Inadequate nutrient levels can hinder plant health and productivity. Common deficiencies encompass key elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, affecting growth and overall vitality. Understanding these shortages is essential for effective plant care and cultivation.
Nitrogen (N) Deficiency:
Older leaves turn yellow starting from the tips and spreading towards the leaf base, while the veins remain green (chlorosis).
· Yellow leaves
· Reduced plant growth
· Smaller leave size
· Shorter internodes
· Reduced fruit set
· Insufficient protein content
Excess Application: Plants will be dark green in colour and new growth will be succulent; plants are subjected to drought stress, plants will easily lodge. Blossom abortion and lack of fruit set will occur.
Phosphorus (P) Deficiency:
Dark green or purple discoloration on the leaves, particularly on the undersides.
· Reduced growth and stunted appearance
· The purple coloration on the leaves
· Brown veined leaves and grey lust
Excess Application: Phosphorus excess will not have a direct effect on the plant but may show visual deficiencies of Zn, Fe, and Mn.
Potassium (K) Deficiency:
Yellowing and scorching of leaf margins or tips (necrosis).
· Mild chlorosis progressing into dry and leathery burns
· Veins become scorched or necrosis
· Leaves tend to curl and crinkle
Excess Application: Plants exhibit mg or ca deficiency due to cation imbalance
Magnesium (Mg) Deficiency:
Interveinal chlorosis, where yellowing occurs between the leaf veins while the veins remain green.
· Leaves may become brittle and curl downwards.
· Leaf chlorosis.
Excess Application: Too much application leads to ca or k deficiency.
Iron (Fe) Deficiency:
Young leaves show interveinal chlorosis, turning yellow while the veins remain green.
· Reduced growth and small leaves.
Excess Application: Bronzing of leaves with tiny brown spots.
Zinc (Zn) Deficiency:
Interveinal chlorosis, often accompanied by reduced leaf size and distortion.
· Delayed maturity and poor fruit development.
Excess Application: Sometimes Fe deficiency will occurs.
Manganese (Mn) Deficiency:
Interveinal chlorosis, similar to iron deficiency, but with smaller and thicker leaves.
· Leaves may develop brown or black necrotic spots.
Excess Application: Too much application results in ca or k deficiency.
Calcium (Ca) Deficiency:
Young leaves at the tips and margins show necrosis and wilting.
· Blossom end rot in fruits (commonly seen in tomatoes and peppers).
Excess Application: Too high application leads to mg and k deficiency.
Sulphur (S) Deficiency:
Young leaves turn pale yellow or light green.
· Reduced plant growth and delayed maturity.
Excess Application: premature senescence of leaves may occur.
Copper (Cu) Deficiency:
Young leaves become twisted or kinked.
· Shoots may die back, and plant growth is stunted.
Excess Application: Slow plant growth and improper root develop
Boron (B) Deficiency:
Young leaves become thick and brittle, with marginal necrosis and chlorosis.
· Abnormal flower and fruit development.
Excess Application: Leaf tips and margins will turn brown and die.
Molybdenum (Mo) Deficiency:
Symptoms are similar to N deficiency.
· Leaves exhibit interveinal chlorosis with a scorched appearance at the leaf margins. Leaf margins are rolled.
· Reduced growth and flower formation.
Excess Application: Not of common occurrence.
It's important to note that the symptoms of nutrient deficiencies can vary depending on the plant species, the severity of the deficiency, and other environmental factors. Proper nutrient management, including soil testing, balanced fertilization, and organic matter incorporation, can help prevent and correct nutrient deficiencies in plants.
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