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5 Essential Micronutrients For Plant Growth

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Not all fertilizers are created equal, and low-priced fertilizers usually contain no micronutrients. Quality fertilizers are more expensive, but contain more micronutrients essential to proper plant growth.

Why Are Micronutrients Important?

Micronutrients each aid in plant growth in their own ways. Deficiencies in these minerals can cause non-viable seeds, deformed fruits, stunted growth and even death. All micronutrients are important, but some are so vital that they are considered by experts to actually be essential nutrients.


Boron helps form and strengthen plant cell walls and transport sugars from the roots to other parts of the plant. Lack of boron leads to slow or stunted growth. Since boron is not moved easily within the plant, it must be constantly available. It plays a large role in reproduction, so needs to be in plentiful supply before flowering. Boron also affects some plants' use of phosphorous and potassium.


Magnesium is essential to carbohydrate metabolism and photosynthesis. Without magnesium to form the chlorophyll molecule, photosynthesis cannot happen. If you have ever had a plant whose leaves were yellow while the veins remained green, it is likely caused by a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is easily cured by using magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salts.


Iron is essential for the production of chlorophyll and also for some enzymatic functions. Iron is only taken up by the part of the root directly behind the root tip, and the plant has to expend energy to transport the iron. Iron deficiency usually presents itself as a general yellowing, or chlorisis, of plant leaves, with new leaves usually being the most affected.


Manganese is important in several areas of plant growth, including photosynthesis, nitrogen assimilation and respiration. Manganese is not available to plant roots at pH levels greater than 6.5, therefore it is important to have soil tests before planting manganese dependent plants, such as palms, in alkaline soil. Manganese deficiency shows itself as yellowing between the veins of leaves and in the younger leaves is often mistaken for iron or magnesium deficiency.


Zinc is essential to the ability of plants to form enzymes and hormones, therefore it is important in reproduction. Zinc deficiency can reduce a plant's ability to produce viable seeds. Zinc must be present in constant supply for proper plant growth. Crops such as hops, beans, potatoes, onions and corn require large amounts of zinc for proper growth.

There are other micronutrients important to plant growth, including chloride, copper, molybdenum and nickel. A trusted and knowledgeable fertilizer dealer can recommend the best complete fertilizer for your gardening needs. To learn more about fertilizers, speak with a company like T And N Inc.