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Citrus Tree Nutrient Deficiencies

At least sixteen elements are considered necessary for the growth of plants and trees: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), boron (B), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), and chlorine (Cl). Plants obtain O, H, and C from water, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and the other nutrients from the soil. Visual citrus tree nutrient deficiencies of N, Mg, Fe, Zn, and Mn are quite definite and can usually be recognized by distinctive symptoms most often occurring on leaves.





  • Light yellowish-green leaves

  • Veins are only slightly lighter in color

  • New leaves are reduced in size

  • Thin leaves

  • Light-green color

  • Thin canopy

  • Stunted growth

  • Reduced amount of fruit

Nitrogen (N) Deficiency

Citrus Nitrogen Deficiency

Foliar Micronutrients

NPK Fertilizer

  • Disconnected yellow areas

  • Irregular yellow blotches

  • Easy leaf drop

Magnesium (Mg) Deficiency

Citrus Magnesium Deficiency

Foliar Micronutrients

NPK Fertilizer

  • Iron chlorosis

  • New growth light in color

  • Almost white leaf color with green veins

  • Reduced leaf size

Iron (Fe) Deficiency

Citrus Iron Deficiency

Foliar Micronutrients

NPK Fertilizer

  • Irregular green bands along veins

  • small yellow splotches

Zinc (Zn) Deficiency

Citrus Zinc Deficiency

Foliar Micronutrients

NPK Fertilizer

  • Light green leaf with green veins

  • Band of green along midrib

  • Leaves are full size

Manganese (Mn) Deficiency

Citrus Manganese Deficiency

Foliar Micronutrients

NPK Fertilizer

The information above is referenced from HS876, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2002. Revised August 2013. Visit the EDIS website at


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