Boron Deficiency in Sugar Cane
Although boron is essential to the health and quality of sugar cane, it’s often the most deficient micronutrient in sugar cane plantations. Boron plays a crucial role in a number of vital processes and is highly important for sugar cane yield.
Fertilizing sugar cane plants with adequate boron is necessary for:
- Synthesis of nucleic acids
- Metabolism of carbohydrates
- Formation of cell walls
- Transportation of sugars through the cell membranes
- Cell division
- Proper development of leaves
The first symptoms of boron deficiency appear as small, narrow watery spots developing 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 with a serrated inner edge. Sugar cane 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 sugar cane 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.