The precision placement of preplant fertilizers can ensure both vigorous rooting and the early uptake of N, P and K prior to the development of the leaf canopy. Banded fertilizer should be applied in sufficient amounts to enhance rooting and carry the young plants for 3-4 months, until the canopy is sufficiently developed to make foliar fertilizer applications efficient and effective. Placement is usually just below or adjacent to the plant line to allow the earliest interception by the developing roots. Plastic mulch can protect fertilizer from leaching or volatilization. However, water applied by drip irrigation can contribute to losses by leaching. Many types of fertilizers are available, such as urea, ammonium sulphate, potassium nitrate, superphosphate and treble superphosphate, ammonium phosphate, magnesium sulphate, muriate or sulphate of potash, and others. The choices should complement both the previously incorporated broadcast amendments and, where foliar fertilization is practised, the foliar nutrients that follow later.
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