A fertilizer is a natural or artificial substance containing chemical elements that improve the growth and productiveness of plants. Fertilizers enhance the natural fertility of the soil or replace chemical elements taken from the soil by previous crops.
Soil fertility is the quality of soil that enables it to provide compounds in adequate amounts and proper balance to promote the growth of plants when other factors (such as light, moisture, temperature, and soil structure) are favorable. Where the fertility of the soil is not good, natural or manufactured materials may be added to supply the needed plant nutrients. These are called fertilizers, although the term is generally applied to largely inorganic materials other than lime or gypsum.
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Fertilizers are mainly classified into two main types, organic and inorganic fertilizers.
Natural fertilizers derived from plants and animals are known as organic fertilizers. By adding carbonic molecules necessary for plant growth, it enriches the soil. Organic fertilizers boost the amount of organic matter in the soil, encourage microbial reproduction, and alter the physical and chemical composition of the soil. It is regarded as one of the essential elements for foods that are green.
non chemical fertilizers can be obtained from the following products:
- Agricultural Waste
- Livestock Manure
- Industrial Waste
- Municipal Sludge
- Inorganic Fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers generated by chemical techniques that contain nutrients for crop growth are known as inorganic fertilizers. The inorganic fertilizers are of the following types:
contain the nitrogen necessary for the development of crops. Nitrogen, a key constituent of chlorophyll, helps main balance in the process of photosynthesis. It is also a part of amino acids in plants and contains protein. Nitrogen fertilizers improve the production and quality of agricultural products.
In a phosphorus fertilizer, phosphorus is the principal nutrient. The effective phosphorus concentration, fertilization techniques, soil characteristics, and crop strains all affect how successful a fertilizer is. The protoplasm of the cell contains phosphorus, which is crucial for cell growth and proliferation. The growth of the plant’s roots is aided by phosphorus fertilizer.
The advantages of fertilizers are mentioned below:
- Easy to transport, store, and apply
- For supplying a specific nutrient we can select a specific fertilizer due to its nutrient-specific nature
- Water-soluble and can easily dissolve in the soil. Hence, they are easily absorbed by the plants
- They have a rapid effect on the crops
- Increase the crop yield and provide enough food to feed the large population
- Predictable and reliable
have the following disadvantages:
- The ingredients in the fertilizers are toxic to the skin and respiratory system
- Excessive use of fertilizers damages the plants and reduces soil fertility
- Leaching occurs and the fertilizers reach the rivers causing eutrophication
- Long-term use reduces the microbial activity and disturbs the pH of the soil
- Fertilizers are used for various purposes. The uses of fertilizers are mentioned below:
- Used to provide additional nutrients to the plants
- They are added to improve the yield of the crops
- Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are used for the greening of lawns
- Organic fertilizers improve the texture and fertility of the soil
- Gardeners use fertilizers to address certain needs of the plants such as nutritional needs
- Fertilizers are added to potted plants to replace the lost nutrients
With such limited resources, it is quite challenging to meet the demands of the expanding population. Agriculture output has declined due to pests, a shortage of fertilizers, and declining soil fertility. The significance of fertilizers in agriculture has expanded as a result.
Can be essential to plants in the following ways:
- Fertilizers make plants more resistant to pests. As a result, they are using fewer insecticides and herbicides, which results in healthier crops. Hence, fewer illnesses are present, giving the crops an aesthetic value.
- improve the water holding capacity of the plants and increase root depth.
- potassium content present in the fertilizers strengthens the straws and stalks of the plants.
- The phosphorus present in the fertilizers helps in the faster development of roots and formation of seeds in plants.
- Nitrogen in the fertilizers promotes plant growth, which is seen in the green color of the plants
Since chemical fertilizers adversely affect soil fertility, biofertilizers were brought into use. These are substances that contain living or latent cells, and even micro-organisms. They provide the soil with the necessary nutrients and microbes for the growth of the plants. They help the soil to retain its fertility. They are environment-friendly and also destroy pathogenic components responsible for causing disease in plants. Acetobacter and Rhizobium are two widely used biofertilizers.
Fertilizers primarily consist of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. The rating tells you how much phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen are in a fertilizer.
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