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Bark splitting on trunk and branches caused by calcium deficiency

The split bark you see here is an extreme example of one calcium deficiency symptom in fruit and nut trees. When trees have adequate levels of calcium the bark can expand rapidly and does not split, maintaining a smooth appearance until they are decades old.

When the bark becomes so tight that it eventually splits from pressure, the flow of water and nutrients to the canopy and the fruit is also limited, which results in reduced quality and nutrient movement into the fruit.

The solution is to make sure that our soils have adequate calcium levels, and a proper balance with other cations. It is important to note that these are two different things. The threshold for disease resistant crop production is at least 1000 ppm calcium in the soil as measured by Mehlich 3 or ammonium acetate extraction. On sandy soils with low cation exchange capacity, soil reports can indicate that the calcium supply is balanced with other cations, and no more needs to be added, even when the soil only contains 400-500 ppm. In this type of scenario, more calcium definitely needs to be added to maintain crop health and performance.

2020-06-25T08:26:12-05:00July 6th, 2020|Tags: , , |

Visual indicators of calcium and boron deficiency in corn

When the soil biology does not provide enough calcium during rapid vegetative growth stages, cell division continues imperfectly, resulting in the common leaf ‘zippers’ on corn and other grass crops.

The location of the zipper can also indicate whether boron is inadequate. Adequate levels of boron produces the effect of moving nutrients and water through the plant and leaf quickly to the outer edges. When the zippering effect occurs at the edge of the leaf, it may indicate there is not enough boron present to move calcium to the leaf edge. When zippering occurs in the middle of the leaf, boron may be adequate, but calcium remains low.

When enough calcium is present to remove the zippering effect, plants get significant growth energy from the abundant calcium, and nitrogen requirements drop. This is one reason some farms grow high yielding, high test weight corn with only .35 – .5 lb of N per bushel measured in the system.

PS. We added a new feature on the blog, all posts are tagged, and you can browse the tag index here.

2020-06-24T07:12:27-05:00May 11th, 2020|Tags: , , , |
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