By Erica Faber – Orchard Productivity Manager
A number of growers have expressed an interest in gaining a deeper understanding of plant nutrition so in this newsletter issue I’ll be kicking off a nutrition series with Nitrogen.
As we go into this period of flowering and fruit set, nitrogen management is critical. This is the time where correct timing and rates have the biggest impact!
Nitrogen is one of the most abundant elements on Earth and is an essential nutrient for plant growth and reproduction. However, despite its abundance much of the nitrogen in soil is not readily available to plants. The sources of nitrogen, what it is required for, as well as the application rates and timing are often misunderstood. As a result of this confusion, nitrogen has become the most misused of all the essential plant nutrients.
Just like humans, plants need a number of nutrients to survive and thrive. There are 17 identified nutrients essential for plant life. These nutrients are divided into two groups: nine macronutrients and eight micronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in much greater quantities than micronutrients, which are only needed in minuscule amounts but are as important for optimum plant performance.
Nitrogen is classed as a primary or macro nutrient together with Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur.