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My young lemon tree has yellow blotches on some of its leaves, even though the leaves are quite newly grown. This advice suggests that it's likely to be deficient in Manganese, rather than Magnesium, as the older leaves look ok.

Whenever possible, I use organic methods in the garden, so I would really appreciate advice consistent with organic gardening principles. How likely is it that some regular (home made) garden compost could help resolve this? Is there a mulch of some particular plant high in Manganese that I could apply?

Any other suggestions would be appreciated too

manganese deficient lemon tree leaves

  • soil ph and percentage of organic matter affect the uptake of micronutrients. Do you know your soil ph? – kevinsky Jan 26 '14 at 0:41
  • No, I don't unfortunately, @kevinsky. It's a silty but well drained soil. Perhaps I should be investing in a pH meter. – Highly Irregular Jan 26 '14 at 4:19
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Lack of water can cause this - if the soil drains freely and dries out, any available manganese is rendered unavailable, so that's one factor to consider, because it means that the soil might not be deficient, it's just your plant can't access it.

As Kevinsky says, ph is important too - if the soil is very acid, manganese won't be taken up, causing this kind of chlorosis. Optimum ph levels for citrus plants is roughly between 6-8.

Garden compost is always a good thing to use on the soil, but how high or not it is in manganese is impossible to say, plus there are synergistic events which mean supplementing with just one mineral won't necessarily correct the problem. The first and usual treatment for these problems is to test/correct the soil ph (adjustment is difficult in open ground), or, less likely, to adjust water availability.

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