Fertilizers are nutrient-rich substances that act as a catalyst in cultivation but how? Ever wondered why a balanced meal is given so much importance when it comes to health and fitness? Because a balanced diet includes all carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and roughage in the right amount. What will happen if one or two of them exceed their prescribed limits? Boom, your body is going to suffer in a long run
Similarly, plants also like to be treated like us. In order to cultivate any type of plant, flowering, nonflowering, crops, or vegetables, the right amount of water, sunlight, fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides are needed.
Just like no two human beings are the same and have different needs the same goes here. The above factors must be tailored according to the needs.
What is fertilizer?
Fertilizer is a natural or synthetic material that is applied to the soil or to the tissues of the plant to supply nutrients to it. In order to feed the large human population, it is necessary to produce higher yields. Fertilizers are catalysts as they help in producing the best out of the given or sometimes even more.
It provides the crop with nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, etc. This helps the crops to grow faster, bigger, and produce more food.
Among all the nutrients nitrogen is essential. Nitrogen is important for the growth of every organism on the earth. It makes about 78% of the air you breathe. But the nitrogen cannot be used directly by plants and animals. Plants absorb nitrogen by a process known as nitrogen fixation.
Fertilizers can have several types but mostly it is made up of three compounds Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. This is known as the N-P-K ratio. The ratio of the following three compounds is changed with respect to the other two and tailors according to the needs.
Broadly fertilizers can be categorized into three groups industrial, mineral and organic depending upon how they are manufactured and used.
1. Industrial fertilizer: It includes ammonium phosphate, urea, and ammonium nitrate. These are produced in industries by doing chemical reactions
2. Mineral Fertilizer: It is basically phosphorus and potash. These are extracted from the mine. These are crushed or chemically treated before applying.
3. Organic Fertilizer: Organic fertilizers are manure and compost that are made up of decomposed plants and animals. It can be the feces of animals as well. It can be used and produced manually using the phenomenon of decomposition.
As we know that there is the capacity for everything and everyone using too much fertilizer can cause more harm than usual.
Let us now understand how these fertilizers can cause a catastrophic effect when not used in a right amount
Most of the time homeowners or commercial owners use too much fertilizer than is commonly required by the plants. This not only affects the environment we live in, but it also damages the plants you are maintaining
When more fertilizer is applied to the soil it leads to nitrogen leaching into the ground and phosphorus washing into the surface water. When the fertilizers are washed into the lakes and ponds it results in the formation of a huge amount of algae.
The algae have the tendency to absorb the oxygen present in the water. This can cause an adverse effect on aquatic life. Depleting oxygen in the pond can cause fish kills and disturb the aquatic animals and plants
Even in the houses in order to get luscious and green lawns end up overusing fertilizers. It’s a common myth that the more fertilizer you use the better the output produced. However, over-fertilized lawns are more prone to diseases like brown patches, pythium, and helminthosporium.
Placing too much fertilizer can cause a variety of problems. One such is fertilizer burn. The water uptake by the roots is often disturbed due to the overuse of fertilizers. When excessive fertilizer is used The high amounts of salts associated with it cause disruption. Plants suffering from fertilizer burn often show symptoms like leaf scorch.
Overgrowth of the plants
Plants when over-fertilized show weird growth patterns. Plant growth is excessive in this case. Let us take an example of a tomato plant. When tomato plants are offered more fertilizer than required, too much growth occurs. This growth can disrupt the bloom.
The excessive growth will not produce bloom and so the growth is delayed.
Similarly, plants with bushes and canopy formations are also affected. Dense bushes and canopies end up being moist as they do not dry out properly due to thick leaves and bushes. This is not the case with plants with open canopies.
So in order to maintain healthy plants just remember that a little bit goes a long way. Whereas too much can be dangerous.