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The pros and cons of treating nutrient deficiencies in trees – Making informed decisions
Nutrient deficiencies commonly occur when plants do not receive a sufficient supply of essential nutrients necessary for their growth and development. Without these nutrients, plants will fail to grow, become susceptible to diseases, and show symptoms of nutrient deficiencies. Keep reading to explore signs that indicate your tree needs prompt nutrient supply.
Signs of Nitrogen Deficiency
- When trees lack nitrogen, a noticeable yellowing of leaves becomes apparent. This is known as chlorosis. Also, leaves may exhibit more vibrant fall colors and premature drop, and the tree might produce small fruit.
Addressing nitrogen deficiencies involves fertilization, either through surface broadcasting or, preferably, deep-root fertilization. This treatment ensures nitrogen reaches the tree’s roots, subsequently being absorbed. It’s advisable to periodically address nitrogen deficiency in the soil for sustained tree health.
Signs of Phosphorus (P) Deficiency
Phosphorus is the second key element in fertilizers, and plants absorb it primarily in phosphate. This nutrient plays a crucial role in various processes, including:
- Promotes photosynthesis
- Facilitates protein formation
- Supporting seed germination
- Stimulates blooming
- Expedites the budding phase
Furthermore, phosphorus leads to faster plant maturity. Plants experiencing a deficiency in phosphorus show distinctive signs, such as a purple or bronze discoloration on the undersides of older leaves. This coloration results from the accumulation of the pigment Anthocyanin. Affected plants exhibit slow growth and stunted development compared to their healthy counterparts.
Signs of Iron Deficiency
- When trees and shrubs lack iron, the yellowing of leaves occurs. However, this yellowing is inconsistent across the leaf or the entire tree. The veins remain dark in iron-deficient leaves, while the surrounding tissue transitions to light green or yellow. Some trees may display symptoms on a single branch while the rest of the tree appears unaffected.
Treatment options include surface applications, deep root injection, and foliar sprays. High soil pH can exacerbate iron deficiency, rendering it unavailable for plants. This is often observed in soil around new buildings contaminated by lime in mortar from block, brick, or stucco, raising the pH and limiting iron availability. In such cases, addressing soil pH is crucial to making nutrients accessible for optimal plant health.
Signs of Manganese Deficiency
- Trees experiencing a shortage of manganese display symptoms similar to iron deficiency, with yellow leaves featuring green veins. Additionally, these leaves may appear wilted, and the fruit may be smaller than usual.
Treatment options involve foliar sprays and soil applications. Like iron, manganese becomes less available in soils with high pH, necessitating attention when pH limits manganese availability.
Signs of Potassium (K) Deficiency
- Potassium is another major component in fertilizers and is needed by plants to support sugar formation for protein synthesis, cell division, and root development. Additionally, potassium makes plants more resistant to diseases and pests.
A deficiency of potassium appears in the form of leaf edge chlorosis on newly matured leaves. If the deficiency is not promptly addressed, necrosis spreads from the leaf edge to the midrib. The chlorosis associated with potassium deficiency is irreversible even if potassium is supplied to plants.
Addressing Nutrient Deficiency
- It’s essential to note that these symptoms can also be caused by factors such as pests, diseases, or environmental stress. So, it’s advisable to have a professional, such as an arborist, evaluate the tree and conduct a soil test to identify any nutrient deficiencies and develop a proper treatment plan.
To correct any nutrient deficiencies or other tree issues, contact American Tree Experts Inc. We are a professional tree pruning and nutrient management company. Our experts will develop a customized plant healthcare program and look after your trees as best as possible. Call us at (973) 774-6091 today for a free quote for all your tree-related needs.