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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Plant Nutrition

Nutrient elements obtained from the soil are essential for growth and the production of fruit crops.   These are classified as macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients Micronutrients
Nitrogen (N)
Phosphorus (P)
Potassium (K)
Calcium (Ca)
Magnesium (Mg)
Iron (Fe)
Manganese (Mn)
Zinc (Zn)
Copper (Cu)
Boron (B)
Molybdenum (Mo)
Chlorine (Cl)

A nutrient’s distinctive deficiency symptoms are related to its function, characteristics and mobility within the plant. 

If symptoms are recognized, steps can be taken to correct deficiencies before they become more serious.  Deficiency symptoms must be used with caution, however, to determine fertilizer needs.  Symptoms can occur late in the season after plant growth or the crop has already been affected.  The cause of the deficiency is not indicated by the symptoms.  It may be a lack of the nutrient in the soil, excessive levels of other nutrients, high or low soil pH, a lack or moisture or restricted root development causing the symptoms.  One should use soil or tissue analysis to confirm what is indicated by deficiency symptoms.  Excessive levels also cause problems in fruit production and growers should be aware of symptoms of excess.

Deficiencies of the other essential nutrient elements: calcium, phosphorus, sulphur, copper, molybdenum and chloride have not caused problems in tender fruit.  Soils are normally supplied with sufficient quantities these nutrients.

Choose from the list of nutrients below to learn more: