at the right time will provide a significant boost for your plants. The increased nutrition will boost plant health, reduce pests, and can significantly increase yields. Bio Minerals Technologies has a number of foliar nutrition solutions that can be customized specifically for your crop needs.

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