Fertilizer And Soil Nutrition: Role Of Nutrients In Plant Growth

snerfuStarred Page By snerfu, 6th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Maintenance

Soil nutrition determines growth potential in any area. If the soil is rich in nutrients, the growth of plants is abundant. The grouping of fertilizers that help enrich the soil is done according to their chemical composition. Each nutrient has a different role to play in growth of plants.

Soil nutrition content

Soils need nutrition to sustain plant growth. Soils undergo depletion of their nutritive content through leaching and over use. Fertilizers help replenish soils. Chemical fertilizers constitute the inorganic or synthesized group of fertilizers. The other group consists of organic fertilizers. Plants includes all kinds of kitchen garden plants, fruits, vegetables and flowering plants.

Nutrients found in fertilizers

Just as man requires food for maintaining his metabolic process, plants require certain essential nutrients. Of these, one portion comes from water and air. These are Oxygen, Carbon and Hydrogen. The second portion of the nutrients comes from the soil and from fertilizers. These undergo classification again into micronutrients and macronutrients.

Sites where nutrients find use

Potassium (K), Nitrogen (N), Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulphur (S) constitute the macronutrients. The plants in greater quantities require these. Molybdenum (Mo), Boron (B), Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Cobalt (Co), Chlorine (Cl), Manganese (Mn) and Copper (Cu) form the elements in the micronutrient group. Most fertilizers find use in diverse places such as home kitchen gardens, nurseries, forests, land reclamation sites, riverbanks roof top gardens, botanical gardens and National Parks. Along with water, fertilizer needs replenishment in the soil regularly since they will undergo depletion fast.

Grouping of fertilizers

Grouping of chemical fertilizers takes place according to the amount of element it contains. Thus, we have nitrogen fertilizers, potassium fertilizers and phosphorus fertilizers. One can also group them according the nature of the mix – physical a) straight fertilizers and b) compound fertilizers and chemical – complex fertilizers.

Testing soils for nutritive value

Soil testing gives one a correct picture regarding the nutrition value of a soil. It may be alkaline, neutral or acidic according to their pH values. Further, the soils may also have sufficiency or deficiency in some particular micro or macro nutrient. Soil conservation techniques include afforestation and forming bunds on hill slopes. Crop rotation and use of compost soil, as fertilizer has proved successful in many parts of India.

Mulching and compost

Preparing a compost pit is easy. All you need is some place in the corner of your garden and some effort to keep the waste organic matter within it. Next, you have let the organic material decompose thoroughly. After this has occurred, you have to dry the soil out by spreading it on the surface. Mulching is another easy method of enriching garden soils. This practice finds wide use in gardens where cutting of tree branches takes place regularly. Grass obtained after mowing lawns too provides material useful for mulching.

Nitrogen and phosphorus

Though the atmosphere fixes nitrogen, it is lost quickly because it escapes as gas. Plants require nitrogen in large amounts since it forms an essential element in the growth of leaves. Phosphorus forms one of the vital parts of DNA, memory unit in genes of all living things including plants. Plants deficient in phosphorous exhibit stunted growth.

Potassium nutrient

Many factors influence the phosphorus content of soils. Among them the most pertinent ones are:
a) Climatic conditions of the place
b) Kind of parent material from which the soil originated
c) Kind of crop grown
d) Degree of fertilization
e) Amount of weathering or erosion
Potassium plays a vital role in photosynthesis as it plays an important part in the opening and closing of stomata and thus regulates carbon dioxide intake. It regulates the intake of water too. Synthesis of protein and starch in plants takes place in the presence of potassium. It activates growth related enzymes in the plants. Potassium helps in the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) essential ingredient in many processes. Potassium deficiency is show as yellowing of leaves (Cholrosis), stunted growth, lowered resistance to drought and defoliation.

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Fertilizer, Growth, Nitrogen, Nutrient, Nutrition, Phosphorus, Plant, Potassium, Soil

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author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
6th Feb 2015 (#)

Snerfu, great article and thank you for sharing it. I simply cannot wait for spring to arrive. Right now we have lots of snow covering the garden area.

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author avatar snerfu
9th Feb 2015 (#)

Woow Nancy, I get the shivers when you mention snow. I too hope spring arrives fast. Nice to see you around again.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
11th Feb 2015 (#)

Chemical fertilizers can be harmful, so organic ones should be the way forward. Thanks for this educational post Snerfu - siva

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