Sick Plant Guide
I have created a list of nutrients and nutrient deficiencies. I included pictures so that you can compare your plants to try to determine what kind of deficiencies your plant is exhibiting. These are all major contributing compounds in plant growth. Hope this helps all of the sick plants out there!
Nitrate - Ammonium is found in both inorganic and organic forms in the plant, and combines with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sometimes sulfur to form amino acids, amino enzymes, nucleic acids, chlorophyll, alkaloids, and purine bases. Nitrogen rates high as molecular weight proteins in plant tissue.
Plants need lots of N during vegging, but it's easy to overdo it. Added too much? Flush the soil with plain water. Soluble nitrogen (especially nitrate) is the form that's the most quickly available to the roots, while insoluble N (like urea) first needs to be broken down by microbes in the soil before the roots can absorb it. Avoid excessive ammonium nitrogen, which can interfere with other nutrients.
Too much N delays flowering. Plants should be allowed to become N-deficient late in flowering for best flavor.
Pale plants, red stems, smaller growth. Rapid yellowing of lower leaves progressing up the plant. Plants will exhibit lack of vigor, slow growth and will be weak and stunted. Quality and yield will be significantly reduced. Older leaves become yellow (chlorotic) from lack of chlorophyll. Deficient plants will exhibit uniform light green to yellow on older leaves, these leaves may die and drop. Leaf margins will not curled up noticeably. Chlorosis will eventually spread throughout the plant. Stems, petioles and lower leaf surfaces may turn purple.
Phosphorus is a component of certain enzymes and proteins, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), ribonucleic acids (RNA), deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) and phytin. ATP is involved in various energy transfer reactions, and RNA and DNA are components of genetic information.
Phosphorus (P) deficiency:
Fan leaves are dark green or red/purple, and may turn yellow. Leaves may curl under, go brown and die. Small-formed buds are another main symptom.
Phosphorus deficiencies exhibit slow growing, weak and stunted plants with dark green or purple pigmentation in older leaves and stems.
Some deficiency during flowering is normal, but too much shouldn't be tolerated. Red petioles and stems are a normal, genetic characteristic for many varieties, plus it can also be a co-symptom of N, K, and Mg-deficiencies, so red stems are not a foolproof sign of P-deficiency. Too much P can lead to iron deficiency.
Purpling: accumulation of anthocyanin pigments; causes an overall dark green color with a purple, red, or blue tint, and is the common sign of phosphate deficiency. Some plant species and varieties respond to phosphate deficiency by yellowing instead of purpling.
Potassium is involved in maintaining the water status of the plant and the
tugor pressure of it's cells and the opening and closing of the stomata. Potassium is required in the accumulation and translocation of carbohydrates. Lack of potassium will reduce yield and quality.
Older leaves are initially chlorotic but soon develop dark necrotic lesions
(dead tissue). First apparent on the tips and margins of the leaves. Stem and branches may become weak and easily broken, the plant may also stretch. The plant will become susceptible to disease and toxicity. In addition to appearing to look like iron deficiency, the tips of the leaves curl and the edges burn and die. Affected plants are usually tallest and appear to be most vigorous.
Too much sodium (Na) displaces K, causing a K deficiency. Sources of high salinity are: baking soda (sodium bicarbonate "pH-up"), too much manure, and the use of water-softening filters (which should not be used). If the problem is Na, flush the soil. K can get locked up from too much Ca or ammonium nitrogen, and possibly cold weather.
Magnesium is a component of the chlorophyll molecule and serves as a cofactor in most enzymes.
Lower leaves yellow and may even turn white while veins remain dark green. Blades die and curl upward, they look like they're praying (They're praying for mg). The tips may also twist. The older leaves will be the first to develop interveinal chlorosis. Starting at leaf margin or tip and progressing inward between the veins.
This can be quickly resolved by watering with 1 tablespoon Epsom salts/gallon of water. Until you can correct nutrient lockout, try foliar feeding. That way the plants get all the nitrogen and Mg they need. The plants can be foliar feed at ½ teaspoon/quart of Epsom salts (first powdered and dissolved in some hot water). When mixing up soil, use 2 teaspoon dolomite lime per gallon of soil.
If the starting water is above 200 ppm, that is pretty hard water, that will lock out mg with all of the calcium in the water. Either add a 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of epsom salts or lime (both will effectively reduce the lockout or invest into a reverse osmosis water filter.
Mg can get locked-up by too much Ca, Cl or ammonium nitrogen. Don't overdo Mg or you'll lock up other nutrients.
Zinc plays a roll in the same enzyme functions as manganese and magnesium. More than eighty enzymes contain tightly bound zinc essential for their function. Zinc participates in chlorophyll formation and helps prevent chlorophyll destruction. Carbonic anhydrate has been found to be specifically activated by zinc.
White areas form at leaf tips and between veins. Deficiencies appear as chlorosis in the inter-veinal areas of new leaves producing a banding appearance.This may be accompanied by reduction of leaf size and a shortening between internodes. Leaf margins are often distorted or wrinkled. Branch terminals of fruit will die back in severe cases.
