Zinc deficiency on apple?

I have a Kingston Black apple that has some weird developmental disorder going on and it has put out shoots with leaves that don’t seem to grow to full size. I planted it it from a pot this spring and it’s first growth was normal but now it is only growing these small leaves.

It almost reminds me of some sort of auxin herbicide damage (2,4-D, dicamba etc) but I haven’t sprayed any auxins in that area and I would figure drift from my neighbors yard would also show up on my other trees. (His lawn service generally does a decent job of keeping his lawn free of weeds, so I sort of doubt they are whole-sale spraying herbicides.)

I also just got back a soil report saying my soil is very low in zinc.

Could low Zn be it? Has anyone else had issues with zinc deficiency showing up like this?


Looks more like boron deficiency to me, however, low zinc can suppress uptake of boron so it might be both.


Zn is was on the very low side and boron was on the lower side. So it could be a bit of both.

This “Soil Savvy” test kit lab results were based on some proprietary ion exchange resin extraction. So it is very hard to compare these results with 99% of the extension service soil test results that use Mehlich-3 (common here for ag). Our local extension does not offer soil testing any more so this was the easiest option (purchased the kit online).

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PH is a tad high which distinctly affects uptake of iron and zinc. From what I can see, it looks like a micronutrient supplement with zinc and boron should address most of the problems. You mention that it is in a container. Is this a black container? Black plastic absorbs heat to such an extent that I avoid using it except in the greenhouse where I can control exposure to sunlight.

You might enjoy reading this. Crops do not use a large quantity of phosphorus, but what they do use is most important and the supply must be good


It was in a container, where it was doing OK, but developed the symptoms after being planted into the ground early this spring.

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Yeah, high pH and/or iron chlorosis is a thing in our neighborhood. Pin oaks in yards here are often chloritic.

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Purple stems on plants are often a sign of potassium deficiency. Even though the soil has plenty, it may not be available to the roots due to temperature. I don’t think temperature is an issue in this case, but your soil test does indicate low levels of NPK. It is particularly difficult to fertilize with a good N source as high amounts of N block absorption of K. I purchase a fertilizer from Walmart that has a good balance of NPK plus micronutrients. They usually carry it in-store. It can also be used as a foliar feed for most plants.

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