Fertigation is a process in which fertilizer is dissolved and distributed along with water in your drip or spray irrigation system. There is abundant research available that supports the superiority of fertigation as compared to traditional fertilizing techniques.
Most fertigation systems for residential use require the use of liquid fertilizers since they are unable to solublize (dissolve) higher concentration, water-soluble fertilizers. Most companies that produce fertilizers for fertigation produce liquid fertilizers since that is the only option that their dispensing units can handle.
The drawback of liquids is that when they are manufactured, they must be pre-diluted with water to make them weaker and less concentrated. Producers do this because they must keep the fertilizers in suspension and can only do that when N-P-K are at low concentration levels. Therefore you rarely see a balanced fertilizer’s rating (N-P-K) in a liquid form above 20%. If you see any N-P-K concentration levels above 20%, it is most likely that this is primarily nitrogen in a urea-based form.
What does this all mean?
Well simply, you must use more of a liquid fertilizer to get the same fertilizing effect as when using a more concentrated, water-soluble fertilizer. This has the effect of driving up your final fertilizer cost. This could also cause you to refill your fertilizing system more often or to purchase additional system capacity to avoid refilling as often.
In fertigation, you apply fertilizers based on a proportioning equation which is driven by the unit’s inherent design. Some fertigation dispensers have proportioning ratios of 10:1 or 50:1. This is appropriate since they have already diluted their liquid fertilizers and therefore can inject or proportion at higher levels. Ultimately the goal is to find the right balance for a given landscape or application.
EZ-FLO technology has the ability to liquefy highly concentrated, water-soluble fertilizers and proportion them into the irrigation water stream in extremely low doses. It is a unique form of fertigation which we call “Micro-Dosing” with 10 US Patents to back up the technology.
Micro-Dosing simply means that an EZ-FLO fertigation unit can proportion fertilizers into the irrigation water stream at very small parts per million (PPM) ratios. Currently our main-line units proportion at rates between 400:1 on the Fast Setting all the way to 15,000:1 on the slow setting.
This is equivalent at full concentrate of 67 PPM at the “Slow” setting and 2,500 PPM at the “Fast” setting. When calculating PPM for a given fertilizer blend, you then need to multiply by the percentage concentration (evidenced by the NPK numbers) for that fertilizer.
For example, with our 25-15-10 blend, that means that we can proportion N down to 16 PPM. If you use our 10-20-30 blend, this means that the parts per million N is 7. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the US Government has set a standard for what is considered Clean Drinking Water in the US of 10 PPM for Nitrogen. There are no such standards set for P or K.
The higher the concentration levels of the fertilizer (N-P-K), the more variability you can have in the final mix when it comes out of the sprinkler head or drip emitter. That’s why we give you control over how fast the fertilizer can be dispensed.
You can also think of this in a more meaningful context. On the Slow setting, an EZ-FLO main-line unit proportions fertilizer out at one twentieth of a teaspoon per gallon of water. At the Fast setting, two teaspoons. Most people would agree that this is a very small amount. But this small amount works since it is applied every time with every drop of water.
Micro-Dosing has been proven to be agronomically superior for plants. If you are interested in a further discussion on this matter skip to the Fertilize Responsibly™ section of this web site for further information.