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Symptoms of nutrient imbalance of potato plants

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Potatoes grow best in soils of pH 5.0 to 7.0. Deficiencies or toxicities of major or minor elements may be caused by excessive solubility or fixation in the soil through interaction with soil colloids or chemicals.

Nitrogen (N) requirements increase rapidly with potatoes plants growth.
When N is translocated to upper leaves excessively from the lower leaves, they then become yellow.

Later, if the deficiency is not corrected by fertilization, the entire potato plant becomes yellow and fails to grow properly.

Severity of plant response depends on the level of N deficiency. N toxicity from ammonium or nitrites may follow degradation of nitrogencontaining fertilizers in certain soil conditions.

Potato-imbalancePhosphorus (P) deficiency follows P fixation in a wide range of soil types.

Symptoms include retardation in growth of terminals; small, spindly, somewhat rigid plants with crinkled or cup-shaped leaves; darker than normal colour; possibly a delay in maturity; and reduced yield.

Potatoes tubers may have internal rusty brown necrotic flecks similar to internal heat necrosis.
Because P is frequently fixed in the soil, fertilizer banding applications lateral to the seed piece are superior to broadcasting.
Potassium (K) deficiency is common in light, easily leached soils.

Early symptoms are dark or bluish green glossy foliage.
Later, older leaves of potatoes plants become bronzed and necrotic (superficially resembling early blight), and senesce early.
Necrotic, somewhat sunken corky lesions form on the tuber surface, particularly at the stolon attachment.
Potatoes tubers are predisposed to black spot, and when cooked tend to darken.

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