Getting to understand how nutrition works in plants gives us that extra that ends up promoting the growth of our plants and saving them from some problems such as pests and diseases. It is important to know how to differentiate the mineral contributions, as well as the response of the plant to its application. We will try to summarize all this in our article today. Let’s see how it looks;). Today in Gardenprue, we tell you a little and a little about the fertilization of plants.
HOW DO PLANTS EAT?
To answer this question we have to know how photosynthesis works. It will not be necessary to explain it because you know better than anyone how it works;). The summary is based on the fact that in order to carry out basic physiological processes (be it, stomata opening, flowering, fruiting … whatever!) You need a series of essential elements that are provided with the subscriber. These can be applied either with specific compounds that are sold in bags either in powder or granules or in cans if they are liquid, or with compost or manure, which is known as organic matter, which has a more balanced balance of compounds, especially in microelements, which we will get to know little by little.
These are as follows:
Basic nutrients: they represent 99% of the minerals that the plant can take advantage of and among them are the three basic ones: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which we will talk about later. Sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, calcium, and magnesium are also included. The contributions of hydrogen or oxygen are already made when applying other minerals so of those 2 there will be no need to worry. But of the others yes!
Have you ever heard of calcium deficiencies, magnesium or iron chlorosis (the latter more surely) or sulfur (this is quite rare)?
That they are considered as micronutrients does not exempt their application because in most cases their deficiency causes huge problems in the plant.
Nitrogen is the mineral par excellence in a plant. It is involved in cell multiplication and in the formation of amino acids, proteins, enzymes and a long etcetera. Its deficiency reduces the growth of the plant, renders the old leaves chlorotic, the plant withers and dies.
Horticultural nitrogen uptake values:
PRODUCTION (t / ha)
ABSORPTION N (kg / ha)
Showing from 1 to 10 of 21 records
Source: rational fertilization of crops (MAGRAMA)
THE PHOSPHATE FERTILIZER
Phosphorus is a great mineral component that stimulates the development of roots, favors fruit set and flowering, controls the energy expenditure of the plant and many more specific and basic functions. A good dose of phosphorus induces precocity to the plant, so that its fruits ripen more quickly.
A lack of phosphorus induces the plant to weaken, both the aerial part (which we will see) and the roots, an essential part for the acquisition of nutrients).
Potassium is closely related to photosynthesis, and you know how important it is, right? It also produces on the plant greater resistance to both pests and diseases such as droughts, frost , salinity, etc.
When the plant lacks potassium, the first thing it does is produce very small fruits, then the leaves become chlorotic and point upwards (a good way to discover this deficiency).
Eeeehh! Can this data be considered good? Yes, if all the fertilizer that we incorporate into the soil assimilates the plant 100%, which, as it seems logical, is not the case . Apart from the dose that the plant extracts of nitrogen, potassium or phosphorus, it is also necessary to include losses due to leaching or fixation to the soil, as well as the absorption of these minerals by competing plants. In short, the use is not 100% (we would like), so we have to add a little more fertilizer for each mineral. How much? We tell you right now:
Source: Reche (2008), Cabello and Cabrera (2003) and IFAPA (Almería)
With this we would have already completed most of the mineral requirements of our vegetables but … what about the rest of the minerals and micronutrients?
When we apply compost or manure, given the nature of the remains that we add to our pile or the feeding of the animals, other minerals (iron, manganese, calcium, boron, etc.) are being added to the soil, apart from the well-known NPK. contribute to completing the needs of the plant. These amounts will depend on the nature of the organic matter.
When mineral amendments are made, as the products are so specific, it is necessary to complete all the minerals based on amendments, and if at any time a mineral deficiency occurs, you can consult it in our articleto find out where the problem comes from, or also in the post of deficiencies of the plants.
We all know about iron chlorosis . The problem comes not because there is not enough iron in the soil, but because the plants cannot absorb it due to the immobilization of the mineral. The application of iron chelates has always been considered a good strategy to solve iron chlorosis problems in the short term, given its high stability.
MANGANESE, ZINC AND COPPER
Although iron chlorosis is much more famous than any of the deficiencies of these 3 compounds, iron is found in the soil in higher concentrations than manganese, zinc and copper. The problem is also that they can be immobilized in the soil due to a high pH, so the definitive solution lies in changing the pH of the soil.
The way that garden crops assimilate boron is through boric acid. Although plants need very small amounts of this mineral, there are times when the soil has even lower concentrations, which is why boron deficiency occurs . Look how organic crops have something to say since the most effective solution to correct the deficiencies of this mineral is through the contribution of organic matter.
It is quite rare that deficiencies of this mineral occur, because the crops require it in very small quantities and because special conditions have to be given in the soil for a deficiency to occur.
A pH lower than 6, that is, an acidic soil, will surely have problems with a lack of molybdenum. Ammonium molybdate or sodium molybdate added to the soil is a good way to correct the problem.