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What Are the Functions of Phosphorus Fertilizer?

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What Are the Functions of Phosphorus Fertilizer?

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Overview

Gardening plants need nutrients in order to thrive and produce seeds and fruit. Some nutrients can be directly obtained from the soil in which they grow. If the soil is of poor quality, nutrients such as a phosphorus fertilizer can be added to boost the nutrition level of the soil.

Function

Phosphorus fertilizer provides one of the main nutrients of plant growth. It helps plants convert other nutrients into usable building material. (Reference 1)

Identification

Phosphorus is the "P" that is listed in the NPK balance of plant nutrients and is essential to the process of photosynthesis.

Effects

A deficiency in phosphorus will stunt the growth of a plant. It will also cause the plant to produce little or no flowers. This means no fruit in fruit-producing plants.

Types

Organic phosphorus fertilizers, such as animal manures, have been used for centuries as the ideal phosphorus source for crops. Inorganic or chemical fertilizers have evolved over the last several decades and are widely used as a nutrient supplement.

Considerations

A good nutrient fertilizer will have a high phosphorous value that is nitrate soluble as well as water soluble. It will also have a high availability percent. (Reference 1, 2)

Warning

Phosphorous fertilizer can run off into the water supply and become a major pollutant if used in excess.

References

  • Gardining Know-How
  • Understanding Phosphorus Fertilizers
  • Plant Nutrients
Keywords: phosphorus fertilizers, plant nutrients, NPK balance

About this Author

Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for Suite101. Degraff holds a Master's degree in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.

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