Also gets locked out due to high pH. Zn, Fe, and Mn deficiencies often occur together, and are usually from a high pH. Don't overdo the micro-nutrients, lower the pH if that's the problem so the nutrients become available. Foliar feed if the plant looks real bad. Use chelated zinc. Zinc deficiency produces "little leaf" in many species, especially woody ones; the younger leaves are distinctly smaller than normal. Zinc deficiency may also produce "rosetting"; the stem fails to elongate behind the growing tip, so that the terminal leaves become tightly bunched. Zn deficiency can be treated by burying galvanized nails in the soil. Chemical fertilizer containing Zn can also be used.
Sulfate is involved in protein synthesis and is part of the amino acids, cystine and thiamine, which are the building blocks of proteins. It is active in the structure and metabolism in the plant. It is essential for respiration and the synthesis and breakdown of fatty acids.
Sulfur Deficiency: The initial symptoms are the yellowing of the entire leaf including veins usually starting with the younger leaves. Leaf tips may yellow and curl downward. Sulfur deficiencies are light green fruit or younger leaves with a lack of succulence. Elongated roots and woody stem. Although it's hard to see in the picture below, the upper stems of this plant are purple. Although many varieties of cannabis do get purplish stems, the trait generally extends the entire length of the plant's stem, and not just near the top as in this specimen. Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water until condition improves.
Calcium plays an important role in maintaining cell integrity and membrane permeability.
Lack of calcium in the soil results in the soil becoming too acid. This leads to Mg or Fe deficiency or very slow stunted growth. Young leaves are affected first and become small and distorted or chlorotic with irregular margins, spotting or necrotic areas. Bud development is inhibited, blossom end rot and internal decay may also occur and root may be under developed or die back. Deficiency will cause leaf tip die-back, leaf tip curl and marginal necrosis and chlorosis primarily in younger leaves. Young leaves develop chlorosis and distortion such as crinkling, dwarfing, developing a strap-like shape, shoots stop growing and thicken.
Treat by foliar feeding with one teaspoon of dolomatic lime per quart of water until condition improves.
Iron is an important component of plant enzyme systems for electron transport to carry electrons during photosynthesis and terminal respiration. It is a catalyst for chlorophyll production and is required for nitrate and sulfate reduction and assimilation.
Leaves on growing shoots turn pale and veins remain dark green, similar to that caused by magnesium deficiency but on the younger leaves.
PH imbalances make iron insoluble. Caused by factors that interfere with iron absorption of roots: over irrigation, excessive soluble salts, inadequate drainage, pests, high substrate pH, or nematodes. If deficient, lower the pH to about 6.5 (for rockwool, about 5.7), and check that you're not adding too much P, which can lock up Fe. Use iron that's chelated for maximum availability. Read your fertilizer's ingredients - chelated iron might read something like "iron EDTA". To much Fe without adding enough P can cause a P-deficiency. Foliar feed with chemical fertilizer containing Fe or rusty water.
Note : When adding iron to the solution, it is often necessary to not use fertilizer for that watering. Iron has a tendency of reacting with many of the components of fertilizer solutions, and will cause nutrient lockup to occur. Read the labels of both the iron supplement and the fertilizer you are using before you attempt to combine the two.
Manganese is involved in the oxidation reduction process in the photosynthetic electron transport system. Biochemical research shows that this element plays a structural role in the chloroplast membrane system, and also activates numerous enzymes.
Necrotic and yellow spots form on top leaves. Growth rate will slow and vigor will decline. Mn deficiency occurs when large amounts of Mg are present in the soil. High levels can cause uneven distribution of chlorophyll resulting in blotchy appearance. Restricted growth and failure to mature normally can also result.
-Mn gets locked out when the pH is too high, and when there's too much iron. Foliar feed with any chemical fertilizer containing Mn. Use chelated Mn.
Boron biochemical functions are yet uncertain, but evidence suggests it is involved in the synthesis of one of the bases for nucleic acid (RNA uracil) formation. It may also be involved in some cellular activities such as division, differentiation, maturation and respiration. It is associated with pollen germination.
Plants deficient in boron exhibit brittle abnormal growth at shoot tips and one of the earliest symptoms is failure of root tips to elongate normally. Growing shoots turn grey or die. Growing shoots appear burnt. Stem and root apical meristems often die. Root tips often become swollen and discolored. Internal tissues may rot and become host to fungal disease. Leaves show various symptoms which include drying, thickening, distorting, wilting, and chlorotic or necrotic spotting. Treat with one teaspoon of Boric acid (sold as eyewash) per gallon of water.
Molybdenum is a component of two major enzyme systems involved in the nitrate reeducates, this is the process of conversion of nitrate to ammonium.
Yellowing of middle leaves. First on older leaves, then progressing to the entire plant. Developing severely twisted younger leaves which eventually die. Molybdenum deficiencies frequently resemble nitrogen, with older leaves chlorotic with rolled margins and stunted growth. Foliar feed with chemical fertilizer containing MO.
Causes leaf tips to appear yellow or burnt. To correct soil should be flushed with three gallons of water per one gallon of soil.
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