Elements of mineral nutrition of plants

The main functions of minerals

Mineral nutrition is of great importance for the physiology of a plant, since a sufficient supply of mineral elements is simply necessary for its normal growth and development. Plants, in addition to love and care, require: oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and a whole series (more than 10) of mineral elements that serve as raw materials for various processes of the organism's existence.

Mineral nutrients in plants have many important functions. They can play the role of structural components of plant tissues, catalysts for various reactions, regulators of osmotic pressure, components of buffer systems, and regulators of membrane permeability.

Examples of the role of minerals as constituents of plant tissues are calcium in cell walls, magnesium in chlorophyll molecules, sulfur in certain proteins, and phosphorus in phospholipids and nucleoproteins. As for nitrogen, although it does not belong to mineral elements, it is often included in their number, in this regard, it should be noted once again as an important component of protein.

Some elements, for example, such as iron, copper, zinc, are required in micro doses, but these small amounts are also necessary, since they are part of prosthetic groups or coenzymes of certain enzyme systems. There are a number of elements (boron, copper, zinc) that are deadly poisonous to the plant in higher concentrations. Their toxicity is most likely associated with a negative effect on the enzyme systems of the plant organism.

The importance of providing plants with sufficient mineral nutrition has long been appreciated in horticulture and is an indicator of good growth and therefore good and stable yields.

Essential elements

As a result of various studies, the presence in plants of more than half of the elements of the periodic system of Mendeleev was established, and it is quite possible that any element in the soil can be absorbed by the roots. For example, more than 27 elements (!) Were found in some wood samples Weymouth pines... It is believed that not all of the elements available in plants are necessary for them.

For example, elements such as platinum, tin, silver, aluminum, silicon, and sodium are not considered essential. For the necessary mineral elements, it is customary to take those in the absence of which plants cannot complete their life cycle, and those that are part of the molecule of any necessary plant component.

The main functions of mineral nutrition elements

Most studies on the role of various elements have been carried out on herbaceous plants, since their life cycle is such that they can be studied within a short time. In addition, some experiments were performed on fruit trees and even forest seedlings. As a result of these studies, it was found that various elements in both herbaceous and woody plants perform the same functions.

Nitrogen. The role of nitrogen is well known as a constituent of amino acids - protein builders. In addition, nitrogen is included in many other compounds, such as purines, alkaloids, enzymes, growth regulators, chlorophyll, and even in cell membranes. With a lack of nitrogen, the synthesis of the normal amount of chlorophyll is gradually disrupted, as a result of which, with its extreme deficiency, chlorosis of both older and young leaves develops.

Phosphorus. This element is an integral component of nucleoproteins and phospholipids. Phosphorus is indispensable due to the macroenergetic bonds between phosphate groups, which serve as the main mediator in the transfer of energy in plants. Phosphorus is found in both inorganic and organic forms. It easily moves through the plant, apparently in both forms. Lack of phosphorus primarily affects the growth of young trees in the absence of any symptoms.

Potassium. Organic forms of potassium are not known to science, but plants need a sufficiently large amount of it, apparently, for the activity of enzymes. An interesting fact is that plant cells distinguish between potassium and sodium. Moreover, sodium cannot be fully replaced by potassium. It is generally accepted that potassium plays the role of an osmotic agent in the opening and closing of stomata. It should also be noted that potassium in plants is very mobile, and its lack impedes the movement of carbohydrates and nitrogen metabolism, but this effect is more indirect than direct.

Sulfur. This element is a component of cystine, cysteine ​​and other amino acids, biotin, thiamine, coenzyme A and many other compounds belonging to the sulfhydryl group. If we compare sulfur with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, then we can say that it is less mobile. Lack of sulfur causes chlorosis and disruption of protein biosynthesis, which often leads to the accumulation of amino acids.

Calcium. Calcium can be found in rather significant quantities in the cell walls, and it is there in the form of calcium pectate, which most likely affects the elasticity of the cell walls. In addition, it is involved in nitrogen metabolism by activating several enzymes, including amylase. Calcium is relatively little mobile. The lack of calcium is reflected in the meristematic areas of the root tips, and the excess accumulates in the form of calcium oxylate crystals in the leaves and lignified tissues.

