My soil is lacking boron, what do I do?

Q.

Hi, I have had a soil test done and it shows that my soil is lacking boron, what should I do to correct this? Thanks.

Lee-Ann

A.

Hi Lee-Ann, boron is referred to as a trace element or micronutrient, plants require micronutrients in small amounts, they help correct nutrient deficiencies in the soil and promote healthy growth. If one micronutrient is not there, another will take its place, but the plant won't grow and produce as well without it. Plants need boron for cell division, vegetative and reproductive growth in the most minute amounts, too much boron can be toxic to plants so it is all about balance. Plants need calcium in the soil to absorb boron, but, too much calcium can also lock up boron (calcium is sourced from lime, dolomite lime, and gypsum). There should be sufficient boron in the trace elements of an all purpose or general garden fertiliser, it is present in tap water, compost or other organic matter used to replenish the soil. Deficiencies can be corrected by applying trace elements/micronutrients available from garden centres, or by using borax (as in washing soap) from a chemist, DIY store, or you may even get it at the supermarket. Apply as a foliar spray mixed at a rate of ½ a teaspoon per 500ml of water once a year. Plants that are heavy boron users are cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, brussel sprouts, apples, grapes and pears. Lianne.

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