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Diagnosing Deficiencies in Your Landscape

Now that spring has finally sprung and summer is well on its way, you may find yourself taking a stroll through your landscape and assessing damage done by late cold spells. However, it may not be a frost problem that has your plants looking worse for the wear. They could be experiencing nutritional imbalances which affect overall plant health. Most cases involving nutrition issues in plants can be linked back to the soil. Therefore, if you suspect a problem I suggest testing your soil to ascertain pH and nutrient levels. You can obtain a soil test kit at your local UF IFAS Extension office. Another way to diagnose your plant damage is to visually catalog its symptoms. Symptoms of mobile nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, tend to reveal themselves on older leaves first. Whereas, immobile nutrient symptoms (i.e. boron and calcium) will show up on newer leaves. These flow charts can help to narrow down which essential element may be lacking in your plant’s diet.


Mobile Nutrient Symptoms.

Immobile Nutrient Symptoms.

Immobile Nutrient Symptoms.


3 Comments on “Diagnosing Deficiencies in Your Landscape

  1. I live in the fountain area, and I know I will not have the lush green grass I had in Nebraska, I have problems in my yard I do not know what to do about. Yes I have lots of turkey oaks with white around them that seems to kill the tree after time. But my main concern is I will have a nice green patch of grass, but then the edges die. Sometimes a big circle will be there with just weeds growing in it. I also have a vine that goes underbeath the soil and kills plants I can get to grown. I also have a tree in my yard that almost has leaves like a mimosa but is bright orange in the fall.

    Can you heip. I do not know when to go to get answers for my questions

  2. Great information! Thank you.

  3. Hello Taylor:

    Thanks for the diagnosis flow charts! I have a fruit and vegetable garden at home in addition to our landscaping, and what would be helpful is a couple of definitions, and some instructions what to do once we’ve diagnosed the problem. Hopefully at some point someone wrote an article about how best to do that, and perhaps you could add a link. With regard to definitions, what are mobile vs. immobile nutrients? I would think “necrotic” means something similar to yellowed or scorched, but since you used the latter terms in other places in the charts, does it mean something different? What does “chlorotic” mean? Thanks for any additional information you can provide. — Sharon McAuliffe