All about Zinc

Picture of two lumps and a small cube of silvery-looking zinc
By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11660410

Zinc is metal with a silvery appearance with a very slight blue tint. It is reasonably abundant in nature, most usually in the form of zinc sulphide. It shares some chemical characteristics with magnesium. Zinc has many industrial uses from doping silicon to produce semiconductor materials to producing paints, adhesives and batteries to name just a few.

In plants, zinc is used to make several enzymes and proteins. It is also used to make certain growth hormones. Its mobility within a plant is usually quite high but this mobility actually goes down as it becomes scarcer in the root-zone. Zinc can become unavailable in alkaline environments.

Zinc is a mobile nutrient within plants. A zinc deficient plant develops yellowing between the veins of leaves and brown spots amy appear. This tends to begin with the middle leaves. The leaves often grow short with discoloured tips and edges and may be twisted and distorted. The plant will usually be stunted and remain comparatively short. The length between internodes is usually reduced. Yields can be severely affected:

Picture of discoloured plant leaves due to a zinc deficiency
By Alandmanson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39551098

Although it is uncommon, zinc in excess will have a negative effect on a plant’s ability to use iron. Symptoms of an iron deficiency will often appear.