Essential Plant Nutrients

Essential Plant Nutrients

There are many essential plant nutrients that our bodies need to live. Most plants depend on the four elements water, sun, nitrogen, and potassium for growth and development. When we take a look at the nutritional content of different vegetables or fruits, we can see that they have been carefully selected for their plant nutrients. It is not a random assortment of different vegetable ingredients that you see in grocery stores and health food stores.

1. Copper

Copper is one of the most important of the essential plant nutrients. Copper is found in greater quantities in seaweed and the feces of animals. Plants in soil with a high amount of copper usually grow better and have a longer growing period.

2. Phosphorus

Phosphorus is one of the four elements in the food pyramid. The other elements are potassium, sulfur, and calcium. Phosphorus is needed to make ATP, which is the energy source for living cells. Plants grown in rich soils have a higher concentration of phosphorous and do better than plants in poor soils.

2.1 Deficiency of Phosphorus

Some plants lack phosphorous. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that is very important to plant growth and development. Many plants including beans, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, tomatoes, yams, legumes and others have less than necessary amounts of phosphorous. In order to make up for the deficiency in phosphorous the plants consume phosphorous-rich fertilizers to compensate for the lack of phosphorous.

3. Potassium

Potassium is another important of the essential nutrients. It is used by plants for respiration, growth, and for the absorption of other nutrients. Plants do not produce their own potassium, however. Potassium can be obtained from water or soil through the breakdown of rocks. Rich soil has a large amount of potassium and does not need to be fertilized with synthetic fertilizer. So, in areas where there is enough potassium in the plant growth and productivity are stimulated.

4. Sulfur

Sulfur is one of the essential amino acids that are missing in a plant’s body. In order for the plant to thrive sulfur has to be present. There are some reasons for the lack of sulfur in plants. They include the reduction of soil fertility, too much salt or poor soil structure.

4.1 Deficiency of Sulfur

Plants with sulfur deficiencies are not able to produce enough healthy seeds and blooms. The soybean, cottonseed, wheat, corn, canola and rice all have deficiencies of sulfur. Soybean is one of the most popular food crops grown because it is high in protein, has good carbohydrates and fats and is an excellent source of complete protein. Because soybeans have less nitrogen they need to be fed often compared to other crops.

5. Role of Soil in Providing Nutrients

Soil plays a crucial role in providing most of the earth’s essential plant nutrients. Soil provides a steady amount of plant-based foods necessary to live. Plants get most of their nourishment through soil. The soil in turn supplies humus, a soluble organic fertilizer that is rich in plant nutrients and aids in plant growth. However, poor quality soils may not provide adequate supplies of some of the key plant nutrients or they may not be very effective in promoting plant growth.

5.1 Main Nutrients from Soils

Soil may also contain several essential soil minerals, including sulfur, potash, calcium, boron, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. Potassium and phosphorus are essential for plant growth, but not other nutrients. Iron, on the other hand, is an essential mineral for humans, but not other animals or plants. Soil minerals are lost through chemical processes, loss during evaporation, and weathering.

5.2 Soil Fertility by Nutrient

One of the keys to plant nutrition is the soil fertility. In addition to the plant nutrients in the soil has to be fertile in order for plants to grow well. The soil fertility can be improved through various techniques. One of the techniques is the use of organic materials to improve the soil.

6. Avoid Deficiency of Nutrients

To avoid having a deficiency of any of the above micronutrients you should ensure sufficient amounts of each in your diet. You should also ensure that you are getting all the required micro-nutrients that are important to your plants. For example leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower have significant amounts of potassium, which can help protect against a deficiency of magnesium. When purchasing a new vegetable take time to read the labels to find out what nutrients are in the product and check that you are getting a sufficient amount of these micronutrients.

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