Magnesium. It is part of the chlorophyll molecule and participates in the work of a number of enzyme systems, participates in maintaining the integrity of ribosomes and easily moves. With a lack of magnesium, chlorosis is usually observed.

Iron. Most of the iron is located in chloroplasts, where it is involved in the synthesis of plastic proteins, and is also included in a number of respiratory enzymes, such as peroxidase, catalase, ferredoxin, and cytochrome oxidase. Iron is relatively immobile, which contributes to the development of iron deficiency.

Manganese. An essential element for the synthesis of chlorophyll, its main function is the activation of enzyme systems and, probably, affects the availability of iron. Manganese is relatively immobile and poisonous, and its concentration in the leaves of some tree crops often approaches toxic levels. Manganese deficiency often causes leaf deformation and the formation of chlorotic or dead spots.

Zinc. This element is present in the composition of carbonic anhydrase. Zinc, even in relatively low concentrations, is highly toxic, and its lack leads to leaf deformations.

Copper. Copper is a component of several enzymes, including ascorbinotoxidase and tyrosinase. Plants usually require very small amounts of copper, high concentrations of which are toxic and lack of copper causes dry tops.

Bor. The element, as well as copper, is necessary for the plant in very small quantities. Most likely, boron is necessary for the movement of sugars, and its deficiency causes serious damage and death of the apical meristems.

Molybdenum. This element is necessary for the plant in negligible concentration, is part of the nitrate reductase enzyme system and most likely performs other functions. The deficiency is rare, but if present, nitrogen fixation may decrease in sea ​​buckthorn.

Chlorine. Its functions have been little studied; most likely, it is involved in the splitting of water during photosynthesis.

Mineral deficiency symptoms

The lack of minerals causes changes in biochemical and physiological processes, which leads to morphological changes. Often, due to deficiency, suppression of shoot growth is observed. Their most noticeable disadvantage is the yellowing of the leaves, which, in turn, is caused by a decrease in chlorophyll biosynthesis. Based on observations, it can be noted that the most vulnerable part of the plant is the leaves: they decrease in size, shape and structure, the color fades, dead areas form at the tips, edges or between the main veins, and occasionally the leaves are collected in bunches or even rosettes.

Examples of the lack of various elements in a number of the most common cultures should be given.

Lack of nitrogenprimarily affects the size and color of the leaves. They decrease the content of chlorophyll and lose their intense green color, and the leaves turn light green, orange, red or purple. The leaf petioles and their veins acquire a reddish tint. At the same time, the size of the leaf blade decreases. The angle of inclination of the petiole to the shoot becomes sharp. Early leaf fall is noted, the number of flowers and fruits sharply decreases simultaneously with a weakening of the growth of shoots.

The shoots turn brown-red, and the fruits are small and brightly colored. Separately, it is worth mentioning strawberries, in which a lack of nitrogen leads to weak whisker formation, redness and early yellowing of old leaves. But the abundance of nitrogen also adversely affects the plant, causing excessive enlargement of the leaves, their saturated, too dark green color and, on the contrary, a weak color of the fruits, their early abscission and poor storage. Plant-indicator for nitrogen deficiency - Apple tree.

Phyto-hormones are equally important for plantsregulating their growth and fruiting. In the harsh Russian climate with a minimum of sun, fruit and vegetable crops often suffer from a lack of phytohormones. Natural stimulants "Orton" will help to fill the deficit, which will allow plants to fully reveal their natural potential.

The result of the use of the preparations "Ovyaz", "Tomaton" will be an earlier and 50% increased yield of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other crops. In this case, the fruits will be larger, tastier and better in composition. And this is without harsh chemistry, only due to natural phytohormones and minerals!

The Orton company has been on the market for almost 30 years and is known to summer residents from the Soviet TV show Our Garden. Orton produces a complex of natural preparations to support plants during the entire growing season.

The use of Orton products is completely safe for humans, animals, pollinating insects (bumblebees, bees) and the environment in general!

Details on the website orton.ru

Read the ending Mineral starvation of fruit plants →

Nikolay Khromov, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences,
Researcher, Department of Berry Crops, GNU VNIIS im. I.V. Michurin,
member of the R&D Academy

Mineral fertilizers for plant nutrition

Mineral fertilizers are inorganic and contain components that are necessary for normal growth. These fertilizers are based on various types of mineral salts.

