Can you recognize the insufficient amount of fertilizers in your garden?

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you fertilize. ― Theodore Roosevelt

Do you feel that your garden has insufficient fertilizers’ quantity? Obviously, you know that there are ^^^different reasons why your plants don’t look good. But if you already rejected all other causes this post is for you.

Let’s analyze information on the Internet and could we use it at all. We’ve spent a lot of time collecting information. We have visited blogs, educational websites as well as some governmental portals.  While doing that we spotted most common criteria and grouped them.

Signs of too many fertilizers:

  • Slow to no growth
  • Chlorosis
  • Yellowing of lower leaves first
  • Leaves turning yellow or brown starting from tips (burning)
  • Excessive plant growth
  • Leaves are falling
  • Rotting roots (keep in mind – this could be overwatering as well)
  • Weak stems

Fertilizers deficiency evidence:

  • Slow to no grow
  • Chlorosis
  • Edges and tips of lower leaves become yellow
  • Margins of leaves stay green
  • Weak poor roots
  • Younger leaves grow yellow
Can you differentiate over fertilization from nutrition deficiency using those lists? NO, you can’t!

Comparing those two lists shows us that symptoms are pretty similar. For average person going through top articles on the Internet makes a lot of stress. Can you differentiate over fertilization from nutrition deficiency using those lists? NO, you can’t! But we do our best to get at least something from it. Let’s think for a while how fertilizers physically affect your garden.

At the first stage of toxication, fertilizers give a boost to the plant. It can grow much quicker than with proper nutrition. But who will notice that if a gardener wants those plants to grow quicker? Then because of such growing speed, it could bring fewer flowers but is it possible to identify such an issue? Thus we skip this stage and go to the next one. On the second stage, too many fertilizers could dehydrate plants. They soak all the water from a plant. This is the same as we eat too salty food and then drink enormously. That could lead to falling leaves which are closer to mineral sources – to the bottom.

I've put too much fertilizers under this currant bush
I've put too much fertilizers under this currant bush
This grass was over fertilized by accidentю It was spilled in one spot
This grass was over fertilized by accident. It was spilled in one spot

Let’s analyze fertilizers deficiency progress. The plant grew normally and previous leaves collected some minerals. Then lack of minerals (building material) leads to weak new leaves and older leaves get weak borders while continually expanding. Also, there is no energy to grow and it slows down. With time whole plant starts to wither.

Yucca with not enough fertilizers
Here are some of our conclusion thoughts:
  • If a plant looks dry and firm having proper watering – most likely it collected too many minerals;
  • If leaves are dry and falling down – most likely they are dried out completely because of over mineralization;
  • If a plant doesn’t grow for a long period of time but color is normal and leaves are not too firm – you should think of adding fertilizers
But what to do with chlorosis, a yellow margin of leaves, rotted or weak roots etc? We don’t know. Really, these criteria and signs are useless in most cases.
How can we recognize what exact mineral is missing if we can’t differentiate over and under fertilization

To be honest, our initial goal of the post was to analyse deficiency of different minerals and try to recognize what exact fertilizer is missing. But starting dig deeper it was obvious for us – stop focus on a minor thing. Here is a bigger picture: how can we recognize what exact mineral is missing if we can’t differentiate over and under fertilization.

Why there is so much of information about signs of fertilization issue but most of it is useless? Let us state that we believe in the information we saw in other articles. Most of it sounds logical. The thing is that it’s easy to get analysis and say – you can see yellow leaves and soil analysis tells us that it’s not enough iron out there. But how to do reverse engineering by seeing the plant and saying something about insufficient fertilizer numbers? We believe in most of the cases it’s hard to say confidently. Of course, if a person does gardening professionally for many years that person has more experience to identify some specific signs. But for gardeners, like we are it’s complicated. You can play with adding some more nutrients but are you ready to lose your lovely flowers which you care of or tree that already has 5-7 years? Similar to health care when you have body disease that is new to you. You go to a doctor and he makes analysis to prove or reject a hypothesis. To help you with that we wrote another article about soil fertility chemical analysis. Just read it, and then you can make any decision you like.

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