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Abstract

Palms (Arecaceae) growing in containers have similar nutritional requirements as other tropical ornamental plants and grow well with fertilizers having an elemental ratio of 3N:0.4P:1.7K. However, palms growing in the landscape or field nurseries have very different nutritional requirements from dicotyledonous plants. Whereas nitrogen (N) is the primary limiting nutrient element in container production, potassium (K), manganese (Mn), magnesium (Mg), boron (B), and iron (Fe) deficiencies are more widespread than N deficiency in most landscape soils. Because palms have a single apical meristem, deficiencies of K, Mn, or B can be fatal. In addition to insufficient nutrients in the soil, palm nutrient deficiencies can be caused by high soil pH, certain types of organic matter, deep planting, poor soil aeration, cold soil temperatures, and nutrient imbalances. Correction of nutritional deficiencies in palms can take up to 2 years or longer and therefore prevention of deficiencies by proper fertilization is important. Research has shown that high N:K ratio fertilizers applied directly, or indirectly via application to adjacent turfgrass in a landscape, can exacerbate K and Mg deficiencies in palms, sometimes fatally. For sandy Atlantic coastal plain soils in the southeastern United States, an analysis of 8N-0.9P-10K-4Mg plus micronutrients has been recommended.
Palm Nutrition and Fertilization
Timothy K. Broschat
1
ADDITIONAL INDEX WORDS. nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron,
manganese, boron, nutrient deficiencies
SUMMARY. Palms (Arecaceae) growing in containers have similar nutritional
requirements as other tropical ornamental plants and grow well with fertilizers
having an elemental ratio of 3N:0.4P:1.7K. However, palms growing in the
landscape or field nurseries have very different nutritional requirements from
dicotyledonous plants. Whereas nitrogen (N) is the primary limiting nutrient
element in container production, potassium (K), manganese (Mn), magnesium
(Mg), boron (B), and iron (Fe) deficiencies are more widespread than N deficiency
in most landscape soils. Because palms have a single apical meristem, deficiencies of
K, Mn, or B can be fatal. In addition to insufficient nutrients in the soil, palm
nutrient deficiencies can be caused by high soil pH, certain types of organic matter,
deep planting, poor soil aeration, cold soil temperatures, and nutrient imbalances.
Correction of nutritional deficiencies in palms can take up to 2 years or longer and
therefore prevention of deficiencies by proper fertilization is important. Research
has shown that high N:K ratio fertilizers applied directly, or indirectly via
application to adjacent turfgrass in a landscape, can exacerbate K and Mg
deficiencies in palms, sometimes fatally. For sandy Atlantic coastal plain soils in the
southeastern United States, an analysis of 8N–0.9P–10K–4Mg plus micronutrients
has been recommended.
Palms are increasingly popular
as landscape plants in tropical
to warm temperate regions of
the United States and as interiorscape
plants elsewhere. While visible nu-
trient deficiency symptoms are rela-
tively uncommon on dicot trees found
in landscapes, palms are rarely seen
without at least one nutrient defi-
ciency. Because landscape palms are
grown almost exclusively for aesthetic
purposes and their leaves are very
large, nutritional deficiencies are con-
spicuous and unattractive. Also, defi-
ciencies that might merely cause twig
dieback in dicots can be fatal in palms,
which have only a single apical mer-
istem and no lateral meristems. Thus,
proper fertilization for palms is impor-
tant for palm health and survival, as
well as for aesthetics.
As monocots, palms have differ-
ent nutritional requirements than
dicot trees or shrubs. Most notable
is the high potassium requirement of
palms, an element that is rarely defi-
cient in dicot trees. The purpose of
this article is to review the most
common nutrient deficiencies of
ornamental palms and to discuss fer-
tilization practices that address these
nutritional problems in container
production and in the field nursery
or landscape.
Nutritional deficiencies
NITROGEN.Nitrogen deficiency
is the most important nutritional
problem in the container production
of palms, yet it is relatively rare in
landscape palms. Container sub-
strates that contain pine bark and
other wood-derived materials are par-
ticularly prone to N tie-up as these
materials decompose (Ogden et al.,
1987). Nitrogen, like P, K, and Mg, is
a mobile element within palms. That
is, under conditions of deficiency, the
palm is able to extract N from the
oldest leaves in the canopy and trans-
locate it to the growing new leaf
(spear leaf) to allow for continued
growth. For this reason, deficiency
symptoms of mobile elements occur
first on the oldest leaves, and as the
deficiency increases in severity, pro-
gressively younger leaves will be
affected. Nitrogen deficiency appears
as a uniform light green to very light
yellow-green color on the oldest
leaves, but typically will affect the
entire canopy except for the spear
leaf, which may be slightly darker
shade of green (Broeshart et al.,
1957; Broschat, 1984; Bull, 1961a;
Manciot et al., 1979). When all of the
mature leaves have been depleted of
their mobilizable N, the growth of
the palm will slow and eventually stop
altogether. Severe N deficiency does
not cause tissue necrosis and thus,
if properly fertilized, discolored N-
deficient older leaves are capable of
re-greening.
PHOSPHORUS.Although P defi-
ciency has generally not been a prob-
lem in palms grown in the United
States, it can be a serious limiting
factor in acid tropical soils where
african oil palm (Elaeis guineensis)or
coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) are
grown commercially (Manciot et al.,
1979). Symptoms are not particularly
distinctive, but appear as a uniform
light olive-green coloration of the
foliage. Purplish spots and/or leaflet
tip necrosis may be present on the
oldest leaves (Bull, 1958; Elliott et al.,
2004). However, the most important
symptom of P deficiency in all species
is a sharp reduction in growth rate,
with ‘‘pencil-pointing’’ or tapering of
the trunk occurring in chronic situa-
tions (Broschat, 1984; von Uexkull
and Fairhurst, 1991).
