Plants need a wide range of nutrients to grow well and be healthy. We hear a lot about N-P-K – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and how important they are for plant and soil health.
But with so many nutrient deficiency issues leading to plants being unable to thrive it’s important to know the signs of deficiency and what they mean.
Today, we’ll be talking about the macro nutrient magnesium and its role in your plants’ overall health. Let’s get started!
Understanding Magnesium in Plants
Magnesium is a plant nutrient that plays various roles in plants. It is vital for plant growth and development. It serves as a building block for chlorophyll which is essential for photosynthesis. Plants use magnesium in order to absorb sunlight when producing food.
This mineral also carries phosphorus around a plant’s body and is essential for phosphate metabolism.
Plus, magnesium is also important for cell division and protein formation. It activates several enzyme systems while also performing a crucial role in plant respiration.
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Signs of Magnesium Deficiency In Plants
Like most nutrients, plants source magnesium from the soil they’re grown in. However, different soil types also have different levels of magnesium availability.
This is affected by the source rock material of the soil, the degree of weathering in an area, the local climate, cropping intensity, rotation, and fertilization practices done in a garden.
Magnesium deficiency can manifest in plants in a variety of ways. This includes:
- If the leaves of your plants look yellow but the veins remain green, you might want to test the soil for magnesium deficiency.
- New plant growth will be yellow with dark spots.
- Purple, red, or brown spots may also appear especially in older leaves.
- When left unchecked, magnesium deficiency can also lead to plant death.
How to Solve Magnesium Deficiency
Tropical and sandy soils have lower amounts of magnesium while marshland, peat, saline, and soil with a high clay content tend to have higher amounts of magnesium in them.
If you’re observing signs of magnesium deficiency in your plants, don’t worry because you can always augment this by adding soil conditioners. This includes:
- Magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt
- Sulfate of potash magnesia
- Organic compost
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Remember, however, that you need to conduct a proper soil analysis before trying to correct a magnesium deficiency in your garden.
A soil test will allow you to know what exact nutrients your soil lacks as well as its current pH level so you can be sure exactly what amendment will work best in your situation.
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