calcium in soil
Fri, May 14, 2021

Visual Identification of the Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency and Causes of Its Occurrence

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Visual Identification of the Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency and Causes of Its Occurrence Article Preview
calcium in soil


For normal growth and development, it needs sources of calcium for plants or a balanced diet, which is provided by macro and microelements. The lack of calcium in the soil or that element leads to the occurrence of physiological disorders and to the defeat of plants by non-infectious diseases or even to death.

One of the important elements to look out for early in the season is organic calcium fertilizer. Plants that need calcium and the influence of calcium on the quality and volume of the harvest are most often associated with disturbances during the period of fruit ripening and storage. Meanwhile, the role of calcium and excessive calcium in soil in plant nutrition is much broader and is most often underestimated. As a rule, the application of this fertilizer occurs only in a situation of acute shortage, when there is already a decrease in plant productivity and fruit quality. This is an unacceptable practice since its role in the “control” of various processes in plants is much broader.

How to give plants calcium and how to increase calcium in soil? Calcium is involved in many metabolic processes within the plant. It is essential for the formation of a good structure of cell walls and their division but not calcium deficiency in plants. It affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein substances. The need for calcium is manifested at the earliest stages of growth, it is necessary for the construction of the plant. The lack of calcium inhibits the processing and assimilation of reserve nutrients (starch, proteins), which are used by seedlings, young leaves, and growing shoots. Calcium in plants is part of the cell walls. Approximately 90% of the calcium in the plant is located in the cell walls, where it serves as a binding factor. Too much calcium in soil reduces the susceptibility of plants to disease.

Why Do Plants Need Calcium?

Calcium for plants is needed throughout the entire growth period, but especially in the flowering and fruiting phases. This once again emphasizes the clear relationship between the calcium supply of plants and the intensity of metabolic processes. The transport of Ca 2+ ions occurs through the redox systems of the plasmolem and ion pumps of the AT-phase nature. Their role in calcium soil amendment is to create the electrochemical potential of ions on the plasma membrane, through which other ions suddenly enter the cells. If there is nitrate nitrogen in the soil solution, then the penetration of calcium carbonate for plants increases, and in the presence of ammonia nitrogen (due to antagonism between Ca and NH cations), it decreases. Hydrogen ions and other cations, at their high concentration in the soil solution, also prevent the intake of calcium.

Once in the plant through the leaf, calcium ions are transported to the leaf tissue and immediately move to its edges. The ability of calcium ions to be a part of organometallic compounds is also important. In metabolic processes, fertilizer with calcium performs various functions: it participates in the construction of cell walls, hormonal reactions, and membrane stabilization. In the plant, calcium supplement for plants is in the form of phosphates, sulfates, carbonates, and also in the form of salts of pectic and oxalic acids. Most of the calcium is found in cells that are aging.

How to add calcium to soil or then how to reduce calcium in soil? Calcium for gardens can determine the availability of a number of macro and micronutrients. So, due to its antagonistic properties, potassium weakens, and sometimes even completely eliminates the harmful effects of hydrogen, manganese, ammonium, and aluminum ions on the plant.

Role of Calcium for Plants Growing

calcium for plants

Do Plants Need Calcium? Calcium Is the Main Nutrient for Plants, So It

  • participates in metabolic processes of absorption of other compounds and minerals;
  • promotes proper cell growth if you add calcium to soil;
  • strengthens the structure of the cell wall, since calcium is an integral part of the plant cell wall. It forms calcium pectate compounds that provide cell wall stability and bind cells together;
  • participates in enzymatic and hormonal processes;
  • high calcium levels in the soil help in protecting plants from heat stress improves the function of leaf gas exchange;
  • contributes to the protection of plants from diseases – numerous fungi and bacteria secrete enzymes that disrupt the cell wall of plants. The calcium-fortified cell membrane can prevent disease;
  • affects the quality of the crops grown.

It promotes the absorption of important nutrients by plants, affects the availability of a number of macro-and microelements to plants. With an increase in the amount of calcium in the soil, the supply of ammonium and molybdenum ions to the plant increases, but the mobility of manganese, zinc, boron decreases.

The lack of calcium cations in the soil leads to an increase in the acidity of the soil solution (unless the soil is saline and does not contain excess sodium).

The increased acidity of the soil impairs the growth of roots and their permeability. This leads to a deterioration in the use of soil nutrients and fertilizers by plants, a decrease in their resistance, endurance, and competitive ability to the entire range of harmful organisms, especially soil ones. The acidic reaction of the soil solution impairs carbohydrate and protein metabolism in plants, weakening protein synthesis. The number of non-protein forms of nitrogen is increasing. Metabolism shifts in a favorable direction for fungal phytopathogens. Diseases caused by fungal parasites are usually more common in acidic soils than in neutral soils. So, how to fix calcium deficiency in plants?

Mobility and Absorption of Calcium by Plants

calcium for garden

The absorption of homemade calcium for plants is a passive process and does not require additional energy costs. The mobility of calcium in plants occurs mainly in the xylem together with water, therefore its absorption is directly related to the rate of transpiration of plants.

High humidity, cold and low transpiration rates can lead to calcium deficiency. Salinization of the soil can also cause calcium deficiency, as it reduces the absorption of water by the plants.

How to add calcium to the garden? Since the mobility of calcium in plants is limited, first, calcium deficiency manifests itself on young leaves (they die off) and in fruits (a feature is the rot of buds and their fall, the development of necrosis), since the intensity of transpiration in them is low. Therefore, the nutrition of plants with calcium is necessary for their stable and long-term growth.

Lack of Calcium

Lack of calcium in the soil leads to deformation of plant cells, weak formation of integumentary tissues, abundant development of intercellular spaces, which are poorly filled with lignin. With a lack of calcium, the growth of roots slows down, they become lax and rot. Decomposed roots attract soil phytopathogens and saprophytes, being a favorable substrate for them.

The liming of acidic soils leads to a significant improvement of the soil from pathogens of fusarium and penicillium rot, scab of corms. Calcium improves the mechanical composition of the soil and, thus, improves its air and water permeability, contributing to the formation of the structure (aggregates) of the soil.

Diseases and Physiological Disorders Associated with Low Calcium

calcium in plants

Rot Bitter (Pitch)

Symptoms of bitter subcutaneous pitting on fruits appear as small pits. Initially, these places are gray or gray-green in color, over time they acquire a red or brown color.


Puffiness – softening, browning, and premature deterioration of the pulp during storage of the fruit – is also associated with insufficient calcium supply during the growth and formation of calcium-loving plants.

Cracking and Fine Weight

Cracking and small fruiting – even during the formation of the ovary, due to a violation of water metabolism and the strength of the cell walls, a rupture of the fetus can occur, which leads to the complete death of the crop. If during the growing season the fruits do not develop and do not reach the size characteristic of the variety, then the matter is most likely also in calcium deficiency.

Sun Burns

Sunburn – if there is not enough calcium in the cell sap, the water does not move actively through the plant. During hot periods, this leads to overheating of the plant and tissue burns. Thermally damaged areas appear on apples.


Vitreousness (filling) is a physiological disorder also associated with an imbalance in water balance. The cells are unnaturally overflowing with juice. Because of this, the areas of the pulp become translucent, which gave the name to the disease. Such fruits are not stored.

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