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Experts in your area talk about the causes and symptoms of nutrient deficiencies in plants
Plant nutrients are certain mineral elements that are needed by the plants for their optimal growth. Plants derive these elements through the soil or can be supplemented through fertilizers. Macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are elements that plants need in large quantities at different stages of plant development.
When the plant’s access to nutrients becomes limited, nutrient deficiency can occur. Nutrient deficiency can disrupt the development of plants, resulting in stunted growth. A plant that lacks one or more nutrients exhibits multiple internal and external signs that indicate a nutrient deficiency.
In this article, let us explore the different causes and symptoms of nutrient deficiency in plants.
Causes of Nutrient Deficiency in Plants
Some of the common causes of nutrient deficiency in plants are as follows:
- Inadequate or damaged root structure leads to poor nutrient absorption, despite its presence in the soil.
- Excessively high concentrations of nutrients in the ground lead to disrupted absorption by plants.
- Highly alkalinity or salinity of the earth.
- Insufficient or poor drainage structure of the plants.
- Low or high pH of the soil.
- Low water content can impact the transportation of nutrients to different parts of the plant.
- Unavailability of the required nutrient at a specific phase of the plant’s developmental cycle. For E.g., plants need a high concentration of nitrogen during the active growth stage, whereas potassium and phosphorous are necessary for high concentrations during seed and fruit formation.
Nutrient management is the key to the timely identification, prevention, and curing of plant nutrient deficiencies. Let us now take a look at some typical signs of nutrient deficiencies in plants.
Telltale Signs of Nutrient Deficiency in Plants
Nutrient deficiency usually manifests as discolored or damaged foliage of the plant. The following telltale signs indicate the lack of different nutrients in plants.
- The green color of the plants is due to the presence of a pigment called chlorophyll. Nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll. When a plant lacks access to nitrogen, the leaves turn pale green and yellowish in color. Due to this visible sign, nitrogen deficiency is the easiest to identify.
If nitrogen deficiency prolongs, the plant starts to manifest the following signs of damage:
- Poor structure of secondary shoots
- The appearance of purple stripes in the stem
- Stunted growth
Phosphorous is an essential nutrient that contributes to protein synthesis for plants. It is needed in optimal quantities to manufacture buds, seeds, and flowers. Phosphorous deficiency usually manifests through the following signs:
- Appearance of bronze, purple or red hues in fully-developed foliage, typically in the lower areas.
- A more severe and prolonged phosphorous deficiency appears in the form of brown dots and necrosis.
- For crops such as wheat etc., phosphorous deficiency results in inadequate tillering.
Potassium helps plants in developing immunity against multiple diseases. This essential macronutrient performs the following functions for plants:
- Helps in sugar formation and protein synthesis
- Aids in cell multiplication and root formation
Following are some signs of potassium deficiency in plants:
- The leaf-margins turn yellow permanently
- Development of necrosis
- The midribs show signs of damage by becoming crinkled and shrinking in size.
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