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Mulder Diagram - Nutrient relationships (Updated)

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Mulder diagram

Table of contents: Mulder Diagram - Nutrient relationships (Updated)

Soils are very complex materials both in composition and structure. This is due not only to the granulometry and composition of the minerals, but also to the ratio of nutrients in the soil.

The Mulder diagram is a fundamental tool in agriculture and soil science, offering a deep insight into how nutrients interact with each other and affect plant growth. In this article we will take a closer look at the importance and practical applications of Mulder's DiagramThe report, illuminating how it can help farmers and scientists make informed decisions for sustainable and efficient agriculture.

Origin of the Mulder Diagram

The Mulder diagram was first published in 1953 by the Dutch scientist Cornelis Mulder in the publication "Les elements mineurs en culture fruiti├Ęre", in Spanish "The minor elements in fruit culture“.

The publication of Mulder's diagram was a milestone in the understanding of soil chemistry.

What is the Mulder Diagram and what does it represent?

The Mudler diagramillustrates the complex interactions between the various nutrients essential for plants. This diagram visualises how the presence or deficiency of one nutrient can influence the absorption and efficacy of other nutrientshighlighting the relationship between synergy and antagonism that exist among them.

This Diagram represents eleven of the most important elements in plant nutrition and relates them to each other in two ways.

  • Antagonistic Relationship: Two elements or nutrients The presence of one element in the soil, joined by an antagonism arrow, represents that the presence of one element in the soil causes another element to be in a situation where the plant's absorption is hindered.
  • Synergy Relationship: Two elements or nutrients The synergy arrow indicates that the presence of one element makes it easier for the plant to absorb another element.

The direction of the arrow indicates which element is affected, and which element is affected.

Mulder diagram Tiloom image

Mulder diagram

How are interactions between ions interpreted?

A lot of work has been done on understanding the most significant soil interactions, for example:

  • The application of too much calcium and magnesium can cause a potassium deficiency. The K/Ca and K/Mg ratio should be kept above two and below 10, as at such high ratios deficiency can result in the opposite direction. This interaction is particularly important in hard water with high calcium and magnesium.
  • Excess phosphorus interacts negatively with Zinc, Copper or Iron as it combines very easily to create insoluble molecules. Evidence has also been found that phosphate and calcium generate insoluble phosphates. Sometimes in areas close to the root where the pH increases, the interactions between elements are modified.
    But for example phosphorus acts synergistically with magnesium. So a phosphorus deficiency can lead to a magnesium deficiency for the plant, even if the magnesium in the soil is high.
  • The acidification of the root area when elements such as ammonium and nitrate are taken up causes insoluble forms to solubilise and act synergistically in microelements.
  • Calcium in the soil tends to improve aeration, whereas Mg favours the adhesion of soil particles. An excess of magnesium in relation to calcium can reduce soil infiltration.

Thanks to this type of interpretation, we can find out relations between ions such as that of the calcium magnesium, magnesium potassium, potassium calcium, potassium magnesiumetc, on the ground.

The relative proportions of the ions in the soil have very important effects on the growing medium of the crop. Plants absorb the elements dissolved in the soil water.

There are relationships of elements with much scientific consensus, such as the following:

Ratio (Ca + Mg)/K Valuation
<40 Suitable for potassium
>40 Potassium deficiency
Mg/K ratio Valuation
<1 Magnesium deficiency
Between 1 and 3 Acceptable
3 Ideal
Between 3 and 18 Acceptable
>18 Potassium deficiency

In other interactions such as the SAR,  CSRor the PSI  sodium is a major player and causes many problems for crop establishment.

Ca/K ratio Valuation
<30 Adequate
>30 Potassium deficiency
Ratio (Ca+Mg+K)/Al Valuation
<1 Need for whitewashing
>1 Suitable. No need for whitewashing

One of the most common mistakes in crop management is to fertilise based on experience alone. Soil analysis is an essential action to reduce fertiliser costs. On many occasions, over-fertilisation or fertilisation is carried out without having a clear understanding of the relationships between the elements, so that a high proportion of one element prevents the absorption of another, less abundant one.

With Tiloom you can manage the analysis of your farm or field. Soil chemistry experts will help you to manage and explain your soil situation..

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16 Responses

  1. I would like to send you the soil analyses of our farm for interpretation and recommendations; what is their cost? they are very recent.

  2. friends exelente material, me gustaria seguir interectuando con uds y ver la posibilidad enviar analisis de suelo y foliar para obtener recomendaciones y mejorar nuestro cultivo.

  3. Excellent material, I would like to ask you some questions...write to the email you have sent to other doubters!!!

  4. How is the nutrient ratio determined, e.g. Ca/Mg 2:1. or N/K 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc.

    thank you very much

  5. Greetings
    Which bibliographic references do you take as a source for the information you cited?

    Thank you!

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