Phosphorus and Potassium Deficiency in Plants Solved

March 20th, 2022

Plant Nutrition Deficiencies:Phosporus and Potassium

We have talked bout the role nitrogen played in played health and what to look for if a plant was deficient in one of the major nutrients, being Nitrogen.
  • In fact there are three major nutrients which are classified as NPK ratio on the back of all fertilisers. So in this part of the blog, we carry on with the two other major or macro nutrients.

Let's look at phosphorus deficiency

Phosphorus is responsible for the development of flowers and fruits and roots.
  • Phosporus is known as a mobile nutrient which can move around the plant to where it's needed.
  • Phosphorus deficiency happens more often in cold weather or gardens receive high rainfall, or a combination of both.
  • Often affects heavily fruiting plants such as citrus.
  • N..B. native plants are highly sensitive to phosphorus, so avoid spreading phosphate fertilisers near these plants.
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First Symptoms: Older leaves become quite a dark green then develop a purplish tinge.
 
Tips will then dry off. Not to be confused with lack of watering especially in pot plants where leaves can also develop dry tips.
Overall growth is affected in the long term resulting in smaller leaves and stunted growth.
 
Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in phosphate either solid or liquid.
Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 

Let's look at potassium deficiency

Potassium is responsible for thickening of cell walls, and also responsible for plant growth. Potassium deficiency are more evident in flowering or ornamental plants. Potassium deficiency often is a pH issue in the soil.

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First Symptoms: Older leaves become brown and dry on the upper surface, with leaf edges puckering slightly. 
As the deficiency progresses, the leaves darken in colour between the veins.
Flower stalks become thin and spindly and may be quite short.
Fruits may fail to develop full colour and flavour.
 
Quick Fix: Fertiliser high in potassium either solid or liquid, such as sulphate of potash.
Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers. 
 
Listen to the podcast: I'm talking with Kylie Last horticulturist and tafe teacher.

I would recommend becoming familiar with the NPK ration on fertilisers, whether organic or not to see if you’re applying the right sort for your plants.

For example, fertilisers that promote flowering and fruiting have higher ratios of potassium than those that are just for general purpose fertilising.
If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Nitrogen Deficiency in Plants

March 19th, 2022

 PLANT HEALTH

Plant Nutrition Deficiencies: Macro Nutrient Nitrogen

The 'Plant health' segment was created for my radio show "Real World Gardener,' as a division of the 'Plant doctor' segment, because I felt that it’s important to focus on what can go wrong with plants that isn’t a pest or a disease.
In the following audio podcasts, you will hear about what to look for in plants that have deficiencies of one of the macro nutrients: Nitrogen:Phosphorus:Potassium; in other words NPK or the macro nutrients.

Gardeners can often see problems appearing first in the colour of the leaves, but this can also be followed closely by lack of vigour, stunted growth and general unthriftiness of the plant.
 
The key to diagnosing problems, however isn't just looking at the colour of the leaves but it's knowing your soil type and soil pH.
Yes, I know, we do go on about soil pH but that often underlies the reason behind your plants' problems.
The other underlying problem may be insufficient drainage which causes waterlogging of the soil.
 
That said, we  will assume that you soil pH is around 6.5 - 7 but your still seeing issues that are showing up in the leaves. So what next?

Macro Nutrient Nitrogen

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Nitrogen is one of the three big nutrients or macro nutrients that plants need.
Nitrogen is responsible for leaf growth and blossom formation.
 
First Symptoms: Oldest leaves start to appear pale first, yellowing at the leaf tips then eventually the whole leaf will turn yellow.
Quick Fix: Soluble fertiliser high in nitrogen. 
Results should appear in a few days.
Long term fix: Blood  n' Bone and/or controlled release fertilisers.
 
Nitrogen on it’s own can be useful for quick greening of lawns and leafy plants like ferns in pots when the potting mix is depleted of any nutrients.
Listen to the podcast: I'm talking with Kylie Last horticulturist and tafe teacher.

If you have any questions you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

More Slime Moulds part 2 in Plant Doctor

December 18th, 2021

Slime Moulds part 2

The podcast continues with the topic of slime mould but particularly, about the slime mould called phytophthora. 

