The great importance of Nitrogen (N)
Nitrogen is one of the most important elements that a plant needs. It is an important component of proteins, chlorophyll, vitamins, hormones and DNA. Nitrogen, as a component of enzymes, is involved in all enzyme reactions and plays an active role in the metabolism of the plant.
Nitrogen is mainly absorbed by the plant in the form of nitrate and ammonium. However, it can also be absorbed via small organic molecules. It is essential for the plant that the balance between nitrate and ammonium is correct, in order to prevent the rhizo atmosphere (root environment) from reaching too high a pH value. The balance between nitrate and ammonium thus contributes to a large extent to the taste and shelf life of the harvest
In the plant a process takes place in which Nitrate in the plant is converted into ammonium with the aid of the nitroreductase enzyme. Ammonium is then incorporated into organic molecules. Nitrogen has a positive influence on the growth of the plant. The plant gets larger leaves, more branches and the vegetative period is extended.
What are the symptoms of Nitrogen deficiency
- The stems and stems will turn purple
- leaves turn yellow and eventually fall off. With some plants leaves turn purple as with some cabbage varieties. In most cases, the plant also remains smaller than normal
How does a nitrogen deficiency develop?
- You will first see Symptoms at the larger leaves in the middle and upper parts of the plant.
- The plant becomes lighter in color.
- The larger leaves in the lower part of the plant become light green. The petioles of the smaller leaves are now also turning purple.
- Characteristic vertical purple stripes appear in the stem.
- The leaves in the lower part of the plant become increasingly yellow and turn white over time. Finally, the leaves wither and fall off.
- Growth is visibly inhibited: shorter plants, thinner stems, less leaf formation and smaller leaves.
- The upper and middle parts of the plant are also getting yellower and whiter.
- At green points the leaves stay green for a little longer, but they are a lot less green than at a normal nitrogen level.
- There is a forced bloom and considerable leaf loss.
- A significant reduction in revenue.
What are causes for a nitrogen deficiency
The shortage of nitrogen can be caused by incorrect feeding or feeding with insufficient nutrients. Substrates containing a lot of fresh organic material can cause a nitrogen deficiency because the micro-organisms bind the nitrogen. A lot of nitrogen can be bound, especially in the first weeks. This is released later, but then it is usually too late.
How do you tackle a nitrogen deficiency?
- Increase the EC of the power supply and rinse the substrate well.
- Add nitrogen to the nutrient solution via urea, blood meal, slurry or a special ‘mono-nutrient’ product.
- Spray the bottom of the leaves with a nitrogen solution. This is best done at the end of the day, just before the light goes out.
- Make sure you do not cause the leaves to burn.