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Nitrogen deficiency

Nitrogen (N) deficiency in plants can occur when woody material such as sawdust is added to the soil. Soil organisms will utilise any nitrogen in order to break this down, thus making it temporarily unavailable to growing plants. ‘Nitrogen robbery’ is more likely on light soils and those low in organic matter content, although all soils are susceptible. Cold weather, especially early in the season, can also cause a temporary shortage.

All vegetables apart from nitrogen fixing legumes are prone to this disorder. Symptoms include poor plant growth, leaves are pale green or yellow in the case of brassicas. Lower leaves show symptoms first. Leaves in this state are said to be etiolated with reduced chlorophyll. Flowering and fruiting may be delayed.

Prevention and control of nitrogen deficiency can be achieved in the short term by using grass mowings as a mulch, or foliar feeding with manure, and in the longer term by building up levels of organic matter in the soil. Sowing green manure crops such as grazing rye to cover soil over the winter will help to prevent nitrogen leaching, while leguminous green manures such as winter tares will fix additional nitrogen from the atmosphere.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nitrogen_deficiency". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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