Nutrient Deficiency Guide

Nitrogen

Function

  • Primary building block for amino acids, protein, and protoplasm
  • Critical for flower differentiation, rapid shoot growth, bud vigor, and fruit set
  • Acts as a catalyst for other elements

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Foliage is yellowish green, foliage yellowing first
  • Stunted plants
  • Smaller fruit, lower yields

MADE WORSE BY

  • Extreme low or high pH
  • Fast growing crops

Phosphorus

Function

  • Important for energy transfer and storage
  • Formation of nucleic acids
  • Promotes root, flower, and seed development

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Severe stunting and leaf dieback
  • Leaves, stems, and veins dark green to purple
  • Delayed maturity
  • Poor seed development

MADE WORSE BY

  • Very acidic or calcareous conditions
  • Cold conditions
  • Poorly developed root systems
  • Low Phosphorus, high Iron

Potassium

Function

  • Necessary for the formation of sugars and starches
  • Essential for oil production
  • Enzyme activator
  • Improves cold weather tolerance

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Leaf distortion and curling
  • Marginal leaf scorch
  • Late season blotchy chlorosis
  • Poorly developed root system

MADE WORSE BY

  • Acidic conditions
  • High Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium

Function

  • Aids in cell wall structure
  • Necessary for early root growth
  • Regulates nutrient uptake and movement throughout the plant

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Poor root development
  • Premature shedding of blossoms and buds
  • Deformed terminal leaves and dead terminal buds

MADE WORSE BY

  • Acidic conditions
  • High Aluminum

Magnesium

Function

  • Enzyme activator
  • Chlorophyll synthesis
  • Aids in seed germination
  • Aids in the use of Phosphorus

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Interveinal chlorosis and necrosis especially on older leaf tips
  • Drooping leaves
  • Excessive premature fruit drops

MADE WORSE BY

  • Very acidic conditions
  • High Potassium or Calcium

Sulfur

Function

  • Component of amino acids and proteins
  • Aids in nodule formation of sugars and starches

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Leaves are light green / yellow
  • Plants are stunted
  • Delayed maturity

MADE WORSE BY

  • Acidic conditions
  • Poor aeration

Boron

Function

  • Pollen tube formation
  • Important for early growth
  • Necessary for cell division
  • Aids in Calcium translocation

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Death of terminal growth
  • Thick brittle leaves
  • Poor fruit set / malformed fruit

MADE WORSE BY

  • High Nitrogen or Calcium
  • High pH media
  • Alkaline conditions

Copper

Function

  • Critical for photosynthesis
  • Necessary for seed development
  • Component for several enzymes

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Marginal chlorosis
  • Shoot dieback, stunted growth
  • Necrotic areas on terminal buds

MADE WORSE BY

  • Organic conditions
  • High Nitrogen application
  • Water stressed plants

Iron

Function

  • Chlorophyll formation
  • Activator for respiration
  • Enzyme activation

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Interveinal chlorosis, young leaves first
  • Stunted growth

MADE WORSE BY

  • High pH
  • Waterlogged media
  • Calcareous conditions
  • High Copper, Manganese, Zinc

Manganese

Function

  • Necessary for the formation of sugars and starches
  • Aids in Nitrogen utilization and assimilation
  • Aids in chlorophyll synthesis

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Mottled chlorosis first on old leaves, moving to new growth
  • Crop stunting

MADE WORSE BY

  • High pH
  • Organic conditions
  • Prolonged cold periods

Molybdenum

Function

  • Nitrogen fixation and metabolism
  • Iron and Phosphorus metabolism

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Reduced nodulation on legumes
  • Poor growth, pale leaves

MADE WORSE BY

  • Low pH

Zinc

Function

  • Synthesis of protein
  • Needed for uniform maturity
  • Important for Calcium translocation

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS

  • Stunted growth, small malformed leaves
  • Interveinal chlorosis, striping in grasses
  • Twig dieback

MADE WORSE BY

  • Organic conditions
  • High pH
  • High Phosphorus fertilization