crsc - Nutrient cycling Essential plant nutrients There are...

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Nutrient cycling Essential plant nutrients There are at least 16 essential chemical elements for plant growth. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, obtained in large amounts from air and water, make up the bulk of plant dry matter in the products of photosynthesis, but usually are not included as "nutrient" elements. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sulfur (S), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), and chlorine (Cl) are obtained from the soil and required by all plants. Sodium, silicon, and nickel are essential elements for some plant species and, although not required, have positive or beneficial effects on the growth of other species. Cobalt is essential for nitrogen fixation by legumes. Additional elements, such as selenium and iodine, are not required by plants, but can be important in plant nutrition because they are essential nutrients for humans and other animals that consume plants. All essential nutrients are equally important for healthy plant growth, but there are large differences in the amounts required. N, P, and K are primary macronutrients with crop requirements generally in the range of 50 to 150 lbs/acre. Ca, Mg, and S are secondary macronutrients, required in amounts of about 10 to 50 lbs/acre. Micronutrient requirements (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B, Mo, and Cl) are generally less than 1 lb/acre. Sources of plant nutrients in the soil Plants obtain mineral nutrients through root uptake from the soil solution. Sources of these soluble nutrients in soil include: Decomposition of plant residues, animal remains, and soil microorganisms Weathering of soil minerals Fertilizer applications Manures, composts, biosolids (sewage sludge), kelp (seaweed), and other organic amendments such as food processing byproducts
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