Fruit and berry plants grow and bear fruit normally in the presence of a certain amount of basic nutrients in the soil and air: carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, boron, manganese, copper, zinc and other elements.
Most of the plant nutrition is extracted from the soil in a dissolved state through the suction root system.
To the greatest extent they need nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, which constitute a group of macronutrients, and the first three of them are in demand in large quantities, and the rest in much smaller quantities.
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Nitrogen is one of the most essential nutrients. It is a part of proteins and other organic substances, enhances growth, photosynthesis, the setting of flower buds, increases the content of chlorophyll in the leaves, increases the yield and longevity of fruit formations, ensures an earlier entry of plants into fruiting, intense flowering and increased set of fruits and berries.
With a lack of nitrogen, the plants look stunted, the leaves acquire a light green color, the fruits and berries become smaller, the growth of roots and shoots stops, and the yield decreases.
An excess of nitrogen delays the growth of annual shoots, plants later enter a period of relative dormancy, the ripening of fruits is delayed, their quality and keeping quality deteriorate, and winter hardiness of plants decreases.
Nitrogen comes from the soil to plants in the form of nitrates and ammonia, which are formed during the decomposition of organic matter (humus) by special microorganisms. However, it is difficult to obtain high yields only from natural nitrogen reserves; therefore, it is necessary to replenish soil nitrogen reserves by applying organic and mineral nitrogen fertilizers.
Phosphorus is part of complex proteins. In a plant cell, it plays an extremely important role - it participates in photosynthesis and the movement of organic matter from leaves to roots; enhances the ability of cells to retain water and increases resistance to drought and low temperatures. Phosphorus has a positive effect on the growth of shoots and roots, accelerates the entry of the tree into fruiting.
Its lack weakens the growth of shoots, branching of roots. The leaves acquire a dull color with a bronze tint, the ripening and quality of fruits and berries deteriorate, the ovary shedding increases.
In the soil, phosphorus is in compounds of varying degrees of solubility and moves slowly, therefore, in contrast to nitrogen, it can be added in higher doses.
Potassium promotes assimilation of carbon dioxide and air, water absorption by plants, and metabolism. It ensures the normal division of cells and tissues, the growth of shoots and roots, the formation of leaves and fruits, and increases the frost resistance of plants.
Lack of potassium leads to a change in the color of the leaves - their edges first turn yellow, then turn brown, the fruits become smaller and ripen more slowly. In addition, a lack of potassium leads to a decrease in the plant's resistance to fungal diseases. Potassium is contained in the soil in organic and mineral fertilizers. On light sandy soils, its deficiency is found more often than on loamy and clayey soils. The lack of potassium in the soil is compensated by the introduction of organic and mineral fertilizers.
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As for other macronutrients (calcium, magnesium, sulfur), they are in garden soils in sufficient quantity for plants.
Calcium affects the physical and biological properties of the soil, it is a constant component of many plant organs. Lack of calcium in the nutrient medium weakens root growth and causes yellowing of the upper leaves of growing shoots.
Magnesium is part of chlorophyll and participates in the formation of carbohydrates. Its deficiency causes stunted growth, chlorosis or brown spotting, premature death and leaf fall. Lack of calcium and magnesium occurs most often on acidic soils.
Sulfur is found in proteins, vegetable oils, enzymes and vitamins. It increases the resistance of plants to low temperatures, drought, and diseases.
Trace elements - elements necessary for the normal development of plants, but in very small quantities. These include: boron, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, cobalt, iodine, selenium. Their role is varied. They accelerate the development of plants, increase the yield and vitamin content of fruits and berries, improve their quality, improve fruit setting, plant resistance to fungal diseases, and have a beneficial effect on soil organisms. Trace elements are especially necessary when applying mineral fertilizers and lime in high doses.
Their lack causes not only a decrease in yield, but also plant disease. An excess of microelements in the soil is also harmful, for example, with frequent spraying of plants with Bordeaux liquid, an excess of copper can accumulate in the soil, which will adversely affect the plants. An acute lack of trace elements can be eliminated by introducing them directly into the soil or by spraying the plants (foliar dressing).
Elements of mineral nutrition of plants
Mineral starvation of fruit plants