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Re: CULT: Boron & other micronutrients

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: CULT: Boron & other micronutrients
  • From: bstassen@comp.uark.edu (Robert E. Stassen)
  • Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 07:55:16 -0700 (MST)

I don't know if I'm adding anything to the discussion on micronutrients, but
"in a previous life," I used to be pretty darn good at diagnosing herbicide
damage, plant nutrient deficiencies, and plant diseases, etc.

1.)  Micronutrient deficiencies are exceedingly rare.   Further, trying to
show a "yield response" when applying them to row crops is nearly
impossible.   In the years I worked in the soils testing lab at the Univ. of
Minn., it was frequently repeated by researchers that they  had never been
able to show a response for adding micronutrients to the soil.  (That's not
to say it can't be shown, but just not in that state.)  Folks selling
micronutrients come and go, they are probably THE  most important factor
contributing to their use. 

2.)  Like others have posted,  it is difficult to separate a plant
deficiency on a micronutrient from issues relating to soil pH.  For example,
iron chlorosis in pin oaks in Lincoln Ne is a problem due to pH (high) and
soil treatments are ineffective.  (Injection is used)  Simply adding them to
the  soil may not make them available to the plant.  On the other hand, if
you were a commercial grower that had a regular fertilizer program for new
beds which included additions of micronutrients, and it served as "an
insurance policy," it would make sense to continue that program.  (Their
cost is minute with respect to the investments made in the "crop.")

3)  If a plant has a micronutrient deficiency, it is reflected in poor
growth, color or vigor, consistent with a theory that the "unavailability"
of the micronutrient is the "limiting factor."  ( My experience with leaf
spot is that healthy, vigorous growing plants are equally
susceptable--perhaps even more so.)

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