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  • Essential ElementsSOIL 5813Soil-Plant Nutrient Cycling and Environmental QualityDepartment of Plant and Soil SciencesOklahoma State UniversityStillwater, OK 74078email: Tel: (405) 744-6414

  • Arnon's Criteria of EssentialityElement required to complete life cycleDeficiency can only be corrected by the ion in questionElement needs to be directly involved in the nutrition of the plant and not indirectly via the need of another organism.Any mineral element that functions in plant metabolism, whether or not its action is specific (Tisdale et al., 1985)C, H, O, N, P, and S (constituent of proteins)Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mn, Mo, Cu, B, Zn, Cl, Na, Co, V, Si (essential to one or more plants)'CHOPKNS CaFe MgB Mn Cl CuZn Mo'MobileNutrients A.Plant 1. deficiency symptoms appear in the lower older leavesB. SoilImmobile NutrientsA.Plant 1. deficiency symptoms appear in the upper younger leavesB. Soil

  • Deficiency SymptomElementMobilityMobilityForm taken upSoilPlant by Plants____________________________________________________________________________________Overall chlorosis seenN NitrogenYesYesNO3-,NO2-,NH4+First on lower leavesPurple leaf marginsP PhosphorusNoYesHPO4=,H2PO4-,H3PO4Chlorotic leaf marginsK PotassiumNoYesK+Uniform chlorosis, stunting S SulfurYesYes(no)SO4=,SO2*(younger leaves) N*S interactionStunting-no root elongationCa CalciumNoNoCa++Interveinal chlorosisFe IronNo (ls)NoFe+++,Fe++ (veins remain green)Interveinal chlorosisMg MagnesiumNo (ls)Yes/NoMg++Reduced terminal growthB Boron (NM)YesNoH3BO3 (chlorotic tips)Interveinal chlorosisMn ManganeseNoNoMn++, Mn+++Wilting, chlorosisCl ChlorineYesYesCl reduced root growthYoung leaves, yellow stuntedCu CopperNo (ls)NoCu++Interveinal chlorosisZn ZincNo (ls)NoZn++ in young leavesInterveinal chlorosis, stuntingMo MolybdenumYes/No(ls)NoMoO4=Dark green colorNa SodiumNo(ls)YesNa+C CarbonCO2H HydrogenH2OO OxygenH2O____________________________________________________________________________________* absorbed through plant leaves(NM) Non Metal(ls) Low SolubilityMo availability increases with soil pH, other micronutrients show the opposite of this.Immobile nutrients in plant; symptoms of deficiency show up in the younger leaves.Stage of growth when deficiency symptom is apparent = later stage

  • What are the Primary Nutrients needed by all crops*Range of total amount in soil. From Chemical Equilibria in Soils.W.L.Lindsay, 1979. Wiley & Sons.**Calculated for 2 ton crop yield (67 bushel wheat).

    NutrientNitrogen (N)Potassium (K)Phosphorus (P)

    Soil (lb/a)*400 8,000800 - 60,000400 10,000

    Crop (lb/a)**804012

  • Secondary Nutrients Neededby all Crops* Range of total in soil. From Chemical Equilibria in Soils. W.L.Lindsay, 1979. Wiley & Sons.**Calculated for 2 ton crop yield (67 bushel wheat).


    Soil (lb/a)*14,000 1,000,0001,200 - 12,00060 20,000

    Crop (lb/a)**1686

  • Micronutrients Needed by all Crops*Range of total in soils. From Chemical Equilibria in Soils. W.L.Lindsay, 1979. Wiley & Sons.**Calculated for 2 ton crop yield (67 bushel wheat).


    Soil (lb/a)*14,000 1,100,00040 6,0004 - 20020 - 6004 - 20040 1,8000.4 - 10

    Crop (lb/a)**

  • Review: Nutrients Needed by all Crops

    PrimaryNitrogen (N)Potassium (K)Phosphorus (P)

    SecondaryCalcium (Ca)Magnesium (Mg)Sulfur (S)

    MicroIron (Fe)Zinc (Zn)Manganese (Mn)Copper (Cu)Chlorine (Cl)Boron (B)Molybdenum (Mo)

  • Nutrients are grouped according to crop removal.Primary (N, P, K).Removed in largest amount by crop.Most commonly deficient.Secondary.Removed in moderate amount by crop.Micro.Removed in minute amount by crop.

  • Nutrients not found deficient in Oklahoma crops.Calcium.Liming prevents Ca deficiency.Manganese.Copper.Molybdenum.

  • Nutrients seldom found deficient in Oklahoma crops.Magnesium.Sulfur.Iron.Zinc.Boron.Chlorine.

  • Magnesium and Sulfur deficiencies.Occur on deep, sandy, low organic matter soils in high rainfall regions with high yielding forage production.Storage capacity for Mg and S is low.Large annual removal of nutrients.

  • Magnesium Deficiency in Alfalfa.

  • Sulfur Deficiency in Corn.Overall light green color, worse on new leaves during rapid growth.

  • Sulfur Deficiency in Wheat.Overall light green color, worse on new leaves during rapid growth.

  • Magnesium and Sulfur additions.Lime, especially dolomitic, adds Mg.Rainfall adds 6 lb/acre/yr of S.Like 120 lb of N (crop needs 1 lb S for every 20 lb N).

  • Iron deficiencies.Limited to high pH soils and sensitive crops.West-central and western Oklahoma.Grain sorghum, sorghum sudan, and wheat (also pin oak, blueberries and azaleas).Crop symptoms are chlorosis between veins of newest leaves.

  • Iron Deficiency in Corn.Note yellowing (chlorosis) between veins.

  • Iron Deficiency in PeanutsNote yellowing (chlorosis) between veins of newest leaves.

  • Correcting and Minimizing Iron Deficiency in Crops.Select tolerant varieties and crops.Incorporate several tons of rotted organic matter per acre of affected soil.Use a foliar spray of 1 % Fe as iron sulfate.Usually will require repeat spraying and will not be economical.

  • Zinc deficiencies.Usually found in high pH, low organic matter soils, and sensitive crops.Pecans, corn, soybeans and cotton.Crop symptoms are shortened internodes and bronze coloring.

  • Zinc Deficiency in Cotton (Mississippi)

  • Zinc Deficiency in Corn (Kansas).Note short internodes (stunted plants).

  • Correcting Zinc Deficiency in Crops.Broadcast and incorporate 6 to 10 lb of Zn as zinc sulfate preplant.This rate should eliminate the deficiency for 3 to 4 years as compared to 1 to 2 lb applied annually.Foliar apply low rate to pecans annually.

  • Boron Deficiencies.Occasionally found in peanuts grown in sandy, low organic matter soils.Responsible for hollow heart.

  • Correcting Boron Deficiency in Crops.Apply to 1 lb B according to soil test.May be applied as addition to N-P-K blend or foliar spray in-season.Excessive rates may kill crop.Applications may be needed each year.

  • Chlorine Deficiency.Occasionally found in wheat grown in sandy, low organic matter soils.

  • Chlorine Deficiencies.Symptoms are yellow blotches on mature leaves.

  • Chlorine Deficiencies.Limited to areas where potassium (K) fertilizer is not used.K fertilizer is usually potassium chloride.Soil test Cl is < 20 lb/acre in top 2 feet.

  • Nutrients often Deficient in Oklahoma crops.Nitrogen (N).Legumes like soybeans and alfalfa get their N from microorganisms (rhizobium) that fix N from the atmosphere.Phosphorus (P).Potassium (K).

  • Nitrogen Deficiency.Shows up as chlorosis (yellowing) at the tip of the oldest leaf.Progresses toward the base of the leaf along the midrib (corn).Chlorosis continues to the next oldest leaf, after the oldest leaf becomes almost completely chlorotic, if deficiency continues.

  • Nitrogen Deficiency in Corn.chlorosis (yellowing) at the tip of the oldest leaf.

  • Nitrogen Deficiency in Corn.Chlorosis continues to the next oldest leaf

  • Potassium Deficiency.Common in crops grown in weathered soils developed under high rainfall.Symptoms are chlorosis at the tip of the oldest leaf (like N), that progresses toward the base along the leaf margins.

  • Potassium Deficiency.Common in crops grown in weathered soils developed under high rainfall.K Usually adequateK Usually deficient

  • Potassium Deficiency.Chlorosis at the tip of the oldest leaf progressing toward the base along the leaf margins (corn, alfalfa).

  • Phosphorus Deficiency.Deficiency in Oklahoma cultivated soils is related to historical use of P-fertilizers.P builds up in soils when high-P, low-N fertilizers are the only input.10-20-10 and 18-46-0.Deficiency symptoms are purple coloring and some yellow on lower (oldest) leaves.

  • Phosphorus Deficiency.purple coloring and sometimes yellow on lower (oldest) leaves.


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