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Key to Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms ~ Corn

Nitrogen (N)

Click Nutrient Name to View Deficiency Symptom Images

Plants are pale green to yellow with chlorosis beginning on lower leaves and progressing upwards as the deficiency intensifies; plants have spindly stalks and growth is slow.

Characteristic feature of  N deficiency in corn is yellowing proceeds from the leaf tip down the midrib in a  V-shaped pattern.

Phosphorus (P)

P deficient plants may remain darker green than normal plants and develop purple discoloration first on the underside and later throughout.  Plants grow slowly, stalks are thin and shortened and maturity is delayed.

Potassium (K)

K deficiency appears first as yellowing on the tips of lower leaves and progresses along the outer leaf margins as yellow, light tan, and then brown discoloration. The innner part of the leaf blade near the midrib usually remains green. Chlorotic areas may develop throughout the leaf. Stalks of deficient plants are weak and tend to lodge. The ears are chaffy and unfilled.

Calcium (Ca)

Ca deficiency is very rare on corn. Plants are severely stunted and new leaves exude a gelatinous like material and new leaves stick together. Because Ca deficiency is favored by low pH (<5.2) and low soil Ca, aluminum and manganese toxicity symptoms will usually be exhibited before Ca deficiency symptoms.

Magnesium (Mg)

Initially Mg deficiency is expressed as interveinal chlorosis on the older leaves and progresses upwards as the deficiency intensifies. Older leaves may become reddish-purple and the tips and margins may die. Older leaves may fall off with prolonged deficiency.

Sulfur (S)

S deficiency in corn with an ample supply of N appear as interveinal chlorosis of the younger leaves and may be confused with those of iron, manganese and zinc deficiencies. Symptoms in corn with a low supply of N may occur on older leaves as interveinal chlorosis. Plants are small and spindly with short slender stalks. Growth rate is retarded and maturity is often delayed.

Boron (B)

Deficiency symptoms in corn are rare on heavy textured soils but may occur on sandy acid leached soils. Initially yellow and white spots develop between the veins on young leaves; the spots often coalesce to form streaks; internodes do not elongate resulting in bushy appearance; growing points may die; leaves may become curled. Severe B deficiency results in short bent cobs with underdeveloped tips and poor kernel development.

Copper (Cu)

Deficiency appears first on corn within the whorl and on young expanding leaves as interveinal chlorosis; new leaves emerging from the whorl may remain tightly curled; leaf tips and margins may die and curl in a spiral-like manner; plants are stunted.

Iron (Fe)

Iron deficiency has not been detected on corn gowing on soils in Georgia. Deficiencies occur primarily on alkaline soils (pH greater than 7.0).

Manganese (Mn)

Manganese deficiencies are rare on corn grown on soils with a pH of 6.0 and 6.3. Deficiencies have been observed on corn grown on sandy soils with pH values greater than 6.5. Deficiency symptoms appear on the uppermost recently mature leaves as interveinal chlorosis (streaked).

Zinc (Zn)

Zinc deficiency in corn is exhibited on the upper leaves as interveinal chlorosis. The veins, midrib and leaf margin remain green. As the deficiency intensifies “feather like” bands develop on either side of the midrib and the leaves may turn almost white (hence the term “white bud” was coined to describe Zn deficient corn plants); internodes are short resulting in stunted plants.

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