Calcium, Calcium Deficiency, Nutrient Deficiency, Mineral Deficiency
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Calcium deficiencies in plants can be challenging to diagnose and treat. Its uptake can be affected by the concentration of other nutrients and minerals, as well as humidity and water levels. A lack of boron in the soil can also lead to calcium deficiency. Plants commonly affected include those located in acidic soils, especially those which incorporate sphagnum or moss peat. Similarly, soils originating from rocks with low calcium content (e.g. granite and silica sandstone), or soils which are light and sandy are at particular risk. On the other hand, soils of a more clay consistency, or those which are formed from chalk and limestone, seldom suffer from calcium deficiencies. A calcium deficiency can cause several plant disorders, which can impact the quality of crops.
Symptoms vary depending on the plant affected.
Its always the shoot tips and fruits which show symptoms.
Tips of leaves and shoots can curl inward.
Leaves may be scorched and in worse cases killed.
Once acidic soil is diagnosed, you could try adding additional lime to fix imbalances, being careful to follow the manufacturers instructions. Hydrated lime should not be applied immediately before the time of planting. For this reason, gardeners prefer to use 'garden lime'. Reducing the use of ammonia and potash can improve calcium uptake in plants. Never apply lime to areas of soil bearing calcifuge plants or soft fruits.
Disorders such as blossom end rot or bitter pit can sometimes be resolved by spraying plants with calcium nitrate or calcium chloride (2g per every litre). Some varieties are resistant to plant disorders such as blossom end rot.
Calcium deficient soils can be difficult to improve because the uptake of calcium is dependent on several other factors. Gardeners should pH test garden soils before taking action. The cheapest and most reliable method would be to purchase pH testing papers (known as litmus paper) online. Take several readings and work out a rough, average colour. The redder the paper turns, the lower the pH, which means the soil is acidic. The paper should be yellow-green, the correct pH for most vegetables. This means a lack of calcium isn't the problem. If the paper is red-orange, it's likely the soil is too acidic.