Plant Nutrient deficiencies

Plant Nutrient deficiencies

Typical Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms Seen On Plant Foliage

Boron

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Leaf distortion and leaf texture changes
Death of growing points
Cracking and rotting
Poor fertilization and fruit set

MADE WORSE BY

High pH soils
Sandy soils
High levels of nitrogen or calcium
Cold wet weather and periods of drought

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Meristem growth
Carbohydrate metabolism
Synthesis of nucleic acids
Pollen germination
CALCIUM

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Bitter pit in fruit
Loss of fruit firmness
Corky fruits
Senescent breakdown of fruit
Low storage potential of fruit
Blossom end rot of tomatoes
Cavity spot in carrots

MADE WORSE BY

High nitrogen application (leading to vigorous shoot production)
Hot dry seasons
High levels of potassium
Large sized fruits

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Cell division and elongation
Proper working and permeability of cell membranes
COPPER

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Spiraling of leaves, especially the flag leaf of cereals
Chlorosis of lead tips
Stunted plants
Poorly filled ears (cereals)

MADE WORSE BY

Organic, chalky or sandy soils
Reclaimed health land
High nitrogen application

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Involved in may enzyme processes
Necessary for proper photosynthesis
Involved in the manufacture of lignin (cell walls)
Involved in grain production
IRON

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Yellowing (Chlorosis) of youngest leaves

MADE WORSE BY

High pH soils
Calcareous soils
High levels of copper
Poorly drained crops

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Necessary for the formation of chlorophyll
Necessary for photosynthesis
Necessary for the formation of proteins
POTASSIUM

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Mottled Chlorosis, necrosis (especially at tips and margins between veins)
Older leaves most affected
In cereals, weak stalks, roots more susceptible to disease

MADE WORSE BY

High rainfall – leaching of soils
Soils with high illite-type clay minerals

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Enzyme activator and coenzyme functions
Protein synthesis
Stomata function, turgor potential
MAGNESIUM

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Inter-veinal Chlorosis
Symptoms appear first on older leaves
Reduced crop growth

MADE WORSE BY

Sandy or acidic soils
Soils rich in potassium or soils receiving high K applications
Cold wet periods

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Part of the chlorophyll molecule
Involved in phosphate and nitrogen metabolism
Involved in protein synthesis
Involved in water uptake by the plant
MANGANESE

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Inter-veinal Chlorosis (marbling) of younger leaves
Pale stiping and brown spots on cereals
Floppy plants (cereals)
Upright growth habit and triangular leaves on sugar beet

MADE WORSE BY

Organic or sandy soils
High pH
Cold wet periods
“Fluffy” soils

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Activator of many enzyme processes
Involved in nitrate reduction
Necessary for photosynthesis
Protein synthesis
Molybdenum

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Reduced plant growth (symptoms of N deficiency)
Reduced leaf area (whiptail in cauliflowers)

MADE WORSE BY

Low pH soils (acid conditions)
Low levels of organic matter

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Necessary for nitrogen metabolism
Necessary for chlorophyll
Involved in iron and phosphate metabolism
Nitrogen

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Lack of growth or stunted growth
General yellowing of foliage, older leaves first
Loss of leaves under severe deficiency
Purplish colouration due to accumulation of anthocyanin pigments

MADE WORSE BY

Low organic matter
High carbon (straw) residues added to soils

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Amino acid synthesis
Protein, coenzymes, nucleic acid formation
Chlorophyll and ATP synthesis
Phosphorus

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Reduced growth
Production of dark green foliage
Reduced tillering in cereals
Reddening or yellowing of leaf margins and necrosis of older leaves
Reduced fruit quality and storage potential

MADE WORSE BY

Low organic matter
Acidic soils or very alkaline soils
Cold wet conditions
High calcium levels

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Energy transfer
Formation of nucleic acids
Protein synthesis
Cell membrane component
SULPHUR

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

General yellowing of young leaves
Usually no necrosis of leaves
Reduced or stunted growth

MADE WORSE BY

Low organic matter soils
High rainfall, cold wet soils
Poor soil aeration

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Constituent of proteins, amino acids (thiamine), coenzymes A and vitamins (biotin)
Necessary for synthesis of oils in plants
ZINC

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

Stunted plants
Pale stripes to the leaf mid rib (maize)
Formation of rosettes (fruit trees)
Formation of small leaves
Chlorosis of young leaves

MADE WORSE BY

Organic soils
High pH soils
Soils rich in phosphorus application
Cold wet conditions

ROLE IN PLANT NUTRITION

Necessary for the correct functioning of many enzyme systems
Necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids
Necessary for auxcin (plant hormone) metabolism