Did you prick up your ears?
Yep, that’s the root rot known as phytophthora which gardeners dread.

Gardeners are often told that phytophthera, in particular Phytophthera cinnamomi,  is a fungi but it's actually a water mould. You may have even heard it called 'root rot.'

  • Phytophora is a particular slime mould that belongs to a group or Phyllum called Oomycota 
  • This group are moulds that can only move in water columns.

Phytophthora cinnamomi lives in the soil and in plant tissues, 

During drought or prolonged dry periods , the organisms become dormant chlamydospores which is just a resting spore of Ascomycota

When environmental conditions are suitable, the chlamydospores germinate, producing mycelia (or hyphae) and sporangia. 

The sporangia ripen and release zoospores, which infect plant roots by entering the root behind the root tip. 

This organism is very resistant to most chemicals that gardeners can throw at it and doesn't die with soil disturbance..

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Dieback of branches of whole shrubs or trees is often seen in the Australian bush.

Should you ever see branch dieback in your trees or shrubs or stem dieback in your tomatoes, it just may be due to a problem called root rot that is actually a slime mould. 

The best way Botanic gardens have dealt with it is by fencing off affected beds within the gardens so horticulturists and the public don't transfer the spores around the the gardens or indeed, back home to their own gardens.

Drainage was also improved in garden beds so that the organism wasn't able to stay 'live' or active.

Compost is also added to soil to improve the soil so the microorganisms can combat this slime mould.

Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.

I'm talking with Steve McGrane, horticulturist and agriculturist.

So know you know the facts and myths about Phytophthera and how to deal with it in your garden.

If you have any questions about slime mould or some feedback why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644

Real World Gardener Ants on Plants in Plant Doctor

May 20th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR

Ants on Plants

Ants in the house are a problem because they turn up in your pantry, in your cat and dog food that you’ve put out, or just hang around the kitchen bench.
Sometimes they’re in places like the bathroom, leaving you wondering what on earth are they doing there?
Ants in the garden are another matter, however, it's pretty common to see ants running up and down on your plants, and one or two shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Ant-on-plant-leaf.jpg

 

It's when the ants are present on your tree or shrub in large numbers that you should start to worry because they can signal other pest problems occurring on your tree, shrub or even seedlings.

Why Are Ants On Your plants in the First Place?

  • Whitefly, aphids, mites are all sap suckers.
  • It’s not just the presence of scale pests that ants are attracted to. These are all sap suckers and produce honey dew which ants like to farm. 
  • Juvenile scale which is the crawler stage, are very small and you may not notice them, although the ants will know that they are there.
aphids-farmed%2Bby%2Bants.jpg
Ants farming aphids

  • Sometimes it’s just the sweet nectar of the flowers that bring in the ants.
  • Ants can live in your containerised plants if the potting mix has become very dry or hydrophobic. The dry soil becomes a perfect medium for the ants to build a home in.
  • Watch to see what the ants are doing-going to the flowers only or running all over the plants.

Solution:

Horticultural or Neem oils can be sprayed to smother the aphids and controlling mealybug. Spring is the best time to control spray for scale, but you can still spray in summer. 
 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgtarden.com.au

If you have any questions about ants on plants, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener La Niña and Changing Weather in the Kitchen Garden

March 20th, 2021

 THE KITCHEN GARDEN

La Niña and your produce garden

Torrential rain is lashing the east coast of Australia as a write this while the west coast of enjoys a hot spell. Without sounding too dramatic, we’re starting off the kitchen garden segment with a topic about how the changing weather patterns are affecting the vegetable garden. At the moment Australia is in the grip of La Niña, a complex weather pattern, that bought rain for much of summer and now is causing flooding in many areas.
Last year's summer was quite different with bushfires in most parts of Australia.

Rainy%2Bin%2Bmy%2Bgarden.jpg
Torrential rain driven by La Niña in my garden.

We’re not so much spruiking climate change, but really it’s more about what you the gardener can do to mitigate problems in the veggie patch because of climate events like La Niña.

This summer, the produce garden is seeing cooler temperatures during the day, increased humidity, and higher night temperatures because of the consistent cloud cover.

For those gardeners on clay soil, the soil is staying damp even during the drier periods. Veggies do not like their roots in constant water.

For those gardeners who haven't prepared their gardens for these events, they may find collar rot around citrus and other fungal problems in the kitchen garden.

The answer for clay soil in produce gardens is build raised beds. Not only does this improve drainage, but saves all that bending to ground level.

Powdery mildew is a problem with all gardens in humid weather, particularly when the crops are coming to their end of their production.

Toni recommends using a bi-carbonate spray to change the pH of the leaf surface so that the fungus cannot thrive. This is only a preventative measure. Once the mildew takes hold.

Bicarb soda recipe:
1/2 teaspoon of sodium bi-carbonate
450ml water
couple of drops of vegetable oil to help emulsify it.

Spray both leaf surfaces well until run-off. Re-apply after rain.

Other problems can be fruit not ripening such as tomatoes staying green because of the lack of sunny days.

Dwarf beans are all descended from climbing beans when they perceive low light levels they will begin throwing out tendrils and revert to climbing beans. This can be just a run of cloudy days or overshadowing by trees or a neighbouring building.

Let’s find out-I'm talking with Toni Salter, the Veggie Lady. www.theveggielady.com 

Real World Gardener Help with seedlings in Plant Doctor

February 26th, 2021

 PLANT DOCTOR    

What's Going On With My Seedlings?

People have been turning to gardening in droves this year, and for one reason or another, they’re into growing their own food.
A lot of new gardeners, though, are finding it difficult to either get those seeds to germinate, or keep those seedlings going.seedling.jpg

Here are some of the common problems:

  • Seeds germinate and grow for a while then die. Number 1 culprit is drying out.
    • Seedlings are for the most part growing in a shallow soil and all it takes is for a bit of warm weather, then unless you're there on the spot to water them, they shrivel up and die.
  • Seedlings growing in moist soil because you've somehow managed to keep them hydrated. If they keel over at this point, it's due to 'damping off.' The seedlings is attacked by fungal or bacterial infection, the end result of which is death of your seedlings.
  • Overwatering and poor airflow is another possibility.
  • Seaweed solution may help with overcoming this problem.
  • Watering with a tea with strong antimicrobial properties, such as strong chamomile or cinnamon tea may work as a preventative. 
  • Create a clean environment as possible by (a)sterilising your soil by placing it in the oven for 30 minutes at high temperatures and (b) wipe down pots and benches with a 10% solution of bleach. 
  • Seedlings just sitting with no growth for weeks are a sign of insufficient fertiliser. Water in a liquid fertiliser immediately and follow up as per dosage instructions. 
  • Although, one thing to watch out for:The seeds have germinated but mysteriously, the tops get chewed off. 
    I’m still wondering how the slug go into the closed mini-greenhouse and ate my basil seedlings.
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get back into growing from seed and have all the information you need to get those seedlings going.

 So what help do they need? Let’s find out more by listening to the podcast.
I’m talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

If you have any questions about seedlings, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write to 2rrr PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

Real World Gardener NEW Citrus Watch on Plant Doctor

October 18th, 2019

PLANT DOCTOR

NEW Citrus Watch

Citrus trees have their fair share of pests of diseases and control is better if it’s done proactively.

Certain times of the year are crucial in beginning your control program, but don’t worry, it’s not too daunting.

oranges-healthy%2Btree.jpg

 

Let’s find out what needs doing

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

There are several types of pests

Sap Sucking Pests: control with botanical oils such as eco Oil

  • mites, 

    lemons%2Bwith%2Bfruit%2Bfly%2Bhole.jpg

    Fruit flies sting the fruit leaving a telltale black spot on the outside.

  • aphids,
  • scale, 
  • bronze orange bug- need to control at green nymph stage when the bugs measure only a few millimetres. Once they start to colour up, oils will not control them. 
  • neem oil is registered for control of bronze-orange bugs on ornamental citrus.

Chewing Pests; caterpillars: control with Dipel

Queensland fruitfly: control with pheremone lures, spinosad based pesticides and/or exclusion netting.

Mediterranean fruitfly (found in W.A.) control with spinosad based pesticide and/or exclusion netting.

Timing is the key for pests and diseases because they have a lifecycle which tells us when the pest is most vulnerable or when the diseases is most likely to strike.

This is a good indicator of when control is most effective.

After all, you don’t want to waste your time, energy and money using a product that won’t work as well as it should because it’s the wrong timing.

If you have any questions for me or for Steve, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

Real World Gardener Indoor Plant Pests in Design Elements

September 26th, 2019

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Indoor Plant Pests Under Control

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about what plants you can grow indoors wherever you live in Australia.

Indoor%2Bplants.jpg

 

 

Quite a few in fact can cope with all weather conditions for the far north of Australia to Tasmania.

Despite all your loving attention though, some plants can be susceptible to pest attack, or just like plain unhealthy, making you think you did something wrong.

Not necessarily true, so let’s find out about looking after indoor plants

That was Julia Levitt Director of www.sticksandstonesld.com.au

PLAY: Indoor plants-pests_2nd August 2017

Even the best plant owner will come across pests.

The trick is to keep an eye on your plants and act quickly as soon as you see something wrong with your indoor plant.

Why are we having plants indoors again?

Apart from plants reducing carbon dioxide levels in your home, did you know that people with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure?

If you have any questions about indoor plant pests why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com

 

Real World Gardener Grow Your Plants part 2 in Design Elements

August 8th, 2019

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Grow Your Plants part 2: series final

Last week it was when and how much to water your plants to keep them alive, and today it’s about plant health problems.

We start off with finding out why the plant isn’t thriving and in fact is dropping leaves.

Sound familiar?

Chelsea%2Bflower%2Bshow.jpg

Gardens like this one need care and maintenance.

Let’s find out what needs doing.

I'm talking with Glenice Buck of Glenice Buck Designs. www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

Not so much digging now, other than weeding but looking after your plant because, after all, it’s not plastic.

So why are the leaves dropping off?

Causes: 

  • Check your watering. You might think the water is getting through to the roots but is it really? Add wetting agent if you find the the soil is not being wetted sufficiently.
  • Nutrient deficiency-are the yellow leaves the new growth or the old growth?
    • new leaves yellowing signals possible iron deficiency. Correct with chelated iron.
    • Old leaves yellowing signals possible nitrogen deficiency. Correct with an all purpose liquid or soluble fertiliser.
    • Calcium deficiency results in distorted or irregularly shaped new leaves (top of plant). The leaf margins and tips become necrotic. Correct with an application of Dolomite.
  • Wind can cause physical damage, with leaves have brown/grey tips.

    1-Leaf%2BScorch3.JPG

    Wind and sun scorch have similar symptoms.

Watering, fertilising and looking out for pest and disease issues are all part of gardening.

For all the latest news - Follow Glenice on Facebook or Instagram

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Or check out my website: www.glenicebuckdesigns.com.au

Or Subscribe to my monthly Garden Greetings Newsletter: www.tinyletter.com/glenicebuckdesigns

Real World Gardener Taking Care of Brassicas on the Good Earth

May 30th, 2019

THE GOOD EARTH

Caring For Brassicas

Brassicas are a large family of plants which include not just white cauliflowers and green broccoli, but all manner of purple caulis, purple sprouting broccoli and purple or green cabbages just to mention a few.

IMG_0831_cabbages.jpg

Lovely cabbages Photo: Margaret Mossakowska

There’s even a veg that’s a cross between brussel sprouts and kale, called Brukale. Whatever next?

So what’s needed to grow the best brassicas? Let’s find out more. 

I'm talking with Margaret Mossakowska from Moss House.

LIVE: Growing Brassicas_22nd_ May 2019

TIPS: Don't overdo high nitrogen fertilisers for the heading brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers. That means blood 'n' bone, and chook poo pellets.

Too much nitrogen will result in smaller heads.

  • Be careful what you use to control pests on your brassicas, so that you don’t kill ladybird, hoverfly and lacewing larvae which are all beneficial insects.
  • Margaret's tip is to use upturned wire baskets that you may have seen in offices from days gone by.
  • These may be obtained from recycle stores or from the $2 shop.
  • When the cabbages or other brassicas have outgrown these baskets, you can then cover them with exclusion netting.

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Exclusion netting photo: Margaret Mossakowska www.mosshouse.com.au

If you have any questions either for me or for Margaret, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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