How to correct
a nitrogen deficiency

Nitrogen is required for plant growth more than any other macro-nutrient. It is especially important during the vegetative growth stage. During the first half of the plant’s life, a plant takes up 80% of the nitrogen it needs for the entire life of the plant! Once taken up, nitrogen is quickly assimilated into amino acids and transported throughout the plant. The amino acids are then built into plant proteins, including the ever-important enzymes necessary for the chemistry of life. Some of the nitrogen is also incorporated into chlorophyll and DNA molecules, also necessary for plant life. Therefore, adequate nitrogen is essential to plant growth, and a nitrogen deficiency can severely limit yield.

nitrogen plant growth plants roots nutrients hydroponic

Nitrogen deficiency first shows up as yellowing of the bottom leaves. Nitrogen is a mobile element. In other words, if the plant isn’t supplied with enough nitrogen, the plant will break down the stored nitrogen from the lower leaves and transport it to the new growth where it is needed the most. The older leaves start to turn pale yellow and eventually turn completely yellow and fall off. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between a nitrogen deficiency and a magnesium deficiency since both are mobile elements and cause yellow leaves. But typically, nitrogen deficiency appears as a general yellowing of the lower to middle leaves, while magnesium deficiency shows up as a more distinctive interveinal yellowing. If you want to know for sure, perform a leaf analysis. Leaf tissue test kits are available that can test for nitrogen; indicating high, adequate or deficient levels.

Combat nitrogen deficiency within your plants with RAW Nitrogen. RAW Nitrogen contains 20% ammonium nitrogen (N) in a water soluble form. Containing no nitrates or urea which  it to be applied at all stages of growth and bloom. Plants take up two forms of nitrogen: nitrate N and ammonium N. Raw Nitrogen is ammonium nitrogen only.

soil nutrients plants growth roots leaves nitrogen raw soluble

Nitrogen deficiency is much more common in soil than in hydroponics. Hydroponic nutrients are usually very high in nitrates, often to luxury levels. So nitrogen deficiency in hydroponics is rare unless the EC is much too low or if carbohydrate additives are used. In soil, however, the opposite is true. Nitrogen deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in soil and outdoor gardening. Nitrates are very water soluble and leach out of the soil easily. Heavy rains or overwatering can quickly wash the nitrates away from the root zone, leading to a nitrogen deficiency. Microorganisms can also compete for nitrogen in the soil, especially if the carbon to nitrogen ratio is too high.
Nitrogen deficiency can be corrected by applying either organic or inorganic fertilisers, but nitrate or ammonium-based fertilisers work the most quickly. Any general-purpose “grow” formula will usually provide enough nitrogen to correct major deficiencies. But if you want greater precision and better results, nitrogen-specific fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate are the most effective. Just make sure not to overdo it! Spoon feeding extra nitrogen a little at a time is much better than trying to force-feed the plant all at once. Remember, you can always add a little more nitrogen if it becomes necessary, but careless over fertilising can harm the plant.
Foliar feeding is another good option for correcting a nitrogen deficiency. CAUTION: never use nitrate-based fertilisers as foliar sprays! Nitrates can produce carcinogenic compounds if sprayed on leaves. Instead, only use ammonium-based nitrogen fertilisers as foliar sprays. Ammonium-nitrogen is easily absorbed through leaf tissue, and it is much safer. If you prefer a more organic approach, amino acids are a good alternative. Studies show that some amino acids are absorbed by leaves just as quickly as ammonium-nitrogen and may provide additional benefits to the plant.

Copyright© 2013

Harley Smith


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Easy Grow Ltd | Hydroponic Wholesale
Easy Grow Ltd | Hydroponic Wholesale