Types of mineral fertilizers:

  • Ammonium nitrate. Contains a large amount of nitrogen, and is also used as one of the main components in the production of other types of fertilizers.
  • Urea. It is used in many areas of production, including for the manufacture of fertilizers, due to the high percentage of nitrogen content (about 47%). The advantage of this fertilizer is its durability.
  • Superphosphate. It is a phosphorus fertilizer. There are two types: simple and double. The difference lies in the different amount of the content of active substances. This fertilizer contains a large amount of calcium and is very quickly absorbed by the plant.

Do not mix all mineral fertilizers at once, they will block each other

Mineral fertilizers are produced by chemical synthesis, but they are environmentally friendly and completely safe for plants.

Chemical elements important for different plant groups

The correct fertilization of plants requires a systematic approach, precision and knowledge of the matter. The question of plant fertilization must be approached not only taking into account the characteristics of the plant itself, the season, but also the needs in terms of the composition of the soil. So, what elements are needed for different groups of ornamental plants?

The vast majority of garden plants comply with normal soil conditions, that is, they do not have special requirements for the availability of nutrients in the soil. Of course, there are also entire families or individual species, which, however, are more suitable for specific conditions. In most cases, a special requirement concerns mainly the proportion of calcium in the soil, due to which the plants are divided into calcareous and non-calcareous. While the first group needs calcium, the second reacts negatively to alkaline soil and therefore needs more acidic soil for its proper development.

Fertilizers and fertilizing in the garden. When is it necessary to fertilize the vegetable garden?


What should be fed in the garden and what should be fertilized? The question seems to be simple, but very important. Making the land truly "kind" and feeding your garden pets - this is what a difficult task is facing a summer resident-farmer.


Let's start with the basics - soil. Here we have to "appease" her. The question is - to fertilize or not to fertilize? - has long been decided positively, it remains to decide - how, what and when?

The first thing to keep in mind is that soil fertilization is a strategic issue. The fertilizer applied will affect the soil for several years.

Top dressing is a tactical move designed for immediate results.

You cannot replace one with another. Both fertilization and top dressing are mandatory procedures. But how to combine them is already a matter for the gardener himself.

So, with frequent introduction of bird droppings, nitrogen accumulates in the soil in a nitrate form, so it is better to close it up in the fall, evenly distributing it over the entire area.

But manure can be applied to the beds in spring and autumn, depending on the degree of its readiness. The more humus it contains, the more benefit it will have. The fertilizing effect of manure in any case remains in the soil for several years.

Composts used for all crops in approximately the same doses as manure (15-40 t / ha). They are brought in a pair (this means scattering over a freshly plowed field, for example, before planting potatoes), under fall plowing and plowing, in holes when planting seedlings. In terms of fertilizing properties, composts are not inferior to manure, and some of them (for example, peat manure with phosphate flour) surpass it.

Organic brought under the main dressing in the fall, on sandy soils - in the spring. Doses depend on the condition of the soil, the availability of fertilizers and the needs of each plant species.

It is important for any gardener not to lose sight of the main summer cottage work. Fertilization and top dressing are not all that the summer resident does on his site. Special calendars have always been a good help in this. We also offer a small gardening calendar.

Winter... Time to prepare inventory and seeds. There is simply nothing to fertilize during this period.

Spring... The earth is awakening to active life.

March... Cleaning the garden - pruning fruit trees (we burn diseased shoots), treating "wounds" with garden pitch.

April... Work continues with fruit trees and shrubs. After the soil dries up, the first steps in the preparation of fertilizers begin. You need to scoop up fallen leaves and plant debris - they are perfect for composting. If over the past year fruit trees have grown no more than 15 cm, then urea is applied under them.

May... The most active time for the activity of the gardener. Here and the fight against root weeds, and planting all kinds of seeds.

It's time to feed the berries and fruit trees. For this, bird droppings or slurry are suitable, the dosage depends on the type of plant and its age. After feeding, it is good to loosen the soil of the trunk circles and mulch it - for example, with sawdust. And save moisture, and there will be much less weeds.

The first spraying (before flowering) of the garden from pests and diseases. It is better to spray in the evening, at night, in the morning, on cloudy days.

Summer. All forces are directed towards obtaining a large, healthy harvest.

June... The main concern of the month is to keep plants from diseases and pests. For this, they put trapping belts (they must be inspected every 10-15 days). Plants are treated (in the presence of diseases and pests) with decoctions, infusions from insecticidal plants.

Do not forget about the compost heap - all weeds and suitable garden waste will be used.

July... It's time to feed the plants. Cucumbers, tomatoes 1 time in 10 days with mullein or ash. Carrots, beets, parsley root - ash. It is necessary to remove the attention of strawberries - remove diseased plants. You can prepare the soil (in 3 weeks) for planting new bushes. At the end of the month, green manure plants are planted between the beds. If there are problems, you will have to deal with pests and diseases.

August. Felling of sprouted shoots. Top dressing of trees and gardens. Pest and disease control.

Fall... The final of the harvest. Preparing for winter.

September. Planting strawberries, mulching. After harvesting the fruits, it will be necessary to remove the trapping belts. Application of organic fertilizers under trees (this procedure is repeated every 4 years).

October... Final treatment against pests and diseases. Site cleaning. Mulching (with peat or humus) of berry crops planted in the second half of October.

November... Cleaning of all plant residues. Preparing the compost heap for winter. Protecting fruit trees for the winter.

So when is it better to fertilize the soil: in the spring or in the fall? It is difficult to give an unambiguous answer to this question. The German farmer and scientist E. Wistinghausen devoted a great deal of work to this. The conclusions of this work are as follows.

With the autumn application of fertilizers, plant nutrients are part of the soil organo-mineral complex, and the entire next season the plant lives due to the gradual disintegration of this complex and the release of available nutrients.

With spring application, organic fertilizer decomposes faster and better supplies the plants with soluble nutrients. This is important for plants, since spring and early summer are a period of their active growth, requiring abundant nutrition.

Thus, autumn organic fertilization makes a greater contribution to soil fertility, and spring - to plant nutrition. Both are important.

How to determine the lack of minerals by the appearance of plants?

Plants absorb nutrients in quantities and proportions that meet their biological needs.

However, if the physiological state of plants is disturbed due to various stresses (temperature, chemical, water), manifestations of a deficiency or excess of mineral nutrition elements are possible.

Malnutrition affects different plant organs in different ways.

Thus, a malnutrition with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium is manifested on older and older leaves and organs, but these elements of the plant can be reused.

All trace elements, calcium, sulfur, iron are difficult to recycle, therefore their deficiency or excess is manifested on young leaves, organs and growth points.

Lack of nitrogen in cucumber plants appears on the lower leaves, they become pale green, then, starting from the top, they turn yellow, turn brown, die off.

The growth of stems and lateral lashes is delayed. The lashes are thin but hard and woody quickly.

The ovaries are intensely crumbled, the flowers wither without opening. Fruits are short, with pointed ends, pale in color. The leaves are small, the stem is thin and fragile.

Lack of nitrogen in tomato is manifested in growth restriction.

Plants acquire a fusiform habit. Older leaves turn light green and later turn yellow.

On the back of the leaf along the main veins, a purple color may appear. Flowers, without opening, dry up and fall off.

The fruits are small, but ripen quickly. Shoots grow woody.

The lack of phosphorus in cucumber appears in young leaves in a dark green color, in old ones in gray-green.

Later, large, irregularly distributed yellow-brown spots appear on the leaf blade. They become necrotic and dry out.

The leaf is wrinkled, the edges are sharp and curved upward.

In tomato, with a lack of phosphorus in the seedling phase, purple leaves appear, extending from the stem at an acute angle.

In adult plants, growth slows down, the leaves are dark green, turning into a reddish, dark, almost black color in drying leaves.

Flowering is delayed. The stem is thin.

With a lack of potassium in a cucumber, the edges of old leaves turn yellow, then turn yellow between the veins, the edges of the leaf are bent down.

In tomato, the edges of the old leaves look like burnt ones, then chlorosis spreads to the younger leaves, and the old ones turn yellow and fall off.

Fruit coloration is significantly delayed, and brown-black stripes appear inside the fruit.

Lack of calcium in cucumber causes the appearance of small leaves of a dark green color, internodes are short.

Then, young leaves brighten from the edges, and at the same time, narrow light stripes appear on the leaf blade between the veins. They expand, lose their green color, and necrosis.

