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How to tell mineral or nutrient deficiency in plants and soil

strawchicago z5
6 years ago
last modified: last month

The other thread "mineral deficiency" is too long, so I start a new thread to answer any questions on mineral/nutrient deficiency in plants.

Large excerpt from below site:

http://www.plantsdb.gr/en/general-cultivation/fertilizing/457-nutrient-deficiencies-and-toxicity

Whole plant is affected, starting from the older leaves.
- Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Molybdenum

Symptoms restricted to the older leaves:
- Potassium - Magnesium - Chloride

Symptoms restricted to the newer leaves:
- Calcium - Sulphur - Iron - Zinc - Boron - Manganese - Copper

Nitrogen Deficiency Caused by:
- High levels of Phosphorus or Potassium & Waterlogged soil & Yellowing of the leaves, that starts from its tip. Older leaves are affected first
- Thin young shoots & Stunted growth & Small sized leaves & Short internodes.

Too much nitrogen: caused by dry conditions & Stems are dark green. - Increased susceptibility to diseases & Decreased flower and fruit production.

Phosphorus Deficiency Caused by:

- Too high (>7.5) or too low (<5.5) soil pH and Low temperature.
- Insufficient aeration of the soil or Waterlogged soil.
- Low soil organic matter & High Zinc levels.

- Older leaves turn dark green with pink to red blotches, especially on their lower side. Newer leaves are affected later on.
- Similar discoloration of older stems & Root growth slows down& less blooms

Too much will induce: Nitrogen, Zinc, Iron or Manganese deficiency.

Potassium Deficiency Caused by:
- Low cation-exchange capacity (CEC) of the soil (eg. soil high in organic matter).
- High Magnesium or Calcium levels & Dry conditions.
- Low pH and increased salinity & Compacted soil. & Low temperature.

- Yellowing and necrosis of the lower leaves, starting from their tips or their margins & Decreased blooming & Thin young shoots.

Too much will causes Nitrogen or Magnesium deficiency.

Calcium Deficiency Caused by:
- Low soil pH & Low soil cation-exchange capability (CEC).
- High levels of Magnesium, Sodium or other cations.

- Young leaves are distorted, with curled margins and tip or with brown spots.
- Old leaves are dark green.& Terminal bud necrosis.
- Stunted root growth & Blossom-end rot.

Too much - Causes deficiency Magnesium, Potassium, zinc, iron & others.

Magnesium Deficiency Causes by:
- Low soil pH - High Manganese or Potassium levels.
- Low cation-exchange capability (CEC) of the soil. - Low temperature.

Yellowing of the old leaves that starts from their margins and spreads between their veins.

Sulphur Deficiency Causes by Soil low in organic matter.
- Easily washed away in sandy soils. - Low temperature. - Insufficient drainage.

- Light yellowing of the youngest and later on the oldest leaves & stunted plant.

Too much: causes pH leves to drop.

Iron Deficiency Causes by High soil pH and salinity.
- High Phosphorus, Manganese, Calcium, Molybdenum or Zinc levels.
- Soil low in organic matter & Insufficient drainage.

Leaves become yellow or near white between their veins. Stunted growth.

Too much Causes: - Zinc or Manganese deficiency & Very low pH.

Zinc Deficiency Causes by High pH or High Phosphorus or Copper levels.
Soil low in organic matter.

- Yellow spots or diffuse chlorosis between leaf veins.
- Small leaves with irregular shape & Necrosis and defoliation.
- Short internodes & Poor flower and seed production.

Manganese Deficiency Caused by:
- High pH & Soil high in organic matter.
- High levels of Iron, Chloride or heavy metals & Waterlogged soil.

- Leaves become yellow or near-white between their veins. Discoloration is more intense than Iron deficiency.
- Grey spots, especially near the base of the leaves.

Too much Caused by Low pH (<5.5).

- Older leaves become chlorotic or necrotic. & Affected root growth.

Copper Deficiency Caused by:
- High pH & high in organic matter.
- Waterlogged soil & Increased Zinc, Nitrogen and Phosphorus levels.

- Young shoots are distorted or wilting.
- Younger leaves become yellow between their veins. Later on their vein become yellow too. Poor or no blooming. & Stunted growth and weakened defense.

Boron Deficiency Caused by:
- High pH & Increased Nitrogen, Calcium and Potassium level & Soil low in organic matter & Dryness. & sand soil
Young leaves become irregularly shaped, thicker (especially around their tip) and dark green. - Extensive stem necrosis.
- Terminal bud necrosis. - Affected root growth.
- Decreased flower and seed production.
- Short internodes & Witches' broom.

