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The Purpose of Phosphate Fertilizers

By Rachel Delp
Phosphate fertilizers promote healthy blooms and root development in growing plants.

Fertilizers provide soil with nutrients, like phosphate, that are required to produce healthy gardens and abundant crops. The Fertilizer Institute reports that experts estimate one-third of the world’s food supply would not be produced without the use of commercial fertilizers.

Role in Plant Development

Phosphorus is one of the three macronutrients essential to the healthy development of plants, playing a major role in the process of photosynthesis, which transforms solar energy into chemical energy. Phosphorus promotes proper plant maturation and allows growing plants to withstand stress. It is also encourages development of healthy blooms and root growth.


Phosphorus is added to the soil either through organic means, such as animal manure, composts, bone meal and sewage sludge, or as phosphates in commercial fertilizer products. Rock phosphate is used to manufacture these fertilizers, and phosphate products commercially available include superphosphate, diammonium phosphate and polyphosphates.


Follow all instructions carefully when using phosphate fertilizers because phosphate is a source of water pollution. Overfertilizing and spilling fertilizers onto driveways and pavements are common mistakes of gardeners. Rainwater carries wasted fertilizer into storm drains and eventually lakes and rivers.


About the Author


Rachel Delp has been writing and editing for academic and medical publications since 1992. She is based in the mountains of southern Spain and her work focuses on health care, travel and culinary subjects. Her articles can be found on various websites. Delp holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with a minor in art from Moravian College.