How do you prevent a shortage of trace elements?

FertilizersAll crops need a variety of trace elements in addition to the basic elements that are administered through fertilizers. These elements are also known as micro-nutrients. They are the smallest elements of plant nutrition that allow the crop to flourish. There are eight different types of trace elements: molybdenum, nickel, copper, zinc, manganese, boron, iron and chlorine. Trace elements also play a vital role in the metabolism of plants. There are, however, various factors - among which the acidity level - that often prevent trace elements from being absorbed by a plant. This creates a nutrient deficiency. In this article, our experts provide more information and tips on how to prevent such deficiencies from occurring in your crops. 

High pH

With a pH value of 6.5 or more, the capacity of a crop to absorb trace elements declines substantially. A high pH value leads to specific elements being embedded in the substrate or to their oxidation into a form which the plant can no longer absorb. The use of red iron in combination with a high pH can have a detrimental effect on manganese, meaning that less manganese is absorbed by the plant due to the fact that the iron is repressed. This in turn leads to a shortage of trace elements.

Deficiency symptoms

A deficiency in trace elements due to high pH values in the root environment usually causes deficiency symptoms. Although not always visible, they can impair growth. The pH value in the root environment can increase during specific phases of growth. This is caused by the bicarbonate which the roots produce. You should therefore always inspect your crops for deficiency symptoms, especially during those phases.

Trace elements in the form of chelate against trace element deficiency

To ensure that the trace elements are not embedded or oxidised within the substrate, trace elements can be administered in the form of chelate. Chelates are organic compounds to which the trace elements attach themselves in soluble form, as a result of which they can be absorbed by the plant.  Chelate can therefore be administered to prevent a shortage of trace elements. They are easy to administer and dissolve in the A-container in which a pH value must be maintained between 3 and 5.5 (a higher or lower pH value will degrade the chelates).  

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Questions or advice

If you have questions about preventing a deficiency in trace elements or the use of trace elements in the form of chelates, please contact one of our fertilizer experts or use the form below to submit your question.

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