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How Water Quality and pH Impact Product Performance

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We often hear concerns from growers about how pH impacts survivability of the microorganisms within BW Fusion biological crop nutrition products.

Do the bacteria in these products die off when pH is outside the optimal range? Absolutely not.

While staying within the ideal pH range is best, getting outside that range isn’t going to completely eliminate biological activity within your soil.

In some environments, such as extremely high or low pH levels, microorganisms may start to go dormant, but they are still readily available within the plant, waiting for conditions to become active again.

So, if the microorganisms are still there when pH isn’t ideal, why does pH matter?

The importance of pH

1. Better pH = better absorption.

Plants only recognize water at a certain pH that matches rain water. That’s where the “ideal pH range” for product application comes in. Within this pH range:

  1. There is less bicarbonate tie-up because the pH is lower

  2. The water/product formulation is more recognizable to the plant

When the plant recognizes the formulation as water, it’s going to absorb as much of it as possible. But, just like putting your dog’s medicine in peanut butter, the plant is getting more than just the moisture. It’s also getting the nutrients carried within the product formulation.

2. Better pH = better consistency.

While you don’t have to worry about water quality falling perfectly within the ideal range for BW Fusion products to work, you may start to see some variables in consistency as you get farther away from that ideal pH range—whether higher or lower.

In fields with application pH of 2 and fields with pH of 9, we’ve still seen the visual responses we expect from BW Fusion biological crop nutrition products. The product efficacy is still there, you just may not see as consistent of results.

You can find the ideal pH for each BW Fusion product within its application and mixing information.

Optimizing water quality

Ready to find out how your pH measures up? Test the final solution of your product formulation using a jar or bucket test. For this, BW Fusion agronomist Buck Breazeale likes to use a bucket to make 1/10 of the product blend so the portions are large enough to use standard measuring cups.

Mix the product as you intend to spray it, then check the pH. If the pH is too high, it’s back to square one—dump the blend and start over, this time, adding in some pH neutralizer. Repeat this process until you have reached the pH you’re looking for. Then, take that ratio and apply it to your tank mix.

Water quality is important to keep in mind, but for most growers, it isn’t a make or break factor for product performance. If you have any questions about optimizing your water quality for maximum product consistency, reach out to our agronomists.

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