How Do I Distinguish Between Nutrient Deficiencies?
Oct 28, 2010
Question: You’ve said that it’s easy to confuse a potassium deficiency with a nitrogen deficiency. How do I make a distinction between the two?
Answer: Both nutrients are mobile and move from the oldest to the newest part of the plant, but they’ll look different on a corn leaf. Nitrogen deficiency starts at the tip of the leaf and comes down through the mid-rib, so there will be a V-pattern through the mid-rib. However, a potassium deficiency starts at the tip of the leaf and then goes down through the outside of the leaf. Don’t assume your problem is one or the other, because that can have negative consequences. For instance, if you apply more nitrogen when there’s a potassium deficiency, you can actually make the potassium deficiency worse. For more information on this topic, check out our Ask an Agronomist segment of Episode 2 of Corn College TV.
This blog is provided as an interactive way for you to have your questions answered by our Farm Journal Agronomists. E-mail your nitrogen, soil fertility, soil density, planter set-up, scouting, and other questions to: TestPlots@FarmJournal.com.