Get ready, get set, get micronutrients

plant tissue analysis

When planting is just around the corner, it’s necessary to make sure you’re ready to give your plants the best start. Producers are already spending time and money on growing the perfect crop…but what about your fertilizer plan?

Start from the beginning to get the best yield. When you’re planting, it’s the perfect time to balance the right amount of micronutrients for your crops.

What are micronutrients?
Micronutrients are essential elements required by plants in small amounts. Boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybendum, and zinc are recognized nutrients required to complete the life cycle of plant growth.

Micronutrients play a crucial role in plant processes, and each has a specific function. The deficiency of any of these micronutrients can lead to poor growth and reduced yield. Since plants require micronutrients in small amounts, it can also be easy to miss a deficiency.

Get ready! Let’s look at what you can add at planting.

Boron regulates the transport of sugar through plant cell membranes, cell development, cell division, and protein synthesis. What does this mean to you? It means that even though it’s required in smaller amounts, it is still essential for early growth and reproduction.

To see if a plant is boron-deficient, look for these signs: stunted and deformed growth, thick roots with swollen root tips, new growth is brittle or leathery, or the leaves look rusty.

When your crop has the right amount of boron, it has stronger cell walls, which is particularly important for fruit growth. Boron is also needed for pollen grain germination and pollen tubes in plants.

Look for: microLink® Boron, Micro 500®, Micro 600®, Micro 1000®

Fun fact: Although it has not yet been proven that humans need boron to live, there is almost universal agreement in the scientific community that boron is nutritionally important to maintain optimal human health.

Copper is a catalyst for plant reactions, helps with forming chlorophyll, is needed for photosynthesis, and assists in seed formation. Copper also activates enzymes in plant respiration.

Without the proper amount of copper, plants can have poor growth, delayed flowering, and plant sterility. Copper deficiency can appear as wilting with leaf tips turning blue-green or mimic frost damage. Copper deficiency is more visible in cereal crops.
Copper is most available on soils with a pH of 6.5 or lower. Depending on the source, copper can be broadcast, banded in the soil, or applied as a foliar spray.

Look for: microLink Copper, Micro 500, Micro 600, Micro 1000, FASE1®

Fun fact: Copper is a natural antibacterial agent.

Iron has an important role in metabolic processes like DNA synthesis, energy transfer, respiration, and photosynthesis.

Iron deficient plants will have younger leaves that are pale or yellow with dark leaf veins, and severe deficiency will show white leaves. It’s also possible new shoots will die starting at the tip. Soil that is alkaline or has had too much lime added can cause an iron deficiency.

The right iron levels will ensure the plant will be able to give the right amount of energy transfer from leaves to growing points or fruits.

Look for: Micro 500, Micro 600, Micro 1000, microLink Iron, Pro-Germinator®, accessS®, FertiRain®, FASE1, Fase2, GrowRight

Fun fact: Iron is found in every cell of the human body.

Don’t leave manganese out of your fertilizer conversations. Manganese is an activator for enzymes involved in plant growth processes. It is needed for phosphorus and magnesium uptake, helps in the utilization of nitrogen, and aids in the production of chlorophyll for photosynthesis.

Even though it doesn’t get as much attention, a manganese deficiency will dramatically reduce growth, including affecting roots, shoots, and leaves.

Since it is needed to help produce chlorophyll, it directly affects the crop’s health and influences whether or not the plant reaches maturity. In fruit, it would indirectly affect the size, quality, and sugar content of the fruit.

Look for: microLink Manganese, Micro500, eNhance™, accesS, FertiRain, FASE1

Fun fact: Manganese burns a pale yellow-green color.

Molybdenum is a catalyst in nitrate reduction and in nitrogen transport and utilization in plants. It also can help with disease resistance.

Depending on the source, molybdenum fertilizers can be banded or broadcast on soil, mixed with other fertilizers, as a foliar application, or as a seed treatment.

A molybdenum deficient plant can show mottled, yellow leaves on the edges of older leaves, while the rest turn light green. In severe cases, the plant can show necrosis and leaf deformity.

Molybendum is different from other micronutrients, because its availability decreases in lower pH soils and increases with soil basicity. Deficiency is most likely on sandy or peat soil with a low pH.

Look for: microLink Moly, Micro 1000

Fun fact: Molybdenum has one of the highest melting points of all pure elements – 4,753 °F.

Zinc is necessary for chlorophyll and carbohydrate production, and it controls the production of the plant growth regulator indoleacetic acid. It also helps plant tissue.

When a plant is deficient in zinc, the newest leaves may be yellow while the veins are green. They leaves may get spots of necrosis or look smaller, and the new leaves can grow together in a rosette shape.

High yields are impossible without zinc due to its important role in growth, metabolism, and photosynthesis. Like other nutrients, a careful balance in the soil is important to zinc availability. High soil phosphorus, organic matter, and biological activity are just some of the considerations.

Look for:
Micro 500, Micro 600, Micro 1000, microLink Zinc, eNhance, accesS, fertiRain, FASE1

Fun fact: Zinc is mined in over 50 countries.

Soil testing
Other than looking at plants, what can you do to prepare? Perform a soil test. You’ll find out exactly what you need for a high-yielding crop, and you’ll have the opportunity to supply the right amount of micronutrients.

Here’s to a great season!