How Nutrient Antagonism Leads to Nutrient Deficiency in Plants
If you're feeding your plants plenty of magnesium, but it still show signs of magnesium deficiency, check this out. Even plants being fed nutrients can become deficient. Here's why.
It is possible that feeding an excess of nutrients to your plant can still result in deficiencies. This is because sometimes plants suffer from “nutrient antagonism.”
Nutrient antagonism is when an excess of a particular element blocks the absorption of another element the plant needs and can happen with elements of a similar size and charge (positive or negative).
Another reason for a plant being deficient in an element applied in an appropriate dosage is called binding. Binding occurs when elements mix together and bond, forming a compound that is insoluble and cannot be absorbed by a plant’s roots.
This is seen when concentrated acids or bases are mixed into nutrient solution and a cloud of precipitate forms. The precipitate, or milky cloud that is formed, is the result of elements binding and becoming unavailable to the plants.
This compound is completely insoluble and will make both the phosphorous and the iron or zinc unavailable to plants.
A heavy flush with plain pH adjusted water, followed by an application of fresh nutrient solution can usually solve both of these types of issues.
Common Nutrient Antagonisms
Nutrient in Excess
Ammonium (NH4), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg),
Potassium and/or Calcium
Nitrate and Sulfate
Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn),