How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Nutrient disorders

Deficient or excess minerals or nutrients cause foliage to discolor, fade, distort, or become spotted, sometimes in a characteristic pattern that can be recognized to identify the cause. Fewer leaves or flowers may be produced, and these may develop later than normal and remain undersized. More severe deficiency or toxicity can cause plant stunting or dieback.



Nutrient requirements and tolerance vary by plant, stage of growth, and environmental conditions. Soil tests can help identify nutrient-deficient or toxic soils, and adding nutrients to the soil in the form of fertilizer can solve some problems. However, many nutrient deficiencies occur despite adequate amounts of nutrients in the soil because soil conditions make it difficult for the plant to take up nutrients. Nutrient availability is highly influenced by type of soil, pH, salinity, and overwatering or underwatering. Excess concentrations of one nutrient can reduce the availability of other nutrients. Avoid nutrient disorders by preventing root disease development, providing good drainage, and using good practices during fertilization and irrigation. When correcting problems, also check pH and salinity levels as well.

Nutritional disorder in snapdragon
Nutritional disorder in snapdragon

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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