Garden Pests Series: N…

Thoughts and musings

Garden Pests Series: N…

Lewis | April 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

…is for Nutrient deficiency.

The next in the popular blog series by Oakleigh Manor! In this post, ‘N’ stands for nutrient deficiency. It isn’t so much a ‘pest’, which itself evokes mental images of small insect-like creatures. More of a sad reality. This is mainly because, unlike some of the previously-featured pests in this series, nutrient doesn’t just affect a select number of plants like the lily beetle does. Any and every plant can fall foul of nutrient deficiency and it is up to you as a responsible gardener to be vigilant of the potential of the subject. Not only this, nutrient deficiency commonly occurs during the Spring and Summer, so right now is prime time!

The irony of nutrient deficiency is that you can give your plants all of the ingredients to thrive, such as preparation of soil, watering and mulching, but it may come to no avail. One of the primary causes of plants falling foul is due to poor soil conditions. This may be due to a soil that is naturally more acidic or alkaline; plants usually prefer a soil close to the neutral pH 7. This results in plants being less able to take up nutrients that are contained in this soil. Dryness and water-logging will also result in a similar outcome.

Indications of nutrient deficiency in general include stunted growth, poor flowering, deformity, discolouration and even the death of a plant. However, a visual indication of deficiency of a certain nutrient is rare, as most deficiencies are multiple in number. For example, for plants that are green in colour, a common symptom of nitrogen, magnesium and potassium deficiency is the discolouration to reddish or yellowish leaves. Therefore, what we are trying to say is that you should be vigilant of this silent, potential ruiner of gardens all over the UK.

Despite the fact that there are usually multiple nutrients behind a plant suffering from nutrient deficiency, when it is only one nutrient, it is usually nitrogen that the plant is devoid of. This particular element promotes green leaves and healthy growth. A difficulty is that despite the importance of nitrogen, it is easily washed away in rain, for example. Therefore, mulching in organic matter is recommended to provide constant amounts of nitrogen over time. However, for short term fixes, you can apply fertilisers heavy in nitrogen content. Poultry manure is a popular choice.

Please remember, though, nitrogen deficiency isn’t the only nutrient a plant can have low intake of; boron, phosphorus, manganese and iron are other examples, including the aforementioned magnesium and potassium. Fear thee not, though! There may be a number of nutrients that you’ll have to take in your gardening “careers”, but there are also treatments for each and every one of them. These can all be found comprehensively on a designated webpage on the Royal Horticultural Society’s website. There is also a weblink to soil pH and testing of the soil, which we recommend you also give a read. This may be the best way to help your plants recover from any nutrient deficiency that may befall them.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to have a look around the rest of the website, as well as the hundreds of blog posts we have composed prior to this one.