crop guides

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Cereals and Sugar Cane

Corn crops typically display irregular kernel distribution and reduced growth as initial signs of boron deficiency. Rice and other grains (such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye) can suffer from chlorosis and plant sterility. In sugar cane, lack of sufficient boron often causes lesions, necrosis, and poor leaf development.

Crops for Beverages

Misshapen leaves and malformed or dead buds and growing points are primary symptoms of boron deficiency in cocoa, coffee, hops, and tea. Boron is essential for healthy flowering and seed set, as well as successful root formation.

Drug, Fumitory, and Masticatory Crops

Stunted growth, decreased seedpod formation, and abnormal flowering can all result from boron deficiency in crops such as fenugreek, kola, poppy, and tobacco. Lack of sufficient boron can also make these plants more susceptible to fungal and bacterial problems.

Fiber Crops

Cotton yield can suffer significantly without adequate boron. Symptoms in other fiber crops include malformed or necrotic leaves as well as yellow spots and petiole collapse.

Flowers and Ornamentals

Boron deficiency can be especially devastating to flower growers. Symptoms include malformed leaves, abortive flower development, stunted stems, misshapen flower petals. Hollow stems and necrosis can also occur.

Forage Crops

Crops require adequate boron for nodulation and nitrogen fixation, as well as proper root growth. In clovers, boron deficiency typically shows up in stunted seed production, as this micronutrient is vital for proper pollen germination and pollen tube growth.

Fruit and Nut Crops

Without enough boron, fruit and nut trees typically suffer dieback of branches, premature fruit drop, and poor nut or fruit development as well as cracked or misshapen fruit. Leaf necrosis and chlorosis also occur.

Oil Crops

Coconut, oil palm, and other oil crops suffer frond and leaf malformation, particularly hook leaf and leaflet shatter. In olive crops, growers might see premature fruit drop. Peanut growers often see hollow heart as a result of boron deficiency. Similar issues affect other oil crops.

Root and Tuber Crops

Boron deficiency in roots and tubers can cause discoloration, deformation, and necrosis. Crop quality suffers as a result, and plant death can also occur.

Shade Trees for Tea

Without sufficient boron, shade trees can suffer dieback, malformed leaves, cracked bark, and excessive side-shoot growth. Silver oak trees can also suffer necrosis of the cambium.

Trees and Cover Crops

In trees, boron deficiency often causes cracked bark, malformed leaves, and branch dieback. Defoliation and death can also occur.

Vegetable Crops

Wilting shoots, poor bud development, bud death, swollen stems, and pith cavities are all signs of boron deficiency in a variety of vegetables. Plant dwarfing and death can occur. Lack of boron not only reduces yield, it can severely damage the quality of existing plants.

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 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 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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