Who hasn’t heard the phrase that an excess of anything is harmful? The same goes with plants. We say overfeeding is etched deep into human attributes and it keeps happening conscious or unconsciously.
People always think that their plants need extra food, that perhaps another tablespoon of fertilizer will trigger sudden growth. However, this is always wrong and has adverse effects because plants create their own food through photosynthesis.
The two most common mistakes people make while caring for plants is overwatering and overfertilization. We all want our plants to look healthy but overfeeding does more harm than underfeeding. The plant is dying without you knowing or even noticing. That’s why it’s important to know the common symptoms and signs of overfeeding plants so you can nip the evil in the bud.
Other Reasons you may Overfeed
- Poor drainage.
- Accumulation of slow-released fertilizers.
- Dry conditions due to less watering.
- Fertilizing throughout dormancy or rest period.
Why it’s Harmful
Overfeeding is very common because although plants synthesize their own food, people tend to think they need more fertilizer. This excess fertilizer builds up in the soil, especially the slow release ones. This build-up is the main cause of plant deaths in three ways:
- The salts in fertilizers absorb all the moisture from the soil and the roots.
- Excess fertilizer also speeds up or inhibits chemical reactions, hence interfering with the plant’s biochemical processes.
- Due to weakening, plants become susceptible to diseases and pests. Overfeeding may trigger fungal growth.
- The PH of the soil changes.
Similar symptoms may be triggered by other causes.
Signs of Overfeeding Plants
Here are the key signs and symptoms of overfeeding:
White Deposits on Top Soil
This surely means that you are overfertilizing your plants. These are small crystalline deposits. Try removing the crusted deposits and flush the soil. Also mix some loose potting soil if the soil is clayey.
Burned Leaf Margins and Tips
This symptom can occur because of other factors too. If it occurs right after fertilizer application then it is likely because of overfeeding. Flush the soil.
Wilted, Curled, Deformed, or Yellow Foliage
High dosages tend to cause these symptoms.
Leaves start changing color.
The stress causes plants to lose their leaves.
Lack of Inflorescence
Heavy dosage of nitrogen causes lack of flowering and more robust foliage.
Root issues are more serious. Root rot can occur due to the excess fertilizer which in turn provides food for pathogens.
Weak Shoots and Growth
If all of the above occurs, growth is sure to be stunted.
Always remember this golden point – if these symptoms occur right after fertilizer application, then it is likely a case of overfeeding. Still, do a thorough lookout before proceeding towards remedies.
What is a simpler treatment than not overfeeding? Try to find the exact amount of fertilizer required by each plant and don’t exaggerate more than that. Also, make sure that the pot or container has proper drainage. Try to leach the soil if the overfeeding problem still remains. It is done by flooding the container. Avoid fertilizing for several weeks and transplant after a few days. Remove the damaged foliage if any.