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Should You Use Surfactants When Spraying Compost Tea?

The question I have for you has to do with spraying compost tea. Do you use a surfactant, or wetting agent, to help the tea stick to, and become absorbed by, the leaf surfaces. I am sure you are aware of their widespread use, and impressive results in other foliar spray applications.

Most such agents are detergents and would, of course, probably degrade the microbial life in the tea. So, I was wondering if there is an organic, or milder, alternative that can give us some of the benefits of good surfactation (lol) with minimal downside?

Sounds like a question for someone with a fancy $600 microscope.

Thanks for all you do.

You have helped me start a worm bin, fill my new raised beds with the perfect mix, and get started using compost teas.

Eric in Denver

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Apr 03, 2012
Foliar Compost Tea Applications
by: Dave

Hey Eric,

This is a really good question. So good that I called in some back up in the form of Peter from Compostwerks.

He provided me with this excellent article to post on our website. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Foliar Applications of Compost Tea

Also, when I was doing a little research of my own, I came across two other possible surfactants that you may want to try – egg yoke and soy lecithin (use Non-GMO of course). I haven’t tried either of these myself, but I’m going to after replying to this post. Also, I’ve heard of several growers that are having good results by applying milk as a foliar spray…neat, eh?

Lastly, I have to reiterate something Peter alluded to in his article – Compost tea is not a panacea for all plant problems. It’s a tool in your tool box. If your plants aren’t in vibrant health, always look to your soil first. There is NOTHING more powerful in achieving optimal plant health then learning how to balance your soil minerals (i.e. Calcium to Magnesium ratios, Potassium to Phosphorus ratios, etc.).

Great question.


Don’t forget to show Peter some love by clicking on the image below…


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Apr 03, 2012
Natural saurafe active agents
by: Anonymous

Compost tea is full of natural surface-active agents produced by the bacteria and fungus as they grow

Sep 05, 2014
by: Anonymous

use polysorbate 20. way better and effective than yucca or alow powder. also a better elmulsifier if you need one.

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