POTASSIUM.Potassium defi-
ciency is by far the most common
deficiency of palms growing in pro-
duction fields or landscapes through-
out much of the world. However, in
container production, it is much less
common than N deficiency. Symp-
toms vary according to species and
severity. In many species, the ear-
liest symptoms consist of translucent
yellow-orange and/or necrotic spots
on the oldest leaves (Broschat, 1990;
Bull, 1961a). As the deficiency pro-
gresses, marginal and/or tip necrosis
of the leaflets appears (von Uexkull
and Fairhurst, 1991). In some species,
spotting is never observed and leaflet
tip necrosis is the only visible symptom.
As with N deficiency, K is a highly
mobile element within palm canopies
and symptoms are most severe on the
Units
To convert U.S. to SI,
multiply by U.S. unit SI unit
To convert SI to U.S.,
multiply by
48.8243 lb/1000 ft
2
kgha
–1
0.0205
1.1209 lb/acre kgha
–1
0.8922
0.5933 lb/yard
3
kgm
–3
1.6856
1 ppm mgL
–1
1
Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Uni-
versity of Florida, 3205 College Avenue, Davie, FL
33314
1
Corresponding author. E-mail: tkbr@ufl.edu.
690 October–December 2009 19(4)
oldest leaves and toward the tips of
each affected leaf. When viewed from
a distance, many K-deficient palms
appear to have an orange-bronze cast
to the older leaves. In other cases, K-
deficient palms of the same species may
show only leaflet necrosis (Broschat,
1990).
Potassium deficiency causes pre-
mature senescence of the older leaves
and thus strongly affects the number
of leaves that a palm can support. In a
severely K-deficient palm, once all of
the older leaves have died from the
deficiency, the palm then goes into a
rapid state of decline, with the trunk
tapering (pencil-pointing), new leaves
emerging chlorotic and with exten-
sive leaflet necrosis, and finally, death
of the meristem (Elliott et al., 2004).
Potassium deficiency is the most com-
mon cause of mortality in royal palm
(Roystonea regia) in Florida land-
scapes (Broschat, 2005a). Routine
removal of unsightly K-deficient leaves
on palms and fertilization with high
N:K ratio fertilizers have been dem-
onstrated to accelerate the rate of
decline from K deficiency (Broschat,
1994, 2005b).
MAGNESIUM.Magnesium defi-
ciency also occurs on the oldest
leaves, but as distinct broad lemon-
yellow to orange bands along the
margins of the leaves. The centers of
affected leaves remain dark green with
an abrupt transition from yellow to
green (Broschat, 1984, 2005c). In
some palms with palmate leaves (fan
palms), some leaves will not show a
broad yellow band around the perim-
eter of the leaf, but rather broad
yellow bands around the margins of
each leaf segment, the centers of
which remain distinctly green. Both
patterns of Mg deficiency (leaf and
leaf segment chlorotic banding) have
been observed on different leaves on a
single palm. Magnesium deficiency
usually does not cause necrosis, yet
necrosis caused by K deficiency is
common on palms showing Mg defi-
ciency. Canary island date palms
(Phoenix canariensis) in Florida fre-
quently display deficiencies of both
elements on the same palm. Where
they co-occur, classical K deficiency
symptoms (translucent and necrotic
spotting and leaflet tip necrosis) will
be seen on the oldest leaves and the
yellow-banded Mg-deficient leaves
will be observed above the K-deficient
leaves, often in midcanopy (Broschat,
2005c). Transitional leaves will show
K deficiency symptoms toward the
leaf tips, but Mg deficiency symptoms
will appear toward the leaf base.
Chlorosis caused by Mg deficiency is
permanent and cannot be eliminated
from affected leaves by application of
Mg fertilizers. Rather, the deficiency
will be gradually eliminated from
the canopy by replacement of older
symptomatic leaves with newer Mg-
sufficient leaves. The process of cor-
recting K and Mg deficiencies can take
from one to three years. Magnesium
deficiency in palms is accentuated by
high levels of N and K in landscape
soils (Broschat, 2005c; von Uexkull
and Fairhurst, 1991). In container pro-
duction, Mg deficiency is usually in-
dicative of insufficient or exhausted
dolomite in the container substrate.
IRON.Iron deficiency appears on
newly emerging leaves as a uniform or
interveinal chlorosis. In severe cases,
new leaves may emerge almost white
in color, with extensive leaf tip
necrosis. Because Fe tends to accu-
mulate in older leaves (Broschat,
1997), symptomatic leaves may green
up as they mature. Leaf spot diseases
such as exserohilum leaf spot (caused
by Exserohilum rostratum) on foxtail
palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) often are
associated with Fe deficiency (Bro-
schat and Elliott, 2005a) and cannot
be controlled with fungicides unless
the Fe deficiency is first corrected.
The most common cause of Fe defi-
ciency in palms is poor soil aeration,
with related factors that reduce root
surface area, or metabolic rate such as
root rot diseases and deep planting
having similar effects (Broschat and
Donselman, 1985). Palms growing in
calcareous soils may exhibit Fe defi-
ciency, but not to the degree that
dicot trees or shrubs are affected. Iron
deficiency is common in palms grown
in containers in which the substrate
has decomposed, reducing root zone
aeration.
