Symptoms of Phosphorous Deficiency

  • Reduced Growth 
  • Sometimes stunted and only evident from shortened internodes, smaller leaves, reduced shoot growth 
  • Dark green colour in some crops
  • Purpled leaves in some crops 
  • Reduced tillering in cereals 
  • Small, misshapen fruit. Can be pulpy with poor storage life 
  • Poor seed development 


  • Necessary for proper cell division and the formation of new cells 
  • Photosynthesis 
  • Sugar and starch formation 
  • Energy transfer 
  • Carbohydrate transport 

Treatment Options

Apply a good fertility program in the soil with enough Phosphorous to fulfill the needs on the crop grown and targeted yield goals. Complement with a foliar program containing high percentage of Phosphorous especially early in the season when the conditions are wet and cold or if the crops is experiencing a drought. Apply Phosphorous as well when the crop is switching from vegetative to reproductive stage. Light textured soils, sandy soils, alkaline or heavy limed soils, acidic soil rich in Aluminum and/or Iron reduce availability of Phosphorous. Also, waterlogged conditions create high demand on Phosphorous.