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Manganese Importance to Healthy Plant Growth

Manganese (Mn) is one of the 17 elements essential for plant growth and reproduction. It is needed in only small quantities by plants, but like other micronutrients, Mn is ultimately as critical to plant growth as the major nutrients. Manganese in Plants The normal concentration range of Mn in plants is typically from 20 to 300 ppm. When the Mn concentration falls below 15 to 20 ppm, deficiency often occurs (Table 1). 
Manganese (Mn) is one of the 17 elements essential for plant growth and reproduction. It is needed in only small quantities by plants, but like other micronutrients, Mn is ultimately as critical to plant growth as the major nutrients. Manganese in Plants The normal concentration range of Mn in plants is typically from 20 to 300 ppm. When the Mn concentration falls below 15 to 20 ppm, deficiency often occurs (Table 1).

Crop  
Mn sufficiency range, ppmResponsiveness
Corn
30-150 
Medium 
Soybeans
20-100  
High
Alfalfa 
30-100
 Medium
Wheat 
20-200       
High
Sugar beets 
30-150
High
Sorghum
18-190  
High
Cotton
25-350 
Low
Potatoes           
30-200
Medium

Manganese in Soils
The Earth’s crust is about 0.11 percent Mn. Total Mn in soils generally ranges from about 20 to 3,000 ppm (0.002 to 0.30 percent), but only a fraction of this total is plant-available. The most common form of Mn in soil solution is Mn2+, which is often complexed by organic compounds. The concentration of Mn2+ in soil solution is highly pH dependent, with levels decreasing by about 100x with each unit of pH increase. Thus, plant-available Mn increases as soil pH decreases, so deficiencies are more likely to occur in alkaline soils. On the

Manganese Deficiency Symptoms
Manganese, like many other micronutrients, is immobile in plants. This is an important point because it means that deficiency symptoms will first appear on younger leaves since the plant cannot easily scavenge Mn from older tissue. Some crops are more susceptible than others to Mn deficiency. Sensitive crops include soybeans, small grains, peanuts, cucurbits, onions, peas, radishes, and beans. Symptom descriptions for selected crops are given below.

Soybeans: 
Upper leaves first become chlorotic between the veins while veins remain green. Newer leaves become pale green first and then pale yellow. As the deficiency becomes more severe,
brown, dead areas appear. Some, but not all research has indicated that glyphosate-ready soybeans may be more responsive to Mn addition than conventional varieties

Crop Response to Manganese
A soybean trial in Indiana compared a zero Mn control to foliar applications of chelated Mn and MnSO4, as well as various soil applications. Soil applications of Mn included broadcast, in-furrow, and placement with an acid-forming starter fertilizer. A treatment
with starter only (no Mn) was also included. Foliar application of MnSO4 was consistently the most effective means of correcting
Mn deficiency in soybeans in this experiment.




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