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Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements that are necessary for plant growth. There are several principles that apply to plant nutrition.
Additional recommended knowledge
Some elements are essential, meaning that the absence of a given mineral element will cause the plant to fail to complete its life cycle; that the element cannot be replaced by the presence of another element; and that the element is directly involved in plant metabolism (Arnon and Stout, 1939). However, this principle does not leave any room for the so-called beneficial elements, whose presence, while not required, has clear positive effects on plant growth.
Plants require specific elements for growth and, in some cases, for reproduction.
Major nutrients include:
These nutrients are further divided into the mobile and immobile nutrients. A plant will always supply more nutrients to its younger leaves than its older ones, so when nutrients are mobile, the lack of nutrients is first visible on older leaves. When a nutrient is less mobile, the younger leaves suffer because the nutrient does not move up to them but stays lower in the older leaves. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are mobile nutrients, while the others have varying degrees of mobility. Concentration of ppm (parts per million) represents the dry weight of a representative plant.
Plant uses for essential nutrients
Each of these nutrients is used in a different place for a different essential function.
Additional elements include silicon, also used only in a few select plants. Cobalt has proven to be beneficial to at least some plants, but is essential in others, such as legumes where it is required for nitrogen fixation. Vanadium may be required by some plants, but at very low concentrations. It may also be substituting for molybdenum. Selenium and sodium may also be beneficial. Sodium can replace potassium's regulation of stomatal opening and closing.
Plant nutrition is a difficult subject to understand completely, partially because of the variation between different plants and even between different species or individuals of a given clone. Elements present at low levels may demonstrate deficiency, and toxicity is possible at levels that are too high. Further, deficiency of one element may present as symptoms of toxicity from another element, and vice-versa. Carbon and oxygen are absorbed from the air, while other nutrients are absorbed from the soil. Green plants obtain their carbohydrate supply from the carbon dioxide in the air by the process of photosynthesis.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Plant_nutrition". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.