Understanding Nutrient Deficiency in Trees: A Brief Guide

Like all living organisms, your trees need food to thrive. However, different trees have different nutrient requirements. Trees growing in their natural habitat can easily fend for nutrients. 

Their roots grow freely and can extend as much as they want to find water and nutrients. These trees also grow at their own pace based on environmental conditions. Sadly, trees growing in your yard usually don’t have these privileges. 

So you must help them get all the nutrients they need for healthy growth. But how do you do that when you know little about nutrient deficiency in trees?

nutrient deficiency in trees

In this post, we take a deep look into common nutrient deficiencies and their symptoms, so you can know when you need to schedule tree fertilization in Memphis, TN

Nitrogen Deficiency

Your trees need nitrogen to produce amino acids and protein. This nutrient also plays an essential role in chlorophyll synthesis and regulating the tree’s growth. But how do you know your tree lacks sufficient nitrogen?

The older leaves usually turn from pale green to yellow. The margins and tips of the leaves may also appear burnt. 

Phosphorous Deficiency

Phosphorous helps with the transfer of energy within a tree. If your tree doesn’t get enough of this nutrient, it will often have a weak root system, which can be further exacerbated by issues like a damaged root. A healthy root system is crucial for the tree’s overall health and nutrient uptake.

You may also notice yellow leaves, particularly on the lower sections. If you don’t do anything about this problem, you’ll compromise flower and fruit production. 

Potassium Deficiency 

You can’t discuss nutrient deficiency in trees and shrubs without mentioning potassium. Your tree can’t perform various processes efficiently without this nutrient. 

These may include enzyme activity, cell growth, opening and closing of stomata, as well as protein synthesis. The tree may also be unable to make its food through photosynthesis. 

So, what are potassium deficiency symptoms? The older leaves usually exhibit evenly spaced necrotic spots. The younger leaves often look healthy and normal. The leaves may also appear burnt at the tip and margins. 

Calcium Deficiency 

Do you suspect your tree has stunted growth? If it has curled or distorted leaves, the tree may need more calcium. 

This nutrient aids in bud elongation and fruit development. It also helps with cell wall elasticity and the synthesis of pectin. Calcium deficiency may also inhibit root tips and shoots from growing properly. 

Magnesium Deficiency 

Your trees need magnesium for enzyme and chlorophyll synthesis. Its deficiency will cause older leaves to turn slightly yellow, whereas younger leaves remain normal. 

Sulfur Deficiency

Sulfur helps with the synthesis of proteins and plant hormones. Your tree will continue growing normally with sulfur deficiency, but the leaves will be lighter green than normal. 

You also need to learn about micronutrient deficiency in trees. All plant species also need micronutrients like iron, copper, manganese, and zinc to stay healthy and attractive.  

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Do you need professional help dealing with any nutrient deficiency in trees? Spruce Up Tree Care can handle all your tree care needs in Memphis, TN. Contact us at (901) 833-8242 for a free estimate and to learn about the best fertilizer for trees


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