Nitrogen Deficiency

Class: Nutritional Disorders

Common Name

Nitrogen (N) deficiency

In short

Nitrogen is a macronutrient that all plants need and is a key component in many important organic compounds such as amino acids, nucleic acids, and proteins.

Nitrogen uptake in plants occurs in the form of NO3− (ammonium nitrate), NH4+ from the soil, or N2 from the atmosphere with the aid of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

All in all, the total content of nitrogen varies from 2 to 4% in dry plant matter.


The main symptom is leaf chlorosis. Individual leaves will become pale and yellow. In cereals, yellow discoloration from the leaf tip creates a “V” shape.

Correction measures

The exact amounts, timing, and methods for fertilizers applications vary regarding the specific crops, type of soil, phase of the growth, and means of implementation.

Some nitrogen-based fertilizers

Urea, ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate are common nitrogen-based fertilizers being used.

Important Notes

In general, plant nutrient availability depends on several processes in the soil–plant system. In order for a specific nutrient to be absorbed and utilized, some conditions have to be met.

Methods of correcting nutrient deficiencies vary according to agro-climatic regions and the magnitude of the disorder.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track of the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the instructions written on labels, and in a case of contradiction, work in accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually applies to local markets. Pest control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional products. When dealing with organic, biologic, and to some extent a small number of conventional chemical products, a complete eradication of a pest or disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

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