Troubleshooting nutrient deficiencies

Nineteen elements are considered essential for plant growth

Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are primarily supplied by air and water. The plants roots absorb the remaining 16 elements from the surrounding soil.

These elements are divided into three groups based on their relative abundance in plants: Primary Nutrients (or Major Nutrients), Secondary Nutrients (or Minor Nutrients), and Trace Nutrients (or Micronutrients).

Although the Major Nutrients are needed in the greatest quantities, a deficiency of any one nutrient can hinder plant growth, or reduce it to unsatisfactory levels. ¹

Primary Nutrients Function Deficiency Symptoms *Solutions
Nitrogen Vigorous growth & dark green color Light green leaves; stunted growth Dried Blood, Garden Manure, Cottonseed Meal, Urea
Phosphorus Root development & flowering Smaller yields of seeds & fruit; purplish leaves, stems & branches; Rock Phosphate, Bone Meal, Single Super Phosphate, Triple Super Phosphate
Potassium Overall hardiness & disease resistance Reduced yields; Spotted or curled leaves; Weak root system Muriate of Potash, Greensand
Secondary Nutrients Function Deficiency Symptoms *Solutions
Calcium Plant vigor; Aids in uptake of nutrients Deformed terminal leaves; Poor root growth Garden Lime, Garden Gypsum
Magnesium Essential part of chlorophyll Yellowing of older leaves Garden Lime
Sulfur Dark green color; Seed production Yellow leaves; Stunted, spindly plants Garden Sulfur, Gypsum
Trace Nutrients Function Deficiency Symptoms
Boron Increases flowering & fruit development Terminal buds die; Less flowers & fruit develop Garden Manure, Bone Meal
Chlorine Helps control water loss & moisture stress Plants wilt; yellow leaves Garden Manure, Greensand
Cobalt Improves growth & transpiration Reduced growth and yellowing of foliage Greensand, Kelp, Cottonseed Meal
Copper Helps produce chlorophyll Yellow, wilted leaves; Lack of flowering Garden Manure, Greensand
Iron Promotes dark green leaves Yellow leaves Greensand, Garden Manure, Cottonseed Meal
Manganese Helps produce chlorophyll Intervenous chlorosis in younger leaves Garden Manure, Greensand
Molybdenum Essential in some enzyme systems Pale green, rolled or cupped leaves Greensand, Lime (makes it more available)
Nickel Enzyme Producton Yellow Leaves Greensand
Sodium Aids water regulation & photosynthesis Plants wilt Kelp, Garden Manure, Bone Meal, Greensand
Zinc Enzyme & growth hormone production Yellow leaves, Rosetted (clustered) leaves Garden Manure, Greensand, Cottonseed Meal

“Rain yes, fertilizer no”  From June 1 through Sept. 30, the  Sarasota County Fertilizer and Landscape management code 2007-062 bans the use of yard fertilizers. containing nitrogen or phosphorus. ¹