Zinc (Zn)

  • Zinc is one of the 13 essential elements for plant growth, and is considered a micronutrient based on the concentration required for plant growth
  • principle form of uptake: ionic form (Zn2+)
  • amount required for healthy plant growth: 20 ppm, dry soil matter
  • zinc ions primarily move through the soil via diffusion
  • excessive zinc in soil can lead to deficient iron (Fe)
  • soil conditions related to deficiencies in zinc:
    • alkaline (high pH) soil
    • sandy leached soil
    • leveled soils where subsoils are deficient in zinc are exposed on surface
    • soils frequently fertilized with phosphorous (P)
  • soil factors that affect zinc uptake by plants:
    • available levels in soil
    • temperature
    • the level of decomposition of organic matter
    • soil pH: high pH (basic/alkaline) soil decreases the plant uptake of zinc
  • plant factors that affect zinc uptake by plant:
    • hybrid or variety of plant
    • stage of growth
    • interactions with phosphorous
      • high phosphorous can interfere with zinc metabolism
      • high phosphorous can affect the uptake of zinc through the root

Roles of Zinc in Plant Functions

  • involved in enzymatic functions in energy production

Zinc Excess

  • Excess zinc can induce an iron deficiency, particularly in plants sensitive to iron

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