Identification method: Strip plots

Strip comparisons between fertilized and nonfertilized areas may be a simple way to confirm the presence of a deficiency. In these comparisons, the nutrient can be applied either to the soil or on the foliage to overcome the deficiency. Soil application is best for macronutrients, where either soil or foliar applications are appropriate for micronutrients. The exception to this is for iron deficiency on calcareous soils where soil application of iron may not correct the deficiency.

Soil types most likely to suffer various nutrient deficiencies and fertilizers that can correct the problems

Nutrient Soils where deficiency is most likely Fertilizers likely to correct deficiency
Nitrogen Wide range of soils
  • Ammonium nitrate
  • Urea
  • Diammonium phosphate
  • Ammonium sulfate
Phosphorus Wide range of soils
  • Superphosphate
  • Diammonium phosphate
  • Coarse textured soils
  • Low cation exchange capacity
  • High rainfall with large product removal
  • Potassium chloride
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Potassium sulfate
Sulfur Sandy soils where leaching occurs
  • Superphosphate
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Potassium sulfate
Magnesium Acid soils with low cation exchange capacities
  • Calcium magnesium carbonate
  • Magnesium sulfate
Calcium Acid or serpentine soils
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Soils with high organic matter
  • Soils derived from laterite
  • Soils derived from marine sediments
  • Copper sulfate
  • Copper oxide
  • Soils derived from laterite
  • Calcareous soils
  • Zinc sulfate
  • Zinc oxide
  • Calcareous high pH soils
  • Calcareous soils with pH>7 (1:5 soil/water)
  • Ferrous sulfate
  • Manganese oxide
Calcareous high pH soils
  • Ferrous ocide
  • Iron EDTA
  • Iron EDDHA
Boron Acid sandy soils derived from igneous materials
  • Sodium borate
  • Boric acid
Molybdenum Acid soils with high iron Molybdenum trioxide

In many instances, the foliar sprays must be neutralized to prevent foliar burn. For example, additions of calcium hydroxide or sodium carbonate are used to neutralize the acidity and to decrease the risk of foliar scorch at high concentrations of manganese sulfate. It is best to add nutrients singly becuase of possible effects of one nutrient upon the uptake of another. Where multiple deficiencies occur, correction of one deficiency would be expected to change symptom expression and successive diagnosis and elimination of nutrient deficiencies may be possible.