The veins and the adjoining part of the leaf retain their intense green color. The edges of the sheet are bent down.

In tomatoes, the upper leaves are bent down, tightened, deformed with punctate necrotic spots.

These spots merge. Fruits are affected by apical rot. The growth point dies off.

Magnesium is involved in the formation of chlorophyll, therefore, its deficiency manifests itself in the form of chlorosis on old leaves, the edges of the leaves turn yellow.

The veins and plates around the veins remain green, the flowers fall off the tomato, the fruits are small, ripen prematurely.

Iron deficiency manifests itself in uniform chlorosis on young leaves, then passing to old ones.

Tomato plants are depressed, stunted.

With a lack of boron, the apical growth point dies off.

In a cucumber, internodes are greatly shortened, and the plants acquire a dwarf appearance, in a tomato the growth point dies off and many stepchildren are formed, as a result a bushy plant habit is created.

Lack of copper causes whitening of the tips of the leaves; plants lose turgor and wither.

In tomato, the lack of copper is most pronounced on the 4-5 leaves on top. The leaves are small, blue-green. The shoots are weak, the flowers are underdeveloped and the ovary is crumbled.

Cucumber plants become dwarf.

With a lack of manganese, the leaf acquires a patterned variegated color due to the manifestation of chlorotic spots between the veins, but the veins, even the smallest ones, remain green.

A marble bloom appears on the leaves of the cucumber. Chlorosis is most noticeable at the edges and tips of the leaf; necrotic spots in the form of dots are visible on the leaf blade.

Manganese deficiency symptoms appear more often on medium-aged leaves. Its signs are reminiscent of damage caused by a spider mite.

In tomatoes, the leaves of the middle layer and leaf blades that are more distant from the main vein first turn yellow. With a strong deficiency of manganese, small necrotic spots appear even near the main vein.

Zinc deficiency causes yellowing, spotting and bronzing of the leaves, passing to the veins, the leaves are asymmetric.

The morphology of the leaves changes in tomato. They are narrow, twisted in a spiral.

With a lack of molybdenum, a weakening of the green color of the leaves is observed. The lack of this element is accompanied by a violation of nitrogen metabolism.

In tomato, spots appear on old and medium-aged leaves, the edges of the leaf curl upward. Small veins of the leaf lose their color, and spots of bright yellow color are formed between them.

What if there is a lack of elements in the plant?
It is necessary to prepare a nutrient solution of a low concentration from 0.2 to 0.3%, that is, take from 20 to 30 g of the necessary fertilizer per 10 liters.

More often, the lack of elements is observed on soils poor in humus, but on such soils it is dangerous to apply large doses of mineral fertilizers, since this can lead to plant poisoning.

A good effect is given by spraying the leaves (foliar dressing) with a weak fertilizer solution (10 g per 10 l).

Can an excess of some fertilizers cause a lack of others?
Plants most often react to nitrogen and potassium imbalances.

With an excess of nitrogen, the plants "fatten", that is, they form large leaves, a powerful stem, abundant flowering is observed, but the setting of flowers occurs later, the fruits ripen more slowly.

The increased content of potassium in the soil leads to an acceleration of flowering and fruiting, and the plants are small, the overall yield decreases.

The high calcium content in the soil leads to a decrease in the absorption of manganese, copper and zinc.

Which vegetables are most sensitive to chlorine?
Such crops include cucumber, pepper, tomato, potatoes.

It is undesirable to add potassium salt and potassium chloride under these crops.

They should be replaced with potassium nitrate or potassium sulfate.

Complex fertilizers that do not contain chlorine can be used.

How do fertilizers affect the quality of vegetables?
Leafy vegetables with a lack of nitrogen sharply reduce the yield, the leaves become tough, coarse, and an excess of nitrogen fertilizers with a lack of phosphorus and potassium, as well as poor lighting leads to the accumulation of nitrates, cabbage heads are poorly stored.

With excess nitrogen nutrition, the keeping quality of root crops sharply decreases.

Higher doses of phosphorus fertilizers improve the quality of fresh and pickled cucumbers and tomatoes.

A tomato with a sufficient amount of potassium in the soil increases its taste.

