Signs of Nutrient Deficiency

Now that new leaves and needles are out, you may be noticing something peculiar about them. It is common for trees and shrubs to experience nutrient deficiency, which is noticeable from the color or stunted size of the leaves or needles. Whether the tree or shrub is low on iron, manganese or any other type of micronutrient, more than likely you will be able to identify this by observing the leaves.

A micronutrient is required by plants in very small quantities, as opposed to macronutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium or sulfur which are required by plants in large quantities. Plant tissues are made up of mostly macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and the others, therefore they are required by the plants in larger quantities. Micronutrients are minerals in the soil that are also required for healthy, stable plants. Micronutrients such as iron, manganese, silicon, copper and zinc are commonly present in the soil where a landscape plant is experiencing signs of nutrient deficiency, it is simply that when a soil has a high pH (is more alkaline as opposed to acidic), these micronutrients are in a form that cannot be taken up by plant roots.

Testing the soil pH can help determine whether or not a specific soil type will be suitable to easily sustain a tree or shrub. If a landscape plant is already established and is showing signs of nutrient deficiency, there are several fertilization techniques (micronutrient and macro-nutrient) that Integrity Tree offers that can temporarily strengthen the health of your plants. Temporary, meaning that the treatment will most likely be needed again the following season, as the micronutrient is applied for the plant and does not change the overall soil pH.

A few common micronutrient deficiencies are iron chlorosis and manganese deficiency. The leaves will be yellowing and will be greener along the leaf veins. The leaves or needles could also be stunted, not being able to grow to their full potential because they do not have the proper nutrients. If you are thinking your landscape plants may be experiencing nutrient deficiencies, please call our office. We offer soil testing and can explain what fertilizer and fertilization technique would be best for your landscape.