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How do you prevent a shortage of trace elements?

How do you prevent a shortage of trace elements?
Written by Jaap Lubbersen | Last update: 03-03-2020

In addition to the main elements provided by fertilizers, a crop needs several trace elements, also known as micronutrients. These are the smallest elements that must be present in a plant's nutrition for optimal growth. However, in many cases, trace elements cannot be absorbed properly by a plant and a deficiency occurs. Our specialists provide more information about this in this article and give tips to prevent a shortage of trace elements in your crop

Trace elements

Trace elements are important for a healthy growth of the crop. There are six different trace elements: molybdenum, copper, zinc, manganese, boron and iron. Among other things, these micronutrients play an important role in the metabolism of plants, but trace elements have even more functions. 

Obstructing factors

The following factors can play a major role if the donation of trace elements does not go according to plan: : 
  • High pH
  • The order of preparing the fertilizer tank
  • Antagonism of fertilizers
  • Effect of UV light on chelates

Effect of deficts

Every plant naturally needs the right amount of trace elements. However, it can sometimes happen that this is not the case. Such a situation can occur, for example, when the above factors apply.  

It is very important to prevent a shortage at all times, as this can have a major impact on the plant. For example, plant growth can be inhibited, but it can also impede various processes within the plant, such as photosynthesis. 

Improving the absorption of trace elements

As just mentioned, various factors can adversely affect or even completely prevent the absorption of trace elements by the plant. That is why it is important to take all of these factors into account. 

Too high a pH value in the root environment or in the fertilizer tank can cause trace elements to precipitate, for example, so that they are no longer easily absorbed by the plant. We talk about this when a pH value higher than 6.5 is measured. It will cause certain elements to oxidize; a form that can no longer be absorbed by the crop. 

In addition to the pH value, it is also very important to carry out the creation of the fertilizer tank properly. The sequence of application and separation of certain fertilizers is crucial here. Our specialist has written an article on how best to create manure troughs and what to pay attention to. 

The use of red iron at a high pH value can have an antagonistic effect on manganese, which means that the iron displaces the manganese and can no longer be absorbed properly. In this case, manganese deficiency can occur, but this can also occur with other micronutrients. 

Finally, the use of chelates is recommended for the absorption of trace elements. The chelated products do have to be stored out of the sun. The UV light has an effect on chelates and causes the organic compound of the chelate to break down. As a result, the quality of the chelated trace element will strongly deteriorate and the chance of precipitation will increase. This will result in the plant not being able to absorb the trace element and the risk of a deficiency presents itself. 

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More information about preventing a shortage of trace elements

Do you have questions about preventing a shortage of trace elements or about the use of trace elements in chelated form? Please contact fertilizer specialist Jaap Lubbersen by filling in the form below. We will contact you as soon as possible - on weekdays even within 24 hours.

Jaap Lubbersen About Jaap Lubbersen

Jaap Lubbersen is an internal crop care product specialist at Royal Brinkman and has had over 13 years of experience in glass horticulture. "As an internal product specialist, I deal with growers' issues on a daily basis. Every time again it is a challenge to seek the proper solution, in cooperation with the grower, whether it is about healthy and vibrant cultivation, legislation or safety."

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