Potassium Deficiency in Tobacco

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tobacco potassiumOver the past week, I have seen several tobacco fields that were experiencing burning leaf tips and margins on mid to upper stalk leaves. These symptoms are characteristic of potassium (K) deficiency. I think a lot of what we are seeing has to do with rapid plant growth since most tobacco is starting to flower. The plant’s root system simply can not keep up with the crop’s nutrient demands. With the recent rain, I have already seen conditions start to improve to some degree. These symptoms are more common on lighter, sandier soils due to greater leaching potential of mobile nutrients, such as potassium.

With time, the plant should find enough potassium with additional root growth to correct a deficiency. However, if you feel you need additional potassium and have access to a high clearance spreader, 100 pounds of K-Mag (0-0-22) would be a good place to start. If applied, make sure tobacco is dry to reduce likelihood of leave burn.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discriminated against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact an agent from North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Written By

Sharon Sutton, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSharon SuttonCounty Extension Support Specialist Call Sharon Email Sharon N.C. Cooperative Extension, Wayne County Center
Updated on Jun 24, 2014
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