Boron Deficiency in Sugar cane
Boron is the most often deficient micronutrient in sugarcane plantations. Boron’s primary role in sugarcane is to act as a key component in a number vital process as metabolism of carbohydrates and transport of sugars through membranes which is highly important for sugarcane.
Boron is necessary for:
- Synthesis of nucleic acids
- Formation of cells walls
- Cell division
- Proper development of leaves
The first symptoms appear as small, narrow watery spots which develop parallel to the vascular bundles on the young leaves, resulting in a distinct striping. The lesions soon enlarge and the leaf tissue may later separate forming a fracture, the inner edge of which is serrated. Leaf tips can become necrotic, apical growth is retarded, and the young leaves are small, narrow and somewhat chlorotic. Internal brownish streaks frequently develop at, and slightly below, the growing point. Young plants are bunched with many secondary stalks. The spindle leaves turn white and dry out.
Note that “pokkah boeng,” a disease caused by Fusarium monoliforma and injury from the herbicide Dalapon, can cause symptoms similar to boron deficiency.
How much boron is enough?
Sugarcane plants remove significant amounts of boron from the soil each year. Once a plant shows signs of deficiency it cannot fully recover. Always consult local department of agriculture to check the proper dose rates.
Rates of boron fertilization should be based on yield goals along with soil tests and/or plant analyses.
Timing your boron application
- Boron may be applied in dry or fluid blends. With dry bulk blend fertilizer, broadcasting before planting is recommended, using Granubor® 2.
- Boron may be applied broadcast in a semicircle around the plant using Fertibor®.
- Boron in liquid fertilizers may be broadcast, or fertigated using Solubor®. This material may also be mixed with pesticides or, in aqueous spray, applied to foliage.