Anna asked me this questions: Sheila's Perfume is covered with bud clusters. The foliage is looking great except few top leafes on one stem. Is it iron and phosphorus deficiency or a leaf scorch from the sun?

Answer: The yellow blotches on your TOP LEAVES is manganese deficiency .. I had that for over a month in Bohemina Rhapsody in a pot, that went away when I gave it ground clove spice (high in manganese). Manganese deficiency occur when too much iron is given via molasses.

The black patches on top-leaves look like blackspot fungus at first, but I don't think it's BS, since BS is at bottom leaves, rather than the top. It looks like an overdose of a particular nutrient, and the sun scorches it to black. Anna: what fertilizer have you been using, and at what dosage? Thanks.

Symptoms restricted to the newer leaves:
- Calcium - Sulphur - Iron - Zinc - Boron - Manganese - Copper




Comments (160)

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Brilliant! If I don't kill any of my new rootings accidentally, then I will have 2 of several.

    I did take 1 science class in college (no lab) and I had 1 good high school physics science class, but otherwise my science classes were worthless...so I'm not really sure what I should write down. I don't know why I am so nervous about this, maybe it is the writing things down. I have just never done anything like this.

    wikihow: Conduct-a-Science-Experiment and it is on corn fertilizers! I think I can use their directions and how to.....I doubt I'll be so detailed....they are doing it more like a report/science fair.

    Now I can tell my husband there is a reason I need 2 of X......He won't buy it, but I can have an excuse for my plant addiction!

    strawchicago z5 thanked ann beck 8a ruralish WA
  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year
    last modified: last year

    strawchicago z5...I tried an experiment! My rose bouquets always wilt in 2 days and I can't figure out why. I finally realized that it could be the grow light that they are near! I got 2 bouquets from a wedding and put one in the normal spot and one way away fro the grow light. The only problem is that they wilted at the same time....so I am back to something in my well water is the issue.

    I tried a little bit of bleach and that did not work. The water test 7 with the cabbage ph, but I know we have high clear iron. Any ideas why my roses don't last more than 2 days...even ones that should last a week or more, wilt in 2 days.

    strawchicago z5 thanked ann beck 8a ruralish WA
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    Hi Bluegirl: Thank you for joining me here in Organic Roses Forum, much appreciated. Yesterday I almost ripped my arm carrying buckets of concrete clay, thanks to my mixing peat moss (pH 4) last year with my pH 7.7 clay. Fine particles like peat moss and alfalfa meal glue-up with clay into concrete blocks. Pine fines also glued up, once decomposed. Wood chips takes longer to glue up, due to larger size. The place where I layered coarse sand with clay ... still nice and fluffy after a decade. Coarse sand is inorganic, doesn't decompose, thus stay separated from clay. University of California Extension chart below listed 1 ton of gypsum as equivalent to 5.38 ton of sulfur. It also listed 1.09 ton of Ferric Sulfate as equivalent to 5.85 ton of sulfur. I already killed 2 rhododendrons with iron sulfate ... that stuff burns root fast. See link below: http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/Soil/ChangingpHinSoil.pdf If your soil is acidic, hold off the gypsum. That stuff is great for alkaline soil and water .... but there are better sources of calcium for acidic soil, like bone meal and dolomitic, see link below &quot;Types of calcium for best bloom formation&quot;. Gypsum provides 22% calcium, 17% sulfur, with salt index of 8.1, used to de-salt sodic soil, also to neutralize bicarbonates (calcium hydroxide) in alkaline tap water. Gypsum is great in breaking up clay at the bottom of the hole. Sulfur is slow-acting, but gypsum is fast-acting ... 1 ton of gypsum is equivalent to 5.38 ton of sulfur. Gypsum is also cheap at $7 for 40 lbs. bag at the feed store, versus $6 for 1 lb. bag of sulfur. I made the mistake of dumping gypsum on top ... made the surface soil acidic, great for fungal germination. My Evelyn rose broke out in rust and black spots. Plus the scent went away, thanks to too much calcium. That's why folks put lime in bagged soil to deodorize. Too much gypsum also made Evelyn's blooms almost white. Since I already over-dosed on gypsum, I'll use sulfate of potash to neutralize my alkaline tap water. I like its effect better: shiny glossy leaves, deeper color, bigger blooms ... thanks to the potassium. Bluegirl, I am more impressed with the instant-green-up of soluble sulfate of potash (aka potassium sulfate) at 23% sulfur and 20% potassium. Sulfate of potash exists naturally, just like gypsum ... both are mined products. Below is bouquet with Evelyn rose (big pink) and Crimson Glory (red). Evelyn was fertilized with high potassium cocoa mulch NPK 3-1-4, high potassium horse manure, plus soluble gypsum &amp; sulfate of potash. Deep purple rose is in the middle, made small by my failed experiment of dumping high phosphorus (bone meal) on top and burnt the plant .. I haven't learned my lesson after burning geraniums that hot summer with bone meal. Here is a link that might be useful: Types of calcium for best bloom formation This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 13:06
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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last year

    Ann: My roses wilt fast (2 days) if I use acidic rain water at pH 4.5. But my roses last twice longer in the vase with my alkaline tap water at pH 9. I have hard-well water (high in calcium) that leaves whitish deposits on my pots.