The main elements of the mineral nutrition of plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur... They are required in large quantities, which is why they are called macronutrients. The elements required for plants in small quantities are called microelements - boron, manganese, copper, molybdenum, zinc... Next, we will consider how the deficiency or excess of these elements affects the development of plants.

Nitrogen plays an important role in the processes of plant growth and development. It is part of the amino acids, of which the molecules of protein, chlorophyll, a number of phosphatides, glucosides, alkaloids, vitamins are built.
Nitrogen, more than other nutrients, is able to enhance growth, increase the yield of all crops. The supply of plants with nitrogen depends on the rate of decomposition of organic matter in the soil, soil fertility, the level of plant care, and the use of fertilizers.
A characteristic sign of nitrogen starvation of plants is a decrease in leaf size, the appearance of short and thin stems, small inflorescences, weak branching, accelerated maturation, a sharp decrease in fertility, and early leaf fall. Nitrogen deficiency symptoms appear primarily on the lower leaves.
The lack of nitrogen in potatoes is manifested in characteristic changes in the appearance of both the entire plant and its individual parts. The growth of stems and leaves is weakened, lateral shoots are not formed or become smaller. The leaves of the lower tier are pale green at first, then gradually turn yellow and dry out. In young leaves, the edges dry out and curl upward. Stems are thin, erect.
So, in white cabbage and cauliflower, the leaves of the lower tier during nitrogen starvation acquire a yellowish-green color, which then turns into pink, orange or purple, the leaves dry out early, and a small head of cabbage is formed. Due to the fact that the signs of nitrogen starvation in cabbage are similar to those of phosphorus, the causes of starvation are established by determining the nitrogen content in the leaf stalks.
In tomatoes, with a lack of nitrogen, the leaves become small, green-yellow in color, the veins acquire a bluish-red hue. Fruits are pale green, small, woody pulp.
In onions, nitrogen starvation is manifested in growth retardation, the leaves are short, pale green, reddening, starting from the top.
Cucumbers with a lack of nitrogen slow down the formation of new leaves. In the lower leaves, the green color gradually changes to greenish-yellow and bright yellow. The fruits are small and of poor quality. However, the reason for the lightening of the leaves can be cold weather, damage by a tick.
With a lack of nitrogen in black currant, short and thin shoots are formed, the leaves are small, pale green. Flowering and berry formation are weak.
In strawberries, the color of young developed leaves changes from light green to yellow, their growth stops. On old leaves, reddening cloves first appear, over time they acquire a bright yellow tint, part of the leaf blade dies off.

but excess nitrogen also undesirable, especially in the second half of summer. From this, growth is delayed, shoots of trees and shrubs do not ripen, which may be the reason for their damage due to low winter temperatures. In addition, the quality of the fruits deteriorates, their keeping quality, color, and also the sugar content decrease. In fruit, vegetable crops and potatoes, the growth of fruits and tubers is unsatisfactory, and their quality is low.

With early signs of nitrogen deficiency potatoes and vegetables are fed ammonium nitrate at the rate of 5-15 g per 1 m2 or mullein at 0.5-1 l per 1 m2, diluted 2-4 times with water, which must be immediately embedded in the soil to avoid volatilization of ammonia. Can be used bird droppings at the rate of 0.1-0.2 kg / m2.

The role of the soil environment and mineral nutrition in plant life

The soil provides plants with all the nutrients they need.

Plants also receive water from it. In addition, the soil is a place for the preservation of seeds, bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, plant roots, especially in the cold season.

Soils are distinguished by their mechanical composition and structure, by the content of organic and mineral substances in them, by the chemical composition of the soil solution and water properties, by the composition of the microflora. Important soil indicators are acidity and salinity. The higher the content of organic matter in the soil, the more suitable it is for growing horticultural and vegetable crops. It is believed that all agrotechnical measures are effective only if the soil contains at least 2.5-3.0% of organic matter. According to the mechanical composition, sandy, sandy loam, clayey and loamy soils are distinguished. Its water and thermal conditions, water and air permeability, the ability to absorb mineral substances by the surface of soil particles and many other properties depend on the mechanical composition of the soil and its structural features, on the content of humus in it. Light sandy soils warm up well, are sufficiently aerated, but poorly retain moisture in atmospheric precipitation. Heavy clay soils have the opposite properties. Therefore, sandy loam and loamy soils are most favorable for the growth of most cultivