Nutrient Deficiencies in Citrus Trees

Developing a good intuition around how your tree’s leaves look will be your best bet in determining where a deficiency or deficiencies lie.  Keep your eyes peeled! Early identification will lead to a quicker course correction thereby reducing the duration of time in which your tree is unhealthy.

The recommended NPK ratio for your citrus fertilizer is 3-1-1 or 2-1-1

Nitrogen Deficient

Yellowing of the leaves may present itself when watering is an issue or your tree really needs more nitrogen. Naturally, nutrients leave the soil as they are used up by the plant or leached away it rains or you supply water.

Replenish your soil by adding more citrus fertilizer and/or amending with organic blood meal. Blood meal is rich in nitrogen while adding relatively little or no phosphorus or potassium to the soil.

Green leaf, yellow veined citrus is an early warning sign that your tree is starving from lack of nitrogen
This older Meiwa Kumquat leaf found near the bottom of the tree is yellow veined but normal green on the rest of the leaf. What gives? Chlorosis. This is an early warning sign that your tree lacks iron, nitrogen, or other nuturient and to cope with this constraint, it’ll take nutrients from older leaves and route those nutrients to support new foliage. This is a natural survival mechanism. Now that’s the problem been identified, simply add more citrus fertilizer! 90% of the time that’s all it takes.

Zinc Deficient

After identifying your tree is zinc deficient, what’s the remedy?  The percent of zinc required for healthy tree is far less than that of all macro nutrients. Most commonly, citrus fertilizer will contain a very small amount of zinc. Try applying some more of that fertilizer. Oftentimes, this is all this needed.

Read the packaging. Perhaps it’s worth finding a fertilizer with a little more zinc it than your go to citrus fertilizer to use in this situation.

Manganese Deficient


Magnesium Deficient


Potassium Deficient

Iron Deficient

Other Potential Problems