    My tap water is so alkaline that roses' leaves turn yellowish if watered with that. In my last house of acidic clay and less alkaline tap water, blooms don't last long on the bush so I didn't cut for the vase.

    I once tested dunking calcium citrate tablet (dissolved easier than calcium carbonate), and blooms last longer in the vase. Calcium firm up tissue of plants. From the web: "Calcium chloride in food is used as a firming agent, typically to help keep pickles and other canned fruits and vegetables crisp and crunchy."

  • Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Are you cutting your stems underwater? You can also add a pinch of sugar to the water. I often have better luck floating my roses in a bowl of water.

    strawchicago z5 thanked Vaporvac Z6-OhioRiverValley
  • lenarufus
    last year

    Yes, remember this thread? https://www.houzz.com/discussions/1706819/new-improved-calcium-for-botrytis-thread

    it mentions using gypsum to extend life of flowers in vase

    strawchicago z5 thanked lenarufus
  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year

    I was just listening to Elaine Ingham talk about soil life and how Mother Nature sends bugs like red spider mites to tell you that your soil needs taking care of. Such an interesting idea that pests are there to show you something. I certianly notice when my mini-aquaponics tank is off...the Sweet Basil get aphids or white fly or something else and it tells me I'm overdo for cleaning the tank.

    strawchicago z5 thanked ann beck 8a ruralish WA
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Agree with that: aphids means too much chemical nitrogen. Thrips and midge: high phosphorus fertilizer or soil. I find that roses blackspots with too much moisture as well as too dry. There's a rose that I dislike (Arthur Bell) so I didn't water it during hot & dry summer, and it came down with blackspots despite very alkaline & high potassium clay. Potassium (for disease-prevention) is most available when soil is moist, and NOT available when soil is bone dry or soaking wet.

    Re-post what U. of CA found in rose-tissue: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7465.html

    For low-ratios, it would be 3 Nitrogen, 2 Potassium, and 0.2 Phosphorus, plus 1 Calcium and 0.25 magnesium. For ppm it would be 50 iron, 30 manganese, 30 boron, 15 zinc, and 5 copper

  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year

    Isn't that amazing that pest and disease actually are telling us something!

    strawchicago z5 thanked ann beck 8a ruralish WA
  • rosecanadian
    last year

    So true...I never thought about this before Straw introduced us to all of this. :)

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year

    Rosecanadian...I am starting to think that health issues might be trying to tell me something too! Certainly pointed to B12 for me.....I am off a number of other things that was just taking care of symptoms.


    A rose from RVR that came with such yellow leaves, although finally greened up, now has spider mites from being so distressed...I am going to try really watching its water and maybe give it some light soluable fertilizer. (My peach tree that was plagued my spider mites was not getting enough water from a miss-communication between my husband and I.)


    Someone else I was listening to mentioned that powdery mildew can be from under-

    watering...I have a couple of pots to check for that.

    strawchicago z5 thanked ann beck 8a ruralish WA
  • rosecanadian
    last year

    Ann - I'm glad that the B12 is working for you! :) :)

    I don't think my roses have ever had spider mites...at least I haven't noticed. And I had no idea that spider mites bothered trees!

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Good news about organic matter like alfalfa or chicken manure:

    1) Both feed earthworms which till the soil for more aeration.

    2) Both supply potassium. See excerpt from below link: "if organic matter is lacking, or no plants grow in the soil, the amount of available potassium may be quite low even if the fixed potassium levels are high. If soil moisture is lacking, uptake of potassium by roots is diminished."

    From Straw: Potassium regulates water osmosis, so soil high in organic matter (such as mixed in alfalfa plus garden lime to neutralize alfalfa' acidity) will help roses to be lush & green in drought.

    Will post pics. of my tomatoes this mid-Sept. (with tons of grass clippings plus pelletized lime (to neutral the acidity of grass), plus bagged compost versus my two neighbors' tomatoes. One has a Ph.D. in botany, the other has a rototiller to fluff up his clay yearly.

    Another excerpt from below link:

    "the release of potassium from fixed to intermediate non-exchangeable forms is faster when the soil particles are smaller. Clay soil particles are much smaller than sand particles."

    https://www.gardenguides.com/125539-causes-high-potassium-soil.html

    Although leaching of potassium is slow or minimal, regions where the climate is humid and wet tend to have lower amounts of plant available potassium. in the western United States where rainfall and humidity are lower, potassium often remains in much higher levels in the soil in all forms. Only in heavily irrigated fields in the American West are potassium levels diminished.

    Some wet, poorly draining alkaline clay soils can bind potassium, making it difficult for plants to utilize. If soil moisture is lacking, uptake of potassium by roots is diminished and the amount of potassium ions that remain in the soil's profile is higher."

    https://www.gardenguides.com/125539-causes-high-potassium-soil.html

    Below link has a good read on iron deficiency:

    "Iron availability in soil decreases as the pH of the soil increases. Iron deficiencies in plants tend to occur when the pH level is between 7.4 and 8.5. Soil pH may be amended by the application of sulfur into the soil.

    Soil that is compacted and does not allow the easy movement of air and water through the soil is said to be poorly aerated. Iron deficiencies tend to occur in cool, wet soils. When soil warms, microbial activity increases, allowing plants to absorb more iron. Some microbes will turn iron into the easily absorbable ferrous compounds.

    https://www.gardenguides.com/122292-iron-soils.html

  • rosecanadian
    last year

    So, this is good with the drought that we'll all be experiencing in the coming years...potassium and other nutrients will be more available...although enough water is needed.

    I get kind of confused about organic matter, compost in pots....doesn't drain well?? I don't know. But what you're saying is good...compost is a good thing then for roses in pots. :)


    Interesting about the iron.

    ALL of my roses are starting to grow new, lush leaves...and what has happened is that all summer I've been dumping lime on. And what they needed was acidity...the rain we have been getting has helped enormously. I'm feeling much better about my roses. What they still need is a few more months of summer to keep getting healthier.

    I killed quite a few roses this spring/summer...but at least I can get lots of roses from Palatine...and at least I feel like I won't kill all the new ones too. LOL Things are good. :)

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  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
    last year

    Nik the Greek whose posts I miss, did not recommend organics in pots. He used them on in ground plants.

    strawchicago z5 thanked Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    That brings back lots of bad memories, Nik the Greek used to post in English Rose forum back in 2012 when both I and Khalid posted there. Back then, NTG used to make fun of the posts I did on different types of calcium for soil. That hurt me a lot, so I stopped posting there. NTG's opinion was grafted-roses are superior to own-roots, so I left.

    People are entitled to their own opinion but IT'S NOT FAIR TO IMPOSE THE SAME on others with different soil and climate. One size doesn't fit all.

    That's why I NEVER TELL PEOPLE WHAT TO DO, even when people ask me questions. I simply share about my garden and post info. & pics.

    Khalid in Pakistan follows the same philosophy, he posted amazing pics. of his 100+ roses in pots using organics (chicken manure and homemade compost), despite extremely hot climate up to 121 F.

    I find that those who have zero info. nor pics. to share, tend to shoot down others' info./garden. No one can play absolute authority in someone else's garden. No one can play "garden God" either.

    Carol: For my pots, I find that organics are safer on top, or else DILUTED with many rains in advance if mixed into soil (alfalfa/lime, or gypsum). I have been very impressed with pics of your roses since 2010, you are doing a great job with organics (worm leachate). Your roses in pots are compact & zero blackspots and with the most blooms.

    Since you and I are in cold zone (I get snow in mid-May) .. I use SOLUBLE chemical-fertilizer in spring, the cold-temp prevents organics like blood meal to break down. In high-rain months I use alfalfa (best with water) and lime (to neutralize the acidity of rain), plus chemical granules (rain leaches out lots of nitrogen & calcium & potassium).

    In hot & dry weather organics work great since they break down fast at warm temp, plus less salt than chemical fertilizer.

    Below is the pic. of The McCartney rose in a pot posted by Tahir Khan in Pakistan, he informed me that it's great in vase & continuous bloomer. He fertilizes his 200+ pots with rice hulls, molasses and cow manure.


  • erasmus_gw
    last year

    I have sometimes put alfalfa meal in pots and if I have the tea I usually put some in pots. Occasionally have put manure in a pot or some Rosetone. I didn't do a controlled experiment so I don't know if plants would have done better without that stuff but it hasn't hurt them. I have some roses that have been in pots a long time.


    That's a pretty McCartney Rose in a pot, from your friend Tahir. Psychologically I think I regard organics in a pot kind of like a bit of something real for the plant. Otherwise the medium is so sterile...maybe it gets the chemical food, but if I was a plant I would want a little organic stuff . I know that's not scientific. Earthworms get into my potted plants so I imagine they add a little earthworm castings and it's probably great.

    strawchicago z5 thanked erasmus_gw
  • joeywyomingzone4
    last year

    I only use organics in pots and I've been thrilled at how they have done this year. Carol I'm always impressed with the pictures you share and I'm glad you are kind to let us follow your ups and downs. Your roses are an inspiration. What works for one gardener may not work for another so I think it's great to have many varying opinions and experiences, that way we have access to so much more wisdom.

    strawchicago z5 thanked joeywyomingzone4
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    It's the same person but the profile pic. of NiktheGreek (a girl's face in the foreground, with a man's face behind) misled one gal. That gal wrote in Rose forum that she's surprised that Nik the Greek is a girl. I read her post and changed my perception of NiktheGreek from a guy to a girl ever since, that was years ago.

  • rosecanadian
    last year

    Straw - please tell Tahir that his The McCartney Rose is inspiring!!! Well done! Soooo beautiful! :) :) Such good info!! :) :)


    Sheila - thanks! :) :)


    Erasmus - such a good point...earthworms are always getting into pots and doing their thing. :)


    Joey - thank you!! Such kind comments. :) :) An inspiration. :) :) That hits the spot! :) :) Your roses are also always so well grown!!



    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • ann beck 8a ruralish WA
    last year

    Rosecanadian...I definitely want my roses in pots to look like yours! The trees were in a greenhouse and I guess spidermite can get on anything in an enclosed space...they are coming out in Dec or Jan.


    Strawchicago...that sharing is what I love about you! We have very different climates and soil, but I often get an idea or direction to look from you and find out what my problem might be.


    I remember reading several places that "earthworms in pots cause problems." I did not believe it until I read it for the fourth time and I got all the earthworms out of my pots...bad idea those pots/plants suffered. Strawchigaco mentioned earthworms fluffed her soil...I don't know what they did, but there was a change in the wrong direction when I took the earthworms out. Just because I read it in 4 places doesn't make it true...guessing it was 3 people repeating the 1.



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  • Sheila z8a Rogue Valley OR
    last year

    I think NiktheGreek's point was simply that pots are less forgiving than conditions in the ground. If the soil is wrong, or a supplement was contaminated or overdone, things can really go wrong in a pot. He was just trying to give his opinion. I think he kept pots long term. Europe is different too in that they sell mostly grafted roses.

    In my case here, I can control the moisture in pots better than I can control it in the ground. Some sandy areas of my property can not stay watered. Of course, having a gopher eat the roots does not allow a plant to stay watered either. I guess we all have different problems. I think Ingrid could probably grow roses easier in pots at this point in a drought than in the ground in her San Diego County.

  • rosecanadian
    last year

    Ann - Thank you!!! That was really lovely to read!! :) :)


    Yeah, my rose pots always have worms in them through the years. I never knew if they were good or bad for the rose. You think they would be bad because they could eat the roots...but they never seemed to hurt my roses. I would add vermiculture compost that I would put on top of my soil (maybe a cup/year...that's all my worms could make)...and worms would come from there too because there would be eggs in the compost.

    Good to hear from you that you think that worms are good for roses in pots too. :) :)


    Sheila - I can sure agree with that this year...I really did things wrong and my roses have suffered and many have died.

    strawchicago z5 thanked rosecanadian
  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Bump this up to remind myself NOT to water too much, watering too much leaches out nitrogen and potassium, plus calcium.

    Re-post what U. of CA found in rose-tissue: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7465.html

    For low-ratios, it would be 3 Nitrogen, 2 Potassium, and 0.2 Phosphorus, plus 1 Calcium and 0.25 magnesium. For ppm it would be 50 iron, 30 manganese, 30 boron, 15 zinc, and 5 copper.

    https://www.gardenguides.com/125539-causes-high-potassium-soil.html

    "Although leaching of potassium is slow or minimal, regions where the climate is humid and wet tend to have lower amounts of plant available potassium. in the western United States where rainfall and humidity are lower, potassium often remains in much higher levels in the soil in all forms. Only in heavily irrigated fields in the American West are potassium levels diminished."

  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Excellent info. on mineral deficiencies in the below link: "Iron is immobile in plants and mobility decreases in soil with increasing pH. Deficiencies can be corrected by lowering pH. Excessive Phosphorus may induce iron deficiency.

    Even if enough Fe is in the soil, deficiency can occur under the following conditions: poorly drained soil, high Calcium, high Manganese, high pH, high Phosphorus, high heavy metals, oxygen deficiency.

    http://www.mgofmc.org/docs/nutrientdeficiency.pdf

    More from above link: "Nutrients deficient in strongly acid soils: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and/or molybdenum.

    Nutrients that become toxic in strongly acid soils: aluminum, iron, and/or magnesium.

    Plant Part Affected First:

    Young leaves (not mobile in plant) - calcium, sulfur, boron, iron, manganese

    Mature leaves (mobile in plant) - nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, molybdenum, zinc.

  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    My rose leaves look like this, only New growth. what is happening?


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  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    Also, this plant bloomed beautifully. but now, new growth has some problems. please advice me what to do.


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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Jue Shei: I would like some info. to correctly identify the problems. Thank you.

    1) Are those grown in plastic-grow bag or fabric grow-bag?

    2) How much rain do you get recently?

    3) Where are you located in USA? Dry & hot area or rainy east coast?

    4) Are those own-root roses? How old are the rootings?

    5) Are you watering with tap-water only, or do you get any rain?

    6) What type of potting soil do you use?

    7) What are the ingredients of your potting soil?

    8) What are the fertilizers you used recently?

    9) How often do you water your rose?

    10) Are you in a warm climate with chili thrips?

  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    1) in plastic-grow bag. It has holes for water drainage

    2) here is hot climate over 34 degree celsius most of the time. Less rain recently. I have to water them every morning.

    3) no. It is Myanmar, also known as Burma. it is really hot here( middle region in Burma) except in winter. Now is rainy season. But less rain.

    4) No, it is not own root. Budding in wild rose plant

    5) Less rain. I water them every morning.

    6) lake soil. I forgot how to call it in English. lake soil mixed with peanut shell. should I change the potting soil?

    7)I have used many fungicides before this. 2 weeks ago, my plants are infested with blackspot. I used fungicides difenoconazole with azxystrobin at first ime noticing black spot. copper fungicide at 2nd time. 3rd time, tebuconazole with trifloxystrobin. Then, I also used pesticide thiamethoxam for thrips at 4th time. A day later, I found this. Yellow color leaves are found before black spot. But, brown patches on yellow leaves are found after thiamethoxam spray. I sprayed all only in evening. I think I used many fungicides just within 2 weeks cause I hate diseases and pests.

    8)every morning before sunrise

    9) yes. thrips are really the problem here. But now, I see less thrips. I have ever seen brown lines on leaves due to thrips. But, this one is different. the leaves do not curl and more brown patches


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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Jue Shei I'm happy that you are from a hot climate Burma, since I have experience helping Khalid in Pakistan with his 100+ roses in pots in Organic Rose forum back in 2014.

    Khalid posted a few pics. similar to your 2nd pic. with pale leaves and brownish margin. He used canal soil (from bottom of river), but NO peanut shell.

    Peanut Shell is good for the soil, here's an excerpt from the web: "The application of high dose of peanut shells (8 t ha −1) increased soil pH. This positive effect of peanut shells could be due to the high content of basic cations (Ca 2+ , K + ). The organic amendment with peanut shells improves soil fertility and tree growth under saline conditions."

    Soil from a bottom of a lake or river is DEFICIENT in calcium, which causes the upper leaves to curl up. For that reason, Khalid uses gypsum (calcium sulfate) and wood-ash in his pots, but he applied that FIRST to his compost, and let the rain leaches out the salt, before applying to his roses.

    NO NEED to change your soil, but blackspots will go away if potassium and calcium is provided. With the 1st picture, biochar at pH 8.6 (black charcoal, or less burnt wood-ash) will reduce the acidity that causes leaves to curl up, plus supplying calcium to thicken leaves. Thin leaves will curl up, and calcium makes leaves thicker.

    Potassium helps with disease prevention plus make leaves stronger against insects and blackspot fungus. I successfully REVERSED blackspots on Golden Cel. rose with sulfate of potash, same with Jess from South Africa. Jess has acidic red clay, and blackspots & rust is common. Potassium is best bought as SULFATE OF POTASH (potassium sulfate), which supplies 21% sulfur to make leaves dark-green and glossy. Stay away from muriate of potash or potassium chloride, which is 3 times more salty than sulfate of potash.

    Biochar is easy to make: burn branches at low-temp, then douse off with water before white ash is formed. You want the black charcoal to fertilize roses, and NOT the white ash. The black charcoal pH is 8.6, versus pH over 13 for wood-ash (too caustic and kills any cluster-root plants). I always step on big chunks of biochar and crush them with my feet so they release potassium & calcium faster to roses.


  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    1)Leaves look normal but brown patches are there.

    yellow spots are there and leaves curl up.

    Brown patch on leaves and leaves look pale

    I have provided more photos to let people see and learn it:

    Anyway, thanks to you for helping and giving me useful information. I will ask you again when I find some problem that I can’t solve. Again, thank you so much. Have a nice day, sir!

  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    Uh, Can I use egg shell for calcium deficient problem? or Biochar is enough for both K and Ca?

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Egg Shell takes at least one year to break down if crushed finely. Biochar has more calcium than potassium, but it DOES NOT sulfur, which is a vital nutrient for dark-green leaves. Sulfur comes from decayed organic matter (mint or alfalfa tea), or from ammonium sulfate (high in salt and nitrogen, plus sulfur), or from sulfate of potash (at 50% potassium plus 21% sulfur), or from gypsum (high in calcium plus 18% sulfur).

    Sulfur is best as diluted SOLUBLE fertilizer. I once killed a tiny rose rooting by putting sulfate of potash powder directly on it.

  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    I have gypsum. It’s been over 1 month I don’t apply gypsum.

    I will use it again. I also had sulfar 80%. That sulphur 80% df is used as fungicide and spider mite killer. will it fix sulphur deficiency? I am confused. I think I can easily get biochar since the military orders not to give us electricity regularly.We have to use biochar to rice and cook when out of electricity

    . (please look at photo: Is that biochar that you mean?) .

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Yes, the above black charcoal is biochar. I always jump on it with my feet to crush it to powder so calcium & potassium are released faster to roots. Elemental sulfur at 80% is VERY ACIDIC and is used to lower soil pH if mix well into soil. It takes months for elemental sulfur to work.

    The sulfur in gypsum is released IMMEDIATELY. Gypsum is VERY CAUSTIC, it corrodes root and made my roses break out in blackspots immediately from its acidity (21% sulfur).

    For that reason I mix gypsum in my compost and let one-month of rain dilute the sulfur throughout my compost, then use this compost (containing DILUTED gypsum) on my roses.

    Khalid does the same, HE DOES NOT put gypsum directly on his roses. He put gypsum in his compost first, and let rain dilute that, before topping his roses.

    Biochar has pH 8.6, best used when upper leaves are curled up from being too acidic & resulting in calcium deficiency.

    Gypsum (calcium sulfate) is best used when upper leaves are pale. Sulfur deficiency result in pale upper leaves or the entire plant is pale. Nitrogen deficiency is pale LOWEST and OLDEST leaves. Ammonium sulfate (has both sulfur and nitrogen) is used to grow NEW and dark-green leaves.

    Gypsum does not have nitrogen, and is best used with another source of nitrogen fertilizer like cottonseed meal. If your rose is pale and refuses to grow new leaves, then ammonium sulfate or fish fertilizer is best.

    Fish emulsion has both sulfur (from decayed fish) and nitrogen, and has much less salt than chemical fertilizer like ammonium sulfate. It will green up leaves immediately without the salt-burn of ammonium sulfate in hot weather.

  • Jue Shei
    4 months ago

    Ok. thank you. That’s useful advice.❤️

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Back in 2012 Baily in warm southern CA, zone 9, posted a pic. of his Young Lycidas rose, grown in a pot. His picture showed 120+ blooms for its spring flush, fertilized with FRESH salmon bits and shrimp shell. His leaves were dark green & healthy in late fall (after blooming). His blooms had many petals thanks to the calcium from the shrimp shell.

    Calcium from eggs shell is slow to released, but calcium from fresh shrimp shell is more available to roots, if ground in a blender with some water. One can make fish emulsion by blending fresh fish with water in a blender and water roses.

    Fish emulsion is the best fertilizer since it's low-salt and high in potassium & nitrogen, plus Omega-3 fatty acids, plus sulfur for dark green leaves. Decayed organics releases sulfur SLOWLY, thus less burning from its acidity like with gypsum (releases sulfur too fast).

  • rosecanadian
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Great info, Straw. :) Some of my roses have leaves with upper leaves curled up. Now I know what to do. :) :) What about putting skim milk powder ( bought for baking and never used it) in a pot? I was going to give it to my worms. I have already given some tomato fertilizer because I thought it was calcium deficiency...maybe that's enough. ?

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Carol: upper leaves curled up could be from lack of water in a fast-draining potting soil from too much wood-chips mixed in. In rooting roses, when a rose has small roots, the upper leaves curled up in hot weather if the soil has too many chunks of barks.

    Roses need constant water so 100% peatmoss potting soil is best. Peatmoss is acidic at pH 4, but lots of dolomitic lime is added to neutralize its acidity in potting soil. dolomitic lime has both calcium and magnesium.

    Calcium is for thick leaves, and magnesium is a co-factor for potassium for lush & shiny leaves. Without magnesium, leaves drop easily. Without calcium to buffer the acidity of rain-water, upper leaves will curl up.

    Acidic Gypsum (calcium sulfate) is best used with alkaline tap water, but dolomitic lime is best used with acidic rain. Potassium should be supplied at the rate of twice more calcium, plus nitrogen should be slighly more than potassium,

    The above info. is from University of CA (at Davis) rose tissue analysis of 3 part nitrogen, 2 part potassium, 1 part calcium, 1/10 magnesium, and 1/10 phosphorus (doesn't leach out much).

  • rosecanadian
    3 months ago

    Thanks! I'm sure that mine are from rain as I was adding rainwater to my roses. Some loved it and some didn't...we also had a lot of rain in July. It's fun figuring this all out. I'm excited to see how the calcium helps. :)

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  • Jue Shei
    2 months ago



    The color of these leaves are not normal. I think it is nutrient deficiency. Which nutrient deficiency is it? Thanks in advance.

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  • Jue Shei
    2 months ago


    Last time, I asked you about this plant.(1st fig:)

    Now it blooms normally again. (2nd fig)

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Jue Shei Your 1st post of pale leaves: it's from high pH which happened when Khalid in Pakistan put too much compost (with wood-ash at pH 13) on his roses in DRY & hot weather. Sulfur deficiency is THE ENTIRE PLANT pale. One gets sulfur (essential nutrient) from acidic rain, from organic matter, or from sulfate of potash, ammonium sulfate, and calcium sulfate (gypsum).

    Your 2nd post of normal leaves look fantastic !! How did you fix that? Thanks.

  • Jue Shei
    2 months ago

    Unluckily, I don’t have soil ph meter. And, the whole plant is not pale. Only new growth looks pale like the one in the photo and the plant still has normal flower bloom.(new growth leaves size is also normal). If it’s high soil ph, how can I reduce the soil ph?


    For2nd fig: I‘ve put biochar one time and few gypsum, also epsom salt. I equally put the routine orgainic fertilizer also chemical fertilizer to all the plants. But not all plants have pale leave new growth. So, will it be a soil problem?





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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Jue Shei: for the 1st picture, you are right that the whole plant is not pale, but only the upper leaves. I look at your 1st pic. three times, and it looks like iron deficiency (dark veins on pale leaves). See below excerpt:

    "Iron Deficiency: Caused by High soil pH and salinity.
    - High Phosphorus, Manganese, Calcium, Molybdenum or Zinc levels.
    - Soil low in organic matter & Insufficient drainage.

    Leaves become yellow or near white between their veins. Stunted growth."

    From Straw: For your 1st pic., it looks like high soil pH (wood ash has pH of 13), plus salinity or high salt (wood ash is very high salt).

    If you did NOT put wood ash in the pot, it can also be poor drainage. My rose in soaking wet clay has that problem during heavy rain. If water cannot drain fast from a pot, upper leaves can have iron deficiency (pale background with darker veins).

    If it's a high pH problem from topping with wood ash, then scrape off the topsoil

    When the soil inside the pot IS NOT changed every 2 years, then the soil becomes compact and water can't drain fast, roses will turn pale.

    My most dark-green roses are with NEW potting soii which is fluffy and has air for root growth.

    If your soil is more than 2-year-old in the pot, then change to NEW SOIL will help.

    Old soil in the pot for more than 2 years accumulate too much salt, then become compact so roots have zero air, so leaves turn pale.

    From the web: "An ideal soil contains 25 percent air, 25 percent water, 45 percent minerals and 5 percent organic matter."

  • Jue Shei
    2 months ago

    I did not add wood ash. The first one is planted in pot which may have compact soil since it is about 1 year old. Another one is in plastic bag which may have poor drainage. I will try to fix these by changing the soil. Thanks again for making me notice the soil is an important factor too.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Potting soil here in USA has bark chips mixed in for more air and faster drainage. If the bark chips are from hard-wood trees like cypress, then it decomposes to neutral to alkaline pH. If the bark chips are from soft-wood like pine tree, then it stays ACIDIC for a few years, and dolomitic lime is added to balance its acidity.

    OK to add aged bark from hardwood trees, such as oak, hickory, ash or maple trees. Other hardwood trees include alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut These decomposes to neutral to alkaline pH, per University of llinois Extension study.

    Dolomitic Lime at pH 10 or wood-ash at pH 13 is needed for ACIDIC softwood bark like: cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew. These break down faster than hard wood bark.

  • rosecanadian
    2 months ago

    Good diagnosis, Straw. :) :)

    I actually got it right...maybe I'm learning. You never know. LOL

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    last month
    • what's in excess can make another nutrients less available, see below:


  • Jue Shei
    12 days ago


    Updated: 2months after changing the soil. (23.11.2022)

    2months after changing the soil

    Before changing the potting soil

    yeah, soil changing solved the problem.

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  • strawchicago z5
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    Thank you, Jue Shei , for those fantastic result of changing the soil. What's in the new soil? Thank you.