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Nutrient Deficiency


Nutrient deficiency symptoms

An important means of managing the nutrient requirements of plants is being able to recognise nutrient deficiencies and toxicity as early as possible to minimize their impact on plants.

Deficiency - symptoms

Consult the experts when in doubt. The following is for guidance only.

Water problems caused by:
bulletHigh conductivity, high salinity, low availability of water i.e. drought conditions will cause the edges of the leaves to burn and in severe cases leaves will drop from the plant. (The plant suffers from thirst.)
pH problems:
bulletAvailability of nutrients for plants is affected by pH. If the pH moves too far from the plants preferred range then there can be nutrient deficiencies.
bulletLower leaves are mottled. Yellowing and death of tips and edges of older leaves.
Nitrogen: deficient
bulletLower leaves mainly affected.
bulletWhen severe, effects appear over whole plant while lower leaves go dry
bulletThe plant is light in colour and weak and spindly.
bulletSmall leaves with the lower leaves light green.
bulletPlant light green, lower leaves yellow, drying to light brown colour, stalks short and slender if element is deficient in later growth stages.
bulletsome plants ( strawberries ) show a reddening of the older leaves.
Nitrogen: to much ammonia
bulletToo much N/NO3 - plants uncontrollably vigorous. Too much N/NH4 ammonia will cause damage to roots and collapse of plant
bulletLeaves are unusually dark and may become purple. Lower leaves may turn yellow between the veins. Plants are stunted
bulletTips of young leaves and growing points die. Blossom end rot of tomatoes.
bulletMargins of lower leaves curl. Young leaves' veins yellow. Leaves may redden.
bulletYounger leaves yellow between veins but yellowing spreads to whole leaf and the leaves die from the edges.
bulletUpper leaves become yellow between the veins and in severe cases dead spots form. The veins remain green. Chequered effect on young leaves.
bulletPlants become brittle and growing tips may die.

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Last modified: May 27, 2013