Prevent Calcium Deficiency for Optimal Yields

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Prevent Calcium Deficiency for Optimal Yields

Calcium, an essential secondary nutrient for plant growth and development, plays a critical role in various physiological processes, ranging from cell wall formation to enzyme activation. While often overlooked compared to primary nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, calcium deficiency can have profound effects on crop health and yield. In this comprehensive discussion, we’ll delve into the mechanisms of calcium absorption, its effects on different crops, and effective strategies to alleviate deficiency symptoms.

Understanding Calcium Absorption and Soil Dynamics

Calcium uptake in plants primarily occurs through root absorption, where calcium ions (Ca2+) are transported from the soil solution into the plant roots. The availability of calcium in the soil is influenced by several factors, including soil pH, texture, organic matter content, and the presence of other cations. Soil pH significantly affects calcium solubility, with acidic soils often experiencing reduced calcium availability. Additionally, soil texture plays a crucial role, with clay soils generally holding more calcium than sandy soils. Organic matter content contributes to soil structure and calcium retention, enhancing its availability to plants. Understanding these soil dynamics is essential for optimizing calcium uptake by plants.

What promotes the occurrence of Calcium deficiency?

Calcium deficiencies are common in cases of:

  • Rapid plant growth in dry soils
  • Large fluctuations in water supply (such as very hot followed by heavy rain)
  • Acidic environment e.g. restricts calcium absorption due to competition with aluminum
  • High salinity which causes decreased water absorption
  • Excess of nitrogen NH4 potassium k magnesium Mg or sodium Na in the solution of soil
  • Low soil temperature and high relative humidity
  • As calcium is only absorbed by the tips of young roots, any factors creating an alteration in this root part harm calcium absorption.

Symptoms and Effects of Calcium Deficiency

The symptoms of calcium deficiency vary across different crops but often manifest in similar ways.

Calcium deficiency in tomatoes

In tomatoes, calcium deficiency can lead to conditions such as blossom end rot, where affected fruits develop dark, sunken lesions at their blossom ends, rendering them unmarketable. Water scarcity leading to a low supply of calcium to fruits can also cause necrotic apical lesions. To avoid Calcium deficiency in tomatoes, apply:

  • Calcinit at an average of 2kg per dunum – every week
  • Cabor sprayed at a rate of 200g per 200L of Water or Stopit Ca at a 300ml per 200L of water rate.

Calcium deficiency in apples

Apples may exhibit bitter pit, characterized by small, dark spots and spongy parts of the fruits, reducing their quality and marketability.

To correct the calcium deficiency of apple trees it is necessary to apply:

  • Calcinit on average of 300 g for each tree before flowering
  • Calbor sprayed after fruit set at a dose of 200 g per 200 l of water or Stopit at a dose of 300 g per 200 l of water.

Calcium deficiency in lettuce

Lettuce plants may display tip burn, where the edges of the leaves turn brown and die back, compromising overall yield and quality. Calcium strengthens the cell walls of plants and tip burn is precisely linked to the inability of plants to supply sufficient calcium to the leaves during periods of rapid growth. As Calcium moves from the roots to the leaves through evacuated water by transpiration, combatting its deficiency can be done by applying:

  • Calcinite at a dose of 2 kg by dunum
  • Spray Calbor at a dose of 200 g per 200 l of water or Stopit Ca at a dose of 300 ml per 200 l of water

It is essential to consider various factors influencing calcium availability and uptake in plants, such as soil conditions, crop species, and environmental factors. Regular soil testing and plant monitoring can help identify potential calcium deficiencies and guide appropriate corrective measures. By understanding the intricate dynamics of calcium in plants and soils and implementing targeted strategies, farmers can effectively manage calcium deficiency and maximize crop productivity and yield.

In conclusion, addressing calcium deficiency is crucial for sustaining healthy crop growth and ensuring optimal yield and quality. By incorporating soil management practices, fertilization strategies, and timely interventions, farmers can mitigate the risks associated with calcium deficiency and promote sustainable agriculture practices for future generations.

By Eng. Mounir Abi Fadel

Maryse Bou Zeid

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