Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Pearce

Abstract

The incidences of suspected Boron (B) deficiency have increased recently in Kentucky tobacco fields, potentially due to recent changes in management practices. The symptoms observed in the field include; hollow stalk, stunted growth, deformed or no bud formation, small slits on the lower leaf midrib and uncontrollable breaking of the midrib approximately two inches from the stalk. B is a micronutrient tobacco needs in minute amounts, however excessive additions of B could cause toxicity. The objectives of this work were to 1) establish critical points for B sufficiency, 2) describe and define B deficiency and toxicity symptoms and 3) develop field strategies to aid in the mitigation of B deficiency. A general nutrient response curve was generated utilizing solution culture experiments. The peak of the response curve appeared to occur at solution B concentration of 100 µM. Trace-levels of B contamination and small plant size in the solution culture limited the development of deficiency symptoms. Toxicity was observed at solution concentrations of 400 µM and above. Despite choosing sites with a history of B deficiency, deficiency symptoms were not observed during this study. Toxicity was observed when 0.56 kg B/ha or greater was applied as simulated transplant water treatments. No toxicity was observed when B was applied as a soil broadcast or foliar application. Recommendations are to apply B with caution as a broadcast application to avoid potential problems with toxicity. Additional research is required to refine the nutrient response curve and better understand B deficiency.