Introduction

An understanding of soil chemical properties is important because of their effect on nutrient availability to plants. Also, these properties may usually be favorably altered with the use of lime and or fertilizer materials. Many plants need 18 elements (see Table 1) for normal growth and completion of their life cycle. These elements are called the essential plant nutrients. Soil amendments containing the essential plant nutrients or having the effect of favorably changing the soil chemistry...

Frequency of Fertilizer and Lime Applications

Nitrogen is the most frequently applied nutrient in non-legume cropping systems. It must be added each year multiple applications of nitrogen during the period of crop production may sometimes be needed. For example, in hay systems, nitrogen fertilizer is added after each harvest during the growing season. Also, in many of the vegetable crop production systems, a split application of nitrogen is suggested. Your soil test report will provide a suggested frequency of nitrogen application needed...

Special Purpose Fertilizers

Special purpose fertilizers are primarily used in the small fruit and nursery industries. When shopping for fertilizer, you will find that some are packaged for very specific uses, such as blueberry food. The blueberry sometimes called rhododendron or azalea fertilizer food is one example of these specialty materials and belongs to an old, established group, the acid-plant foods. Some of the compounds ammonium sulfate is usually the acidifying ingredient used in these fertilizers are chosen...

Essential Plant Nutrients

Three elements, carbon C , hydrogen H and oxygen O , are supplied by air in the form of carbon dioxide and water. When the chlorophyll green pigments of plants are exposed to light, these three elements are combined in a process called photosynthesis to make carbohydrates, with a subsequent release of oxygen. The water is brought into the plant by root absorption from the soil system. Carbon dioxide CO2 enters the plant through small leaf openings called stomata. The rate at which...

Organic Fertilizers

In Tennessee, certification of materials for use as organic fertilizers is currently handled by the Tennessee Land Stewardship Association. The word organic applied to fertilizers usually means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains of a once-living organism. If these products are registered with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as fertilizers, they will have the fertilizer grade stated on the package labels. These labels may or may not include...

Application Methods

Application Methods Potassium

There are different methods of fertilizer application depending on the kind of fertilizer material, the cropping system and equipment used by the producer. Broadcasting A recommended rate of lime or fertilizer is spread over the growing area and left to filter into the soil, or is incorporated into the soil with a cultivator. Broadcasting is the application method generally used for large field areas, when time or labor are limited, or when it is important to obtain a unif distribution of the...

Complete versus Incomplete Fertilizer

A fertilizer is said to be a complete or mixed fertilizer when it contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium the primary nutrients . Examples of commonly used complete fertilizers are 6-12-12, 10-10-10, 15-15-15 and 20-10-10. An incomplete fertilizer will be missing one or more of the major components. Examples of incomplete fertilizers are 34-0-0 ammonium nitrate , 46-0-0 urea , 18-46-0 diammonium phosphate , 0-46-0 triple super phosphate and 0-0-60 muriate of potash . Incomplete fertilizers...

Fertilizer Label

The fertilizer guaranteed analysis or grade, stated on the bag, refers to how much of an element is in the material the guaranteed minimum quantity present based on percentage by weight. All fertilizers are labeled with three numbers which give the percentage by weight of total nitrogen N , citrate-soluble phosphorus expressed as P2O5 and water-soluble potassium expressed as K2O , respectively. Often, to simplify matters, these numbers are said to represent nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium N,...

Functions of the Essential Nutrients in Plants

Table 3 provides a brief description of the various functions of essential plant nutrients within the plant and lists the form s of the nutrient that the plant is able to obtain from the soil solution complex. Some nutrients are present in the soil solution complex as positively charged cations and others as negatively charged anions. Table 3. Functions and available forms of nutrients Table 3. Functions and available forms of nutrients Plant Available From Soil Solution Complex Promotes rapid...