Soil Nutrients Deficiency and Replenishing

Soil Nutrients

It’s true that plants grow from the top-down. In other words, it uses water and carbon dioxide from the air to grow. But you can’t remove key nutrients like:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)

Because if you deplete the soil from these nutrients, this deprives the plants from growing. For example, this is common in crop production and tree harvesting areas.

This is why farmers rotate crops and allow periods of rest or “fallow” to replenish soil with nutrients. If they can’t do it this way, then farmers use chemical and natural fertilizers to replace nitrogen.

Nutrients from soil organic matter

Plants absorb nutrients directly from soil organic matter. For example, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are vital for plant survival. Together, these three soil nutrients make up NPK.

To a lesser extent, plants need calcium (Ca), sulfur (S) and magnesium (Mg) from the soil. But how do these nutrients contribute to plant growth?

Element Major Uptake Source Purpose
Nitrogen (N) Soil organic matter from soluble NO3 and NH4; Atmospheric N2 from nitrogen fixing species Chlorophyll and plant leaf development and every day functions from DNA, RNA and proteins.
Phosphorus (P) Soil organic matter; Soluble phosphorus. Root growth and helping withstand environmental stress.
Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) Soil organic matter: Soluble K+, Soluble Ca3+, Soluble Mg2+ Plant strengthening, growth and disease resistance.

Rocks, Minerals and Soils

Earth is covered with rocks. From sedimentary, to igneous and metamorphic. Explore the various types of rocks on Earth.

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