Calcium Nutrition of Potatoes ... Problems and Potential Solutions (1990) - 3 pages
Adequate calcium (Ca) is a critical aspect of the mineral nutrition of potatoes. Calcium is involved in both the structure and function of all plant cell walls and membranes. Inadequate supplies of calcium cause growth abnormalities like internal brown spot and hollow heart. Adequate calcium nutrition can also improve skin colour in red potatoes while reducing problems with blackspot bruising and buckskinning. Abundant tissue calcium also increases the tubers’ resistance to attack by soft rot bacteria during storage and may improve the performance of seed potatoes.
The soil test recommendation for Ca for potato production is around 300 ppm (600 #/a) and most soils in Saskatchewan contain 2 or 3 times the critical level of Ca. Deficiencies can occur, especially on the sandy soils preferred in potato production. Growers are urged to have the Ca levels of their soils tested - especially when moving onto a new field. Problems with calcium deficiency may still arise in fields that appear to have abundant Ca. This reflects the nature of Saskatchewan soils as well as the manner in which Ca is absorbed and subsequently allocated within the potato plant.
While Saskatchewan soils tend to be rich in Ca, they may also contain very high levels of potassium (K). This superabundance of K in the root zone may competitively interfere with Ca uptake.