Boron's Role in plants

Boron and Plant Health

Adequate boron is a crucial factor in high crop yields and quality. Existing research indicates that boron plays a significant role in:
  • The strength of plant cell walls
  • Membrane function and cell division
  • Stimulation/inhibition of metabolic pathways
  • Development of flowers and fruit
  • Both new and reproductive growth

How Plants Use Boron

Borons role in flower production
Boron plays an important role in regulating plants’ hormone levels and promoting proper growth. Boron increases flower production and retention, pollen tube elongation and germination, and seed and fruit development. Deficiencies that might not seem to affect vegetative growth might show up in poor fruit, nut, and seed production, bud and flower drop, and poor quality crops. For example, boron deficiency can cause incomplete pollination of corn or prevent maximum pod set in soybeans.
Boron is important for plant energy
Boron is essential for normal development of root nodules in legumes such as alfalfa, soybeans, and peanuts.
Boron and Cell Wall Structure
Boron and calcium are involved in cell wall structure, and boron facilitates the movement of calcium into and within plants. For example, a peanut ailment called hollow-heart can occur when a boron shortage limits calcium movement, normal cell wall development, and cell division. 
The role of boron in nutrient transportation
Root tips, new leaves and buds, and other active parts of the plant rely heavily on adequate boron. Boron also ensures the healthy transport of water, nutrients, and organic compounds to these growing portions. A shortage of boron will show up first in these areas. For example, rosetting or stunting of plants is a common symptom of boron deficiency in alfalfa, clovers, and legumes.

Boron also affects the levels of other nutrients (eg, potassium, nitrogen, calcium) that are available for plant uptake.

Liebig’s Law of Minimums | A boron deficiency prevents absorption of essential macronutrients
Liebig’s Law of Minimums | A boron deficiency prevents absorption of essential macronutrients

Boron acts as a catalyzer for other plant nutrients

How do plants use boron?

Damien Slowik Technical Development Specialist

Educational Video

Learn the role that boron plays in plant health and which factors affect boron availability. Watch video

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 500 customers with more than 1,700 delivery locations globally. We supply 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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