While fruit and vegetables are prone to suffering the effects of nutrient deficiencies, it is relatively rare for hedge plants – especially when established – to be troubled to the same extent.
If your hedge is showing similar symptoms to those detailed below, the chances are that it’s been recently planted in a soil with the wrong pH or it has too much or too little water, sun or shade.
Here, though, is a quick roundup of the most common problems associated with nutrient deficiency:
• Nitrogen is highly soluble so can easily leach away.
Symptoms: Yellow foliage, possibly tinged with pink, and/or weak lanky growth
Action: Apply a high nitrogen fertiliser such as poultry manure or sulphate of ammonia. For a long term solution apply good quality organic mulch.
• Potassium enables plants to control water uptake and to photosynthesise successfully. It is easily washed away on chalky and sandy soils while is held in clay
Symptoms: Leaves acquire a yellow or purple tiny and brown edges. Flowering / fruiting is compromised
Action: Apply a high potassium (K) fertiliser. Sulphate of potash or proprietary tomato feeds are ideal.
Phosphorus deficiency is rare and generally restricted to clay soils in areas of heavy rainfall.
Symptoms: Foliage dulls and turns yellow. Growth slows
Action: Apply a high phosphate fertiliser such as bone meal
Hedging plants are not prone to magnesium deficiency – the two most common causes are the over-application of high potassium fertilisers and leeching on sandy soils.
Symptoms: Foliage turns yellow between the veins occasionally accompanied by red/brown tinting and early leaf drop
Action: Spray Epsom salts fortnightly in summer.
Hedging plants rarely – if ever – succumb to deficiencies of three important trace elements: Molybdenum, Boron and Manganese.