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Armidale District

Key to GENERAL deficiency Symptoms

Mobile Nutrients

  • A. Older or lower leaves affected
  • B. Effects mostly generalized; plants dark or light green.
  • C. Plants dark green, often developing purple or red color. PHOSPHORUS (P)
  • C*. Plants light green with leaves light green or yellow;
  • D. No necrotic spotting. NITROGEN (N)
  • D*. Necrotic spotting on leaves; pale leaves sometimes
    scorched, cupped or rolled. * MOLYBDENUM (Mo)
  • B*. Effects mostly localized; chlorosis with or without spotting.
  • E. Chlorosis with interveinal chlorosis at first, then at edges only;
    leaves sometimes red or with dead spots. MAGNESIUM (Mg)



  • E*. No interveinal chlorosis.
  • F*. Distinct chlorotic and nectrotic lesions (spotting) with
    abrupt boundary between dead and live tissue * CHLORIDE (Cl)
  • F. Chlorotic areas with a burning of leaf margins; spotting
    sometimes along leaf margins. POTASSIUM (K)
  • Immobile Nutrients

  • A*. Newer or younger leaves affected; symptoms localized.
  • G. Growing point (terminal bud) dies.
  • H. Young leaves of terminal bud become light green at bases;
    leaves become twisted and brittle and die back at growing point;
    chlorosis of young leaves. BORON (B)
  • H*. Young leaves of terminal bud typically hooked at first, finally
    turning brown and dying back. * CALCIUM (Ca)
  • G*. Growing point typically remains alive
  • I. Chlorosis- NO interveinal chlorosis. -


  • J. Young leaves light green; no chlorotic spotting or striping.SULFUR (S)
  • J*. Chlorosis of young leaves; tips appear withered and
    will eventually die.*COPPER (Cu)


  • I*. Chlorosis - Interveinal chlorosis present -



  • L. Young leaves with interveinal chlorosis only, no middle leaves with interveinal chlorosis.
  • K. Sharp distinction between veins and chlorotic areas.IRON (Fe)
  • K*. No sharp distinction between veins and chlorotic areas;
    yellow spotts and/or holes appearing; growth not stunted.MANGANESE (Mn)
  • L*. Middle leaves initially with interveinal chlorosis with young
    and/or old leaves becoming chlorotic in later stages of deficiency;
    stunted growth. * ZINC (Zn)

NOTE: Since nickel (Ni) was only recently added as an essential nutrient, specific Ni deficiency symptoms are not well defined. Common symptoms include chlorosis and interveinal chlorosis in younger leaves.

*If symptoms don't meet any of the key descriptions, either go back through the key another time or refer to text for more specific symptom descriptions.

Source:- based on "Montana State University - Extension 4449-9, May 2009
Module 9 Plant Nutrient Functions and Deficiency and Toxicity Symptoms"

Above: Banksia integrifolia - with iron and magnesium deficiencies.

Below: Leptospermum sp - with magnesium deficiencies.

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