MANGANESE.Manganese defi-
ciency is similar to Fe deficiency in
that new leaves emerge with intervei-
nal chlorosis. However, Mn-deficient
leaves differ in that they also show
longitudinal necrotic streaking within
the leaflets (Broschat, 2005a; Bull,
1961b). In more severe cases, the
distal ends of the leaflets become
completely necrotic and curled, giv-
ing the leaf a frizzled appearance.
Because Mn deficiency occurs only
on newly expanding leaves, it is com-
monly called ‘‘frizzletop’’ (Dickey,
1977). These frizzled leaves are usu-
ally much shorter in length than
normal leaves. The presence of Mn
deficiency symptoms in midcanopy or
lower leaves is indicative of a chronic
Mn deficiency, whereas a few tiny and
severely frizzled leaves at the top of
the canopy followed by normal-sized
and colored mid- to lower canopy
leaves is characteristic of an acute
Mn deficiency. The latter is often fatal
in palms. Chronic Mn-deficient palms
are superficially similar in appearance
to those with late-stage K deficiency,
with both displaying small, chlorotic,
and necrotic-tipped leaflets. How-
ever, on Mn-deficient leaves, symp-
toms are most severe at the base of the
leaf, whereas the reverse pattern char-
acterizes K-deficient leaves (Broschat,
2005a). Mn deficiency is usually
caused by high soil pH, although
transient, cold temperature-induced
Mn deficiency is fairly common in
coconut palm in Florida (Broschat
and Donselman, 1985). The use of
composted sewage sludges as soil
amendments or fertilizers has also
been shown to cause severe and
long lasting Mn deficiencies in palms
(Broschat, 1991a).
BORON.Boron deficiency is wide-
spread among landscape and field-
grown palms throughout the world
(Hartley, 1988; Manciot et al., 1980),
but is rather rare in container-grown
palms. Symptoms are extremely di-
verse, even within a single palm spe-
cies. Very mild B deficiency can cause
hair-like transverse or parallel trans-
lucent streaking on the leaflets of
the newest leaves, transverse pucker-
ing, corrugations, or crumpling of the
leaflets, the latter sometimes called
‘accordionleaf’’ (Broschat, 2005b;
Dufour and Quencez, 1979; Kamalak-
shiamma and Shanavas, 2002; Marlatt,
1978). Leaflet tips may also be sharply
hooked in a zigzag fashion, with this
symptom being called ‘‘hookleaf’
(Brunin and Coomans, 1973; Corrado
et al., 1992). Mild B deficiency can
also cause inflorescence necrosis and
premature fruit drop (Broschat, 2007a;
Kamalakshiamma and Shanavas,
2002). One of the most common
symptoms of B deficiency is the failure
of spear leaves to open normally, the
leaflets being tightly fused along some
or all of their length (Broschat, 2007a;
Brunin and Coomans, 1973; Manciot
October–December 2009 19(4) 691
et al., 1980). Healthy palms of most
species will never have more than one
unopened spear leaf at any given time.
The presence of more than one unop-
ened spear leaf is indicative of B defi-
ciency. Boron-deficient leaves are
unusually brittle, giving rise to the
name ‘‘brittleleaf.’’ As B deficiency
becomes more severe, only tiny new
leaves emerge (‘‘little leaf’’ symptom),
typically with shortened or no leaflets
(Corrado et al., 1992; Manciot et al.,
1980; Rajaratnam, 1972). The palm
may die.
Boron deficiency can be transient
to chronic, and mild to lethal in palms.
A common symptom caused by a
temporary insufficiency of B in the
soil is a necrosis at a point on the axis
of a primordial spear leaf. When this
affected leaf emerges several months
later and expands, the point necrosis
will be manifested as an angular trun-
cation of the leaflets where they were
intersected by this necrosis (Corrado
et al., 1992; Kamalakshiamma and
Shanavas, 2002). If this temporary
deficiency is severe enough, the en-
tire tip of the leaf beyond the necrotic
point will often fall off. This very
temporary deficiency is believed to
be caused by a single heavy leaching
event lasting as little as 1 d. In
rainy climates, this pattern may be
repeated every time a heavy leaching
rainfall occurs and as many as three
such events have been documented
during the development of a single
leaf of a coconut palm (Broschat,
2007a).
On the other hand, B deficiency
is known to be caused by soil drying
and rewetting, which tightly binds
soluble B (Biggar and Fireman,
1960; Keren and Gast, 1981). Soil
drying and high soil pH (Goldberg,
1997) are believed to be the primary
causes of chronic B deficiencies in
palms. One of the most unusual
symptoms of chronic B deficiency in
palms is epinastic growth. When this
occurs, the shoot axis of the palm may
bend sharply in one direction or may
even grow downward (Broschat,
2007a, 2007b). Twisting of individ-
ual leaves or even the entire shoot is
not unusual. Epinastic growth in B-
deficient palms is believed to be due
to excessive accumulations of auxin
(indoleacetic acid) in B-deficient
palms (Rajaratnam, 1972). Although
B deficiency can kill the meristem in
palms, it also is known to cause
branching in species that normally
do not branch (Broschat, 2007b).
While B toxicity has not been
documented in landscape, or con-
tainer- or field-grown palms, it has
been induced experimentally in parlor
palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and
areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) (Broschat,
2005d; Marlatt, 1978). Symptoms of
B toxicity appear on all but the
youngest leaves as leaflet tip necrosis.
Becasuse these symptoms are similar
to those caused by high soil soluble
salts, water stress, or other chemical
toxicities, correct diagnosis may re-
quire leaf nutrient analysis. Excessive
accumulations of other nutrient ele-
ments generally do not result in tox-
icity symptoms, but rather as salt
injury or induced deficiency symp-
toms of other antagonistic elements
such as Fe.
OTHER NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES.
Although deficiencies of sulfur (S),
zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), chloride (Cl),
and molybdenum (Mo) have been
induced experimentally in several spe-
cies of palms using sand culture meth-
ods (Broeshart et al., 1957; Broschat,
1984; Bull, 1961a; Marlatt and
McRitchie, 1979), deficiencies of
these elements are rarely encountered
in the landscape or in field nursery.
Sulfur deficiency causes chlorosis of
the youngest leaves, with leaf size and
leaflet tip necrosis increasing with
increasing severity (Broeshart et al.,
1957; Broschat, 1984; Manciot et al.,
1980). It has been reported on coco-
nut palm in New Guinea and Mada-
gascar, and on african oil palm in
Ivory Coast (Cavez et al., 1976;
Ollagnier and Ochs, 1972; Southern,
1969).
Copper deficiency causes stunted
new leaves to be produced, with leaf-
lets reduced in size and with extensive
tip necrosis. Eventually, only necrotic
petiole stubs emerge and death of the
meristem often follows (Broschat,
1984; von Uexkull and Fairhurst,
1991). Copper deficiency has been
reported on african oil palm grown in
Sumatra (Ng and Tan, 1974).
Broschat (1984) found that
experimentally induced chloride
(Cl)-deficient clustering fishtail palm
(Caryota mitis) and pygmy date palm
(Phoenix roebelenii) had chlorotic new
leaves, with leaflets in the latter spe-
cies remaining partially fused around
their margins, giving them a ladder-
like appearance. Although visible
symptoms of this deficiency have
never been reported in palm produc-
tion, fruit yields for coconut and
african oil palm have been signifi-
cantly improved with Cl fertilization
in the Philippines (Magat et al., 1988;
Ollagnier and Ochs, 1971).
DIAGNOSIS OF NUTRITIONAL
DISORDERS.While leaf and soil analysis
have long been used as tools for
diagnosing nutrient deficiencies or
toxicities in common agronomic and
horticultural crops, databases of plant
response data versus leaf or soil
nutrient concentrations are lacking
for most palm species. von Uexkull
and Fairhurst (1991) provide critical
foliar elemental concentrations for
african oil palm and Elliott et al.
(2004) give similar values for areca
palm, bamboo palm (Chamaedorea
seifrizii), parlor palm, kentia palm
(Howea forsterana), lady palm (Rha-
pis excelsa), and pygmy date palm.
Leaf, and especially soil, nutrient con-
centrations often do not correlate
well with visual symptoms expressed
by palms. For example, foliar Fe con-
centrations are often poorly corre-
lated with chlorosis severity in many
species of plants (Jones et al., 1991).
Also, foliar B concentrations in the
youngest fully expanded leaves reflect
the B status of the palm about 4
months before the sampling date
and not the current B status (Broschat,
manuscript in preparation). The pres-
ence of sufficient plant-available
nutrients in the soil is no guarantee
that such nutrients will actually be
taken up by the palm in adequate
amounts. Thus, the primary means
of diagnosing palm nutritional disor-
ders is by visual symptoms. Elliott
et al. (2004) and Broschat (2005a)
provide color photos of all the palm
nutrient deficiencies discussed in this
article. A key to nutritional disorders,
as well as diseases and other physio-
logical disorders with which they may
be confused, has been developed by
Broschat and Elliott (2005b).
Palm fertilization
Because correction of existing
nutrient deficiencies in palms can take
up to 2 years or longer, and sympto-
matic leaves will be present on the
palm during that time, emphasis
should be placed on fertilization to
prevent deficiencies rather than treat-
ment of existing deficiencies in palms.
Also, because prolonged treatment
692 October–December 2009 19(4)
WORKSHOP
with single-element fertilizers has
been shown to upset critical elemen-
tal ratios (e.g., N:K, N:Mg, and
K:Mg) in the soil and therefore
induce or exacerbate deficiencies of
other antagonistic elements, com-
plete fertilizers should be used for
routine production and maintenance
fertilization (Broschat, 2005b). Al-
though most palms in container pro-
duction and in the landscape are
fertilized with soil-applied granular
fertilizers, foliar fertilization has been
successfully used for rapid, but short-
term, correction of N, Fe, and Mn
deficiencies, but not for K and Mg
deficiencies. Foliar applications are
most successful in cases where soil
conditions (e.g., high pH) limit the
effectiveness of soil-applied micronu-
trients, or where compromised root
systems are incapable of absorbing
soil-applied nutrients.
FERTILIZATION OF PALMS IN
CONTAINERS.Palms growing in con-
tainers present no special problems
for fertilization. Fertilization regimes
used for other woody ornamental
crops have usually been effective in
producing deficiency symptom-free
palms (Conover et al., 1975; Broschat,
2005e). Because many container sub-
strates contain organic components
such as pine bark that are known to tie
up N (Ogden et al., 1987), high N
fertilization rates are required. Con-
over et al. (1975) recommend appli-
cation rates of 216 lb/acre N per year
for parlor palms grown under 73%
shade and 270 lb/acre N per year for
areca palm and bamboo palm grown
under 55% shade. When fertigation
was used, Poole and Henley (1981)
found that rates greater than 250
ppm N decreased growth of parlor
palm. Palms growing under full sun
conditions will require higher fertili-
zation rates. Resin-coated controlled-
release fertilizers with longevities of
6 months or longer and a ratio of
3N–0.4P–1.7K are recommended be-
cause palms will typically remain in a
given container size for at least 6
months (Broschat, 2005e). Similar
high N fertilizers are recommended
for container-grown palms at the time
of transplanting into the landscape for
the first 6 months while the bulk of
the root system is still confined to this
substrate. Substrates to be used for
container palm production should
have a complete micronutrient blend
incorporated at the time of mixing
because Broschat and Moore (2007)
have shown that micronutrients con-
tained within resin-coated prills gen-
erally do not release as effectively as N
or other macronutrients. These sub-
strates should also incorporate up to
15 lb/yard
3
of dolomitic limestone,
not for pH regulation, but as a slow-
release source of Mg, an element
typically lacking or insufficient in
most container fertilizers.
FERTILIZATION OF FIELD NURSERY
OR LANDSCAPE PALMS.Because field
and landscape soils are very different
in chemical and physical properties
from those used in container produc-
tion, recommended fertilizer formu-
lations are very different for these two
growing environments. Fertilization
of field nursery or landscape palms
depends on the soil type and climate
in which they will be grown. To date,
research on this subject has been done
only for Florida on sandy and lime-
stone soils where deficiencies of N,
K, Mg, Fe, Mn, and B are endemic.
Broschat (2001) found that a fertil-
izer with an analysis of 8N–0.9P–
10K–4Mg plus 2% Mn and Fe and
trace amounts of Zn, Cu, and B was
capable of producing deficiency
symptom-free palms. However, due
to the low cation exchange capacity
of these soils and high rainfall and
leaching potential, only products hav-
ing 100% of their N, K, and Mg in
controlled-release form were success-
ful in eliminating all deficiency symp-
toms from palms. Micronutrients
such as Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu should
be in water-soluble form to be effec-
tive on neutral to alkaline pH soils
(Broschat, 1991b; Mortvedt et al.,
1972). This 8N–0.9P–10K–4Mg for-
mulation is applied every 3 months at
a rate of 15 lb/1000 ft
2
of palm
canopy or landscape area for land-
scape palm maintenance (Broschat,
2005b). The same product is used in
field nurseries at about twice the land-
scape maintenance rate. Similar prod-
ucts that contain no N may be
preferable for palms grown on muck
soils because the N released from the
breakdown of these soils combined
with that in the 8N–0.9P–10K–4Mg
product used for sandy soils appears
to exceed the optimum N:K and
N:Mg ratios required for palms and
thus exacerbates K and Mg deficien-
cies on these soils. When a 16N–
1.7P–6.7K turf fertilizer was applied
to areca palms in a sandy Florida soil,
K deficiency severity was equal to that
of unfertilized control palms and Mg
deficiency severity was worse than in
unfertilized control palms (Broschat
et al., 2008). Additional research is
needed in Florida to determine opti-
mum N:K and N:Mg ratios for calca-
reous fill and muck soils and optimum
application rates for field production
and landscape maintenance on all
soils. Although fertilizer recommen-
dations developed for Florida may,
with minor adjustments, be suitable
for palms grown in other states within
the Atlantic coastal plain, original
research on landscape palm fertiliza-
tion needs to be done for other south-
ern and western states that grow palms
in very different soils and climates.
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694 October–December 2009 19(4)
WORKSHOP
... The optimum amounts and ratios in fertilizers of the seven frequently deficient elements for landscape palms in Florida have been experimentally determined to be 8N-0 or 2P 2 O 5 -12K 2 O-4Mg plus about 2% Mn and Fe (0.1-0.2% if chelated), and 0.15% of B, Cu, and Zn (hereafter referred to as 8-2-12-4Mg), but note that 8-0-12-4Mg also is acceptable (Broschat 2009(Broschat , 2015. However, just because a fertilizer has this analysis does not mean that it will be effective. ...
... Over time, the water-soluble Mg will be leached out of the soil but K will still be available from its controlled-release source, upsetting the effective K:Mg ratio in the soil. Thus it is essential not only to provide the correct elemental ratios initially, but also over time by matching the release rates of the controlled-release sources of the N, K, Mg, and B (Broschat 2009). ...
... Our research has shown that the most effective fertilizer has 100% of the N, K, Mg, and B sources in slow-release or controlled-release form and all of the Mn, Fe, Zn, and Cu sources should be water soluble (generally these will be sulfates, except for Fe, which can be chelated with EDTA or DTPA) (Broschat 1991a(Broschat , 1996(Broschat , 1997(Broschat , 2009Broschat and Elliott 2005). To determine if a fertilizer contains the correct nutrient sources, examine the ingredients section of a fertilizer label (it may be called "derived from" or something to that effect). ...
Article
Palms are widely planted in Florida landscapes. Their bold leaf textures create a tropical or Mediterranean look that is highly desired by residents and tourists alike. But palms have very high nutritional requirements, and deficiencies of any element can result in conspicuous and unattractive symptoms on their large leaves. UF/IFAS research shows that the most effective fertilizer has 100% of the N, K, Mg, and B sources in slow-release or controlled-release form and that all of the Mn, Fe, Zn, and Cu sources should be water soluble. This 4-page fact sheet explains the reasons for this recommendation and how to ensure that you have a formulation that will be effective. Written by Timothy K. Broschat, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, April 2015. (Photo Credit: T.K. Broschat) ENH1255/EP516: Not All Landscape Palm Fertilizers Are Created Equal (ufl.edu)
... Most importantly, the information on the soil nutrient status and OP leaf nutrient levels is essential for a suitable fertilizer application [2,3]. OP's physiology requires the sufficiency of essential macronutrients with suitable fertilization rates in the specific OP plantation area to be identified so that OP can grow and reach maximum production [4,5,6]. ...
... Nitrogen, a mobile element within OP, is the most abundant nutrient in plants, constituting 2 to 4% of plant dry matter. In addition to the process of N fixation occurring in legumes, plants can absorb N in the form of the nitrate ion (NO 3− ) or ammonium ion (NH 4+ ) [5]. According to a review by Amirruddin et al. [4], N is an essential component of amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids. ...
... Potassium is the second most abundant nutrient in plants after N. It is absorbed as the monovalent cation K + and is highly mobile in the phloem tissue of the plants. This element plays a physiological role in the control of stomatal opening and transport of photosynthates [5]. However, the K deficiency in OP growth and yield includes decreased vegetative and fruit bunch production. ...
Article
Full-text available
The oil palm (OP) Elaeis guineensis is a robust feeder of nutrients and necessitates the adjustment and adequate allocation of nutrients for optimum growth and yields. Therefore, information on leaf nutrient concentrations during the immature stage is essential for maximal OP yield at the mature stage. Currently, in Malaysia, fertilizer by the standard practice application (Treatment 1; T1) is considered a cost-effective fertilization practice in terms of fertilization cost and the overall cost per palm oil tree per hectare. However, there is an idea to further reduce the costs of fertilizers and labour per hectare to make it more cost-effective. Therefore, the present study aims to develop a novel biochemical fertilizer by testing the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) biochemical fertilizer (Treatment 2; T2) in the immature OP. Since the use of T1 has been well established in Malaysia, the present study is to compare the leaflets’ nutrient levels (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), and boron (B)) and vegetative parameters (frond length (FL), frond number of leaves (FNL), frond width (FW), frond thickness (FT), chlorophyll index (CI), and the canopy of immature OP by using T2 to compare with those in T1. This study was conducted 6 to 48 months after planting (MAP) at the Telang OP plantation, Kuala Lipis (Pahang), from January 2015 to December 2018. Based on the chemical levels of the pre-treatment soil samples collected at the weeded circle area in January 2015 in the two depths (0–15 cm and 15–30 cm), there was no significant difference (p > 0.05) in all 11 chemical parameters (pH, total N, organic carbon (Org C), total P, available P (Av P), cation exchange capacity (CEC), exchangeable K, (Ex K), exchangeable Ca (Ex Ca), exchangeable Mg (Ex Mg), exchangeable aluminium (Ex Al) and B between T1 and T2. This indicated that the chemical levels in the OP soils in both T1 and T2 would not be significant factors when T1 and T2 were applied. All six leaflets’ nutrient levels showed at least ‘Optimum’ or ‘Excessive’ compared to the established guideline using T1 and T2. Overall, there was no significant (p > 0.05) difference in all the above six leaflets’ nutrient levels and six vegetative parameters between T1 and T2 based on the t-Test, multiple linear stepwise regression analysis, and correlation analysis. These results suggested that rates of T1 and T2 applied in this study are enough to provide the amount of nutrients needed to support the OP vegetative growth during the immature period. The estimated cost savings for the combination of T2 fertilizers per hectare (RM 1113.43 or 250 USD) and reduction of the number of rounds (RM 133.85; or 30 USD) of T2 fertilizer application would give a sum of total cost savings of at least RM 1247.25 (280 USD) per hectare. If only based on the T2 fertilizer per hectare, the economic benefit of the total cost saving is estimated to be at least 10.6%. In summary, this study recommends the utilization of T2 as a novel, cost-effective, and alternative biochemical fertilizer treatment for better management of immature OP plantations in Malaysia.
... Nitrogen deficiency is the most important nutritional problem in oil palm production (Broschat, 2009). Planting media containing organic material derived from plant stems and other wood-derived materials are susceptible to N bonds because this material breaks down (Nikiyuluw et al., 2018). ...
... Although P deficiency is generally not a problem in oil palms, it is a severely limiting factor in acid soils in the tropics, where oil palms are grown commercially. Potassium deficiency is by far the most common deficiency in various plants from the family Arecaceae (Broschat, 2009). However, in the nursery phase, potassium deficiency is less common than nitrogen deficiency. ...
... Symptoms vary according to species and severity. In many species, the earliest symptoms consist of yellow-orange and necrotic spots on the oldest leaves (Broschat, 2009). Sufficient nutrient content in the soil does not guarantee that oil palm roots in sufficient quantities will absorb these nutrients. ...
Article
Full-text available
Fertilizer can be applied through soil and leaves. Fertilizer application through leaves is more effective than soil application due to faster nutrient absorption. This study aims to determine the effectiveness of applying various foliar fertilizer compositions on the growth and performance of oil palm seedlings. The research was conducted from April 2020 to September 2020 at the Oil Palm Nursery Unit at Politeknik Negeri Lampung. A single factor in a completely randomized design with four replications was used in the experiment. The treatment involved the nutrient composition of foliar fertilizer consisting of five levels, namely control (no fertilizer), NPK 20-15-15, NPK 27-18-9, NPK 11-8-6, and NPK 27.5-5.5-4.8. Measurements were made on seedling height, stem diameter, number of leaves, leaf greenness, rachis length, and leaflet length. The data were analyzed by means of variance, followed by orthogonal contrast if the result was significantly different. The results showed that the application of foliar fertilizers could increase the growth of seedling height, stem diameter, number of leaves, leaf greenness index, rachis length, and leaflet length. Generally, a foliar fertilizer application gives better results than without a foliar fertilizer application (control). There was no difference in the powder and liquid foliar fertilizer effect on increasing the growth of oil palm seedlings. The formulation of NPK 20-15-15 and NPK 11-8-6 foliar fertilizer had a better effect on the leaf greenness index of oil palm seedlings.
... The present study shows that body length and mesothorax depth of adults of both sexes are greater in plantations with a high diversity of palm species and frequency of fertilizer use. Both variables modulate the nutritional environment in ornamental palm plantations since likely indicate availability, nutritional content, and predictability of host species [52,63,64]. This highlights the significance of palm species composition in plantations since certain palm species are potential or previously reported hosts for R. palmarum [31,65,66]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Insect pests show phenotypic plasticity as a function of resource availability and limiting conditions. Although Rhynchophorus palmarum displays high variation in certain morphological traits, it is still not clear how and which of these are being filtered along agricultural management gradients in palm plantations. This study assesses the influence of biophysical structure of ornamental palm plantations and agrochemical use on morphological traits of adults in 15 permanent plots of ornamental palm plantations in Veracruz, Mexico. A total of 4972 adults were and their body length, pronotum width, rostrum length, and mesothorax depth were measured. Body length and mesothorax depth of adults of both sexes were greater in plantations with a high diversity of palm species and frequency of fertilizer use. Rostrum length of females increased as a function of palm density, and pronotum width of both sexes was positively related with the use of insecticides. Local characteristics of agricultural management of palm plantations might filter integrated, adap-tative, and environment-specific phenotypes. This is the first ecological study of the south American palm weevil that provides new insights on the current intensive management of ornamental palm plantations that far from controlling, benefits current geographic expansion, demographic outbreak, and economic impact of this pest.
... This information corroborates the data of the present work. Broschat (2009) reports that the leaching and insolubility of nutrients in containers are not very problematic, due to the retention resulting from the acidic pH of substrates. However, organic substrates limit nitrogen levels, which is considered by this author the most important nutritional problem in the production of palm trees in containers. ...
Article
Full-text available
Butia odorata is an endangered palm tree native of southern Brazil and Uruguay with great food and ornamental potential. The lack of phytotechnical information hinders the commercial production of their seedlings. The aim of this work was to test doses of fertilization on the formation of B. odorata seedlings and tolerance to salinity levels in the substrate. The seedlings were cultivated in containers, submitted to control and four doses of fertilizer per liter of substrate. We evaluated stem diameter, number of leaves and pinnate leaves, electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of the substrate. The experimental design was in random blocks with 10 plants per treatment. Dry density, air space, and total pore space of the substrate were within the ideal ranges, such as EC and pH, without a significant trend for these last two variables in relation to the doses of fertilizers. Throughout the experiment, the pH remained adequate, except for higher dosage treatments that acidified the substrate. EC increased gradually, except for control treatment. There was a significant difference between treatments and blocks for plant variables, with the second access plants presenting larger stem diameter. The dosages that induced higher responses were 0.6 and 1.2 g L-1 with EC corresponding to 5 mS cm-1, which is possibly the limit of salts in the substrate tolerated by the species. B. odorata responded positively to the fertilization during the formation of the seedlings. However, until the juvenile phase, its development is impaired if EC reaches 5 mS cm-1.
... In severe cases, new leaves may develop almost white in colour, with extensive leaf tip necrosis. Because Fe tends to accumulate in older leaves [5], symptomatic leaves may green up as they mature. Common symptoms of Zn deficiency are stunted plant growth; poor tillering; development of light green, yellowish, bleached spots and chlorotic bands [6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study aimed to determine the status of essential Cu, Fe and Zn in the leaflets of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) (age > 20 years), and to determine the ecological risk assessment of Cu and Zn in the habitat topsoils collected from four sampling sites (House area (HA); Forest; Factory; Roadside (RS)) from Lekir oil palm plantation, in 2014. By comparing to the nutrient guidelines by Fairhurst and Mutert (1999), for Cu levels in the OP leaves, HA and RS sites are categorised as ‘Deficient’. The Factory site is categorized as between ‘Optimum’ to ‘Excessive’. The Forest site is categorized as between ‘Deficient’ to ‘Optimum’. For Zn levels in the OP leaves, both Factory and Forest sites are categorised as ‘Optimum’. The HA site is categorized as between ‘Optimum’ to ‘Excessive’, and ‘Excessive’, while the RS site is categorized as between ‘Optimum’ to ‘Excessive’. The Cu and Zn levels in the habitat topsoils is categorised as ‘low potential ecological risk’. Hence, the present status of Cu and Zn levels in the leaves of OP from Lekir are inconsistent, ranging from ‘Deficiency’ to ‘Excessive’, depending on the location of the sampling sites. This seems to agree with the habitat topsoils that are considered ‘low potential ecological risk’ of Cu and Zn.
... This can incur public concern from food safety and security threats standpoints [6]. In OP, Cu deficiency instigates stunted new leaves, with reduction of leaflets size and an extensive tip necrosis following the death of the meristem [24,25]. Figure 2 shows the dependence of plant growth and yield dependence on nutrient supply [26]. ...
... Palms not adapted to Florida's sandy soils can develop nutrient deficiencies which would impact quality ratings. These deficiencies can take years to correct once visible (Broschat, 2009). While fertilization from the nursery may be enough to initially sustain a transplanted species, the absence of supplemental fertilization may manifest as deficiency symptoms as new fronds develop over time. ...
Article
Full-text available
Effect of nitrogen sources on vegetative growth and chemical contents of ornamental palms of Arenga pinnata and Butia capitata. Eman M.M. Zayed and Maiada M. El Dawayati The Central Laboratory of Date Palm Researches and Development, Agriculture Research Center, Giza, Egypt ABSTRACT Ornamental palms are one of the most important components of tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climate landscapes. Sugar palm (Arenga pinnata ) and Pindo palm (Butia capitata (Mart.), have great economic values and they are excellent palm tree for landscapes. Meanwhile, palm growth and quality are greatly affected by nutritional deficiencies. Different nitrogen sources may be preferred for use with different plant species. Since there is not enough information about fertilization treatments for most of ornamental palms, especially at early growth stages under local conditions in Egypt. Therefore, the objectives of this study is to identify the most appropriate type of nitrogen sources to fertilize ornamental palms of Arenga pinnata and Butia capitate for improving vegetative growth and successful establishment stage in transplanted from containers. Three different sources of nitrogen as ammonium sulfate at 5 g/pot, potassium nitrate at 3g/pot, and urea at 2 g/pot, were applied. The results revealed that vegetative growth parameters and chemical analysis contents of the studied palms, varied among the three treatments of nitrogen sources, the highest value of plant height, number of leaves, fresh and dry weights of leaves and roots achieved with potassium nitrate at 3g/pot. The highest values of chemical content, increased progressively by potassium nitrate and ammonium sulfate as compared with urea. It can be recommended to use potassium nitrate at 3g/pot or ammonium sulfate at 5 g/pot to improve the vegetative growth characteristics of the two ornamental palm plants. Keywords: Arenga pinnata, Butia capitata, ornamental palms, nitrogen sources, vegetative and root growth and chemical content.
Article
The red palm weevil (RPW) is a notorious phytophagous pest infesting various palm species around the world. In Malaysia, the RPW was known to cause damage on coconuts in the East Coast regions of the Peninsula and posed risks to oil palms. Thus, early detection and monitoring studies of RPW in both coconuts and oil palms by using acoustic sensors were carried out at Dungun, Terengganu and Tanah Merah, Kelantan. The smart sensor identified the presence of RPW within the coconuts and oil palms. Continuous monitoring of RPW using acoustic sensors is needed to avoid the risk of spreading of this cryptic borer, especially in oil palm plantations.
Article
Full-text available
Boron deficiency symptoms of hydroponically-grown Ficus elastica Roxb. ‘Decora’ included plant stunting, deformation of immature leaves and necrosis of terminal bud. Excessive boron caused the undersides of mature leaves to have brown, circular lesions with chlorotic halos, starting at leaf margins. Affected leaves abscised prematurely. Boron deficiency symptoms of hydroponically-grown Chrysalidocarpus lutescens Wendl. included stunted growth, chlorotic mottling and streaking of leaflets and eventual death of immature leaves and terminal bud. Inflorescences bore necrotic fruits and died prematurely. Toxicity symptoms included leaflet mottle chlorosis and premature death and tip-bum of all leaves.
Article
Full-text available
Symptoms of zinc deficiency in hydroponically-grown Chrysalidocarpus lutescens H. Wendl. included plant stunting, uniformly chlorotic foliage and very small leaves bearing stubby, clustered pinnae.
Article
Palms growing in Florida landscapes or field nurseries are subject to a number of potentially serious nutrient deficiencies. These deficiencies are described and illustrated in document ENH1018. Prevention and treatment of these deficiencies is the subject of this document. Chemical symbols used in this document are as follows: N=nitrogen, P=phosphorus, K=potassium, Mg=magnesium, Ca=calcium, Mn=manganese, Fe=iron, B=boron, Cu=copper, Zn=zinc. This document is ENH1009, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2005. ENH1009/EP261: Fertilization of Field-Grown and Landscape Palms in Florida (ufl.edu)
Article
This document describes the most common nutrient deficiencies of palms in Florida landscapes or field nurseries. See ENH1009 for fertilization recommendations for Florida landscapes and field nurseries. This document is ENH1018, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2005. ENH1018/EP273: Nutrient Deficiencies of Landscape and Field-Grown Palms in Florida (ufl.edu)
Article
Palms growing in containers are susceptible to the same deficiencies that landscape palms experience, but the relative importance of the various deficiencies as well as their causes are different. Container substrates are generally more acidic and have greater nutrient-holding capacity than Florida native soils. Thus leaching and insolubility of nutrients are much less of a problem. Also, container-grown palms are often fertilized with more complete controlled-release fertilizers or regular liquid fertilization, which prevents most deficiencies from occurring. This document is ENH1010, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2005. ENH1010/EP262: Nutrition and Fertilization of Palms in Containers (ufl.edu)
Article
Queen palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana (Chamisso) Glassman) grown in several types of sewage sludge compost media developed severe Mn deficiency symptoms. Seventy of the symptoms was correlated with DTPA-extractable Mn levels in the media and with leaf Mn content, but not with total media Mn. Compost media tied up over 70% of Mn added to samples within one hour, versus 62% or less for a pine bark, sedge peat, and sand medium. Analysis of autoclaved media samples suggested that some of the Mn tie up in garbage and yard trash composts is caused by microorganisms, but microorganisms had little effect on the binding potential of sludge and manure composts.