Growing Carrots crop nutrition advice

Everything you need to know about carrot fertilization, best practice, suitable products, field trials and more

Advice for growing Carrots (Daucus carota)

  • Optimum pH range lies between 5.5 – 7.0.

  • At soil pH <5.5, carrots are susceptible to phosphate, molybdenum, and calcium deficiencies.

  • At soil pH > 7.5, deficiencies of boron, copper, iron, manganese, phosphate, and zinc are likely to appear.

Carrots harvested in optimum condition
Growing carrots

Nutrient requirements

Estimated nutrient uptake (kg/t):

Early-medium-late
varieties (27 tons/acre)
N
lbs/ton
P2O5
lbs/ton
K2O
lbs/ton
Mg
lbs/ton
C
lbs/ton
Leaves1204234016100
Root160243021026
Total2806664226126
Late and very late varieties
(62 tons/acre)
N
lbs/ton
P2O5
lbs/ton
K2O
lbs/ton
M
lbs/ton
C
lbs/ton
Leaves801819420180
Root2201386002080
Total30015680040260

Recommendations for the different nutrients depends on soil fertility. 

Carrot is susceptible for high salt concentrations, especially at seedling stage. 

Fertilization methods

Nitrogen

Using a granular fertilizer, apply before seeding approx. 80 kg/ha of N minus N- mineral in the soil (0-60 cm). The rest could be split over the crop cycle either on weekly basis, via fertigation, or 2-3 applications of conventional granular N based products. 

However, in non-fertigated crops, using Controlled Release Fertilizers allows application of the entire amount of N, before seeding, thus avoiding multiple top-dressings. 

Phosphate

Could be applied entirely at the beginning of crop cycle, before seeding.

Potassium

Knowing that potassium leaches as easily as nitrate, the entire amount that crop needs should be split in 2-3 applications in non-fertigated crop systems or using only once, before seeding, a coated K based product.

In fertigated crops, supplying potassium on weekly basis is strongly recommended. 

Magnesium

Could be applied entirely at the beginning of the crop cycle, before seeding. Nevertheless foliar applications will further improve crop performance. 

Calcium

Could be applied entirely at the beginning of the crop cycle, before seeding. 

Q&A

Here are some frequently asked questions we received from farmers regarding growing carrots

  • Of course all nutrients are important, but potassium and calcium are very important to the (skin) quality of carrot.

  • Although potassium chloride improves carrot’s sugar level in heavy soils it can be applied 1-2 months before seeding. Afterwards it is recommended to use potassium sulfate-based products to limit potential for chloride toxicity to the developing carrots 

  • When the soil content of magnesium is low, always provide a base fertilizer containing magnesium. Even in soils with adequate soil test magnesium, foliar applications are strongly recommended for improving overall leaf health and translocation of sugars to the root. 

  • Phosphate is always recommended to be applied close to seeding time.

  • Commonly, three nitrogen applications are applied to carrot to avoid high salt concentrations and nitrogen losses. The best way however is to use CRF (controlled release fertilizer); CRFs can be applied only once before seeding to supply the entire amount of nitrogen needed, while also providing a safe, low-salt source of nitrogen. 

  • Application of nitrogen through fertigation should be once a week.

Need expert advice on your plant nutrition plan?

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