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Banana Plant Health And Maintenance Topics This forum is for discussions of banana plant health topics such as coloration issues, burning, insects, pruning, transplanting, separating pups, viruses, disease, and other general banana plant health and maintenance issues.


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Old 07-08-2011, 09:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Calcium deficiency

I just sent some tissue samples in to get a read on how my fertilizer scheme was going and they came back very deficient in calcium. This is despite better than adequate levels of calcium in the soil. Apparently during times of water stress, the plant has trouble taking up and moving calcium within the plant. Basically the symptoms of deficiency are a deformed white cigar leaf and these crinkles on the leaves.

An excellent picture of what I was seeing

http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/nelsons/...led_leaf_1.JPG
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

Try putting a calcium based anti acid into the soil and see if that helps. (like Tums )
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

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Try putting a calcium based anti acid into the soil and see if that helps. (like Tums )

There is actually plenty of calcium in the soil, the problem this spring and early summer was uptake. When it gets dry the calcium doesn't get taken into the plant and the calcium that is already in the plant becomes immobile. My plants were able to access the water below the surface at the water table to stay alive but couldn't access the nutrients in most of the root zone because they bound tightly to the clay and OM particles. Now that the rain has started, things are really greening up
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I've had a strange problem with plants that are watered with canal water. My house in boynton beach had a sprinkler system that was fed from the canals and the same here in royal palm beach. The problem is fertilizer uptake seems slow and some plants just dont seem to do so well or go into decline. I suspect the ph is off or maybe there is something in the water ?
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

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Originally Posted by Nicolas Naranja View Post
I just sent some tissue samples in to get a read on how my fertilizer scheme was going and they came back very deficient in calcium. This is despite better than adequate levels of calcium in the soil. Apparently during times of water stress, the plant has trouble taking up and moving calcium within the plant. Basically the symptoms of deficiency are a deformed white cigar leaf and these crinkles on the leaves.
The uptake of Calcium is dependent upon several things.

First consider if it is locked up in the soil; e.g., too much chlorine from muriate of potash resulting in CaCl or too much phosphorus mineral resulting in various forms of Calcium Phosphate. Excess Aluminum and excess Mg can also be a problem.

Second, consider the pH of the soil. It needs to be in the 6 to 6.4 range but again without an excess of strong anions to inhibit the Ca+.

Third, plants generally don't uptake Calcium through the roots on its own. All other things being equal, a 3:1 ratio of Ca to Mg will work but there are plenty of other possibilities.

Since you likely have one or more of the negative situations, delivery by foliar feeding is the easiest option until you can fix the longer term problem in the soil.

Here are what I would recommend to growers out in the western U.S., perhaps you can find equivalent products from other manufacturers in Florida or the eastern seaboard:
Liquid Calcium Supplements
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I can tell you with near certainty that in my case at least it had to do with drought. The soil scientist I work with was telling me that it has been a near universal problem across many crops this year. Now that we have been deluged by 8 inches of rain in 2 weeks, the plants are greening up. The whole Ca:Mg ratio hypothesis has been well researched here in the 'glades and it has been determined to not be applicable to our conditions. All bets are off when your soil has > 30% Organic Matter.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

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I can tell you with near certainty that in my case at least it had to do with drought.
Sorry, I assumed you were irrigating.
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I do irrigate, but we have seepage irrigation. Quite often the top few inches of soil is powder dry, but there is moisture 1' below the surface and 3' below the surface you have saturated conditions. I would also note that my well established trees closer to the ditches never showed any signs of deficiency.
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

At least the problem is correcting itself after rainfall! Bio-life in the soil breaks down minerals in the soil, but they need adequate moisture for that process to work, (as evidenced in your situation). With greater than 30% organic matter, they have a nice comfortable home. It makes sense that after the rains started and moisture returned to the root zone,(top 6-8" where most of the biological life is), things started to correct themselves.

I have noticed a similar calcium deficiency issue in my yard on some,not all, of my bananas in years past. Mostly the Manzano's would get the" end of an umbrella hook" on the cigar leaf and crinkled leaves. Classic cal-def symptoms. Added calcium to the soil has so far solved the problem, the yard is never without irrigation though. I also have a good amount of organic matter in the soil to supply the Bio-life a good home.

A simple fix, like some badly needed rain, is awesome when it finally arrives!
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I have had problems with a certain kind of elephant ear which grows very big but not for me. I found out that 2 of the places that have these big elephant ears were at one time an oyster shell drive way. So the other day I stopped by the oyster house and got a few shells and crushed them up and mixed in the soil around my elephant ears and they are putting out new leaves. I am thinking they like the calcium but who knows. So we'll see what happens
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I irrigate at my house and I can tell you for sure it's just not the same thing as getting rainfall. I had been drip irrigating my pineapples and they just weren't thriving despite fertilization but now that it is raining on a regular basis they have really jumped. Of course I think rainwater has a pH of 5.0-5.6 versus my tap water which is about 6.5-7.0.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NANAMAN View Post
At least the problem is correcting itself after rainfall! Bio-life in the soil breaks down minerals in the soil, but they need adequate moisture for that process to work, (as evidenced in your situation). With greater than 30% organic matter, they have a nice comfortable home. It makes sense that after the rains started and moisture returned to the root zone,(top 6-8" where most of the biological life is), things started to correct themselves.

I have noticed a similar calcium deficiency issue in my yard on some,not all, of my bananas in years past. Mostly the Manzano's would get the" end of an umbrella hook" on the cigar leaf and crinkled leaves. Classic cal-def symptoms. Added calcium to the soil has so far solved the problem, the yard is never without irrigation though. I also have a good amount of organic matter in the soil to supply the Bio-life a good home.

A simple fix, like some badly needed rain, is awesome when it finally arrives!
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I just returned home after being gone for 13 days. The difference in growth of all the plants is astounding! I agree with you Nicolas, the only thing different is the amount of rain we have had and it sure came at a good time. Before I left, my shallow irrigation well started sucking air and I had to shut it off. Without rain or irrigation, I'd hate to see what the yard looked like when I returned. Instead there is a new bunch of naners and a few ripe pineapples to sample. Also the blueberry plants look like they have had at least a foot of new growth. It's almost unbelievable.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

This has been a really informative thread. It's confirmed one of my main suspicions, which was that plenty of calcium in the soil doesn't necessarily mean plenty of calcium in the plants. I know there is plenty of calcium in my soil because I added a bunch of gypsum over the last several months, but many of my plants still have significant calcium deficiency symptoms -- crinkled leaves, bent midribs, floppy cigar leaves, etc. My soil is moist and covered in a thick layer of mulch, so I'm not exactly sure how to make the calcium more available to the plants. The symptoms are worst when and where the plants are growing fastest, which indicates to me that they just can't transport calcium fast enough into the new tissues. I guess I'll try a foliar feeding of calcium, though I don't remember it helping much when I tried it months ago.
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

Yep, that is what it looks like, based on the photos I've seen. Note that from what I can tell, boron deficiency is indistinguishable from calcium deficiency by the symptoms. Turned out that my plants had boron deficiency. The improved when I added boron and get worse when I added calcium.
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Old 06-21-2013, 02:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

Some of my young plants experienced this when I overfertilized them. It corrected itself though in that case. My Namwah still seems to be suffering from a rather mild case of it though. Newly emerged leaves are chlorotic and leaf emission rate is decreased. Should I get a calcium supplement or let the problem correct itself (since I know that this is rather common in late spring/early summer in subtropical regions). I gave it some fish emulsion and seaweed extract today as well as part of my monthly fertilization regime. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:03 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Calcium deficiency

I would try a foliar spray of a complete micronutrient product, but I wouldn't add calcium without having done both soil and tissue analysis tests.

I found that seaweed extract worsened the problem because it increased the rate of growth (through the growth stimulating chemicals in it). The problem is caused by insufficient calcium and/or boron in the tissues, which may be inadequate in the soil, or adequate but being transported too slowly into the newly formed tissues.

I think it is very difficult to diagnose whether the problem is caused by deficient calcium or boron just by how the plant looks. Guessing which it is and adding the wrong one will exacerbate the problem because each affects the uptake of the other. In short, I wouldn't add just calcium. Add both calcium and boron, or neither. Personally, based on my various "experiments" in my yard, I would neither. Instead, apply a complete micronutrient foliar spray (which includes boron) and see if that helps.

I think you can't really figure out what the real problem is without having both a soil analysis and a tissue analysis done. As Nick as pointed out, even when there is sufficient calcium in the soil, for example, certain environmental conditions (e.g., dry soil) can make it inaccessible to the plant. Adding more calcium to the soil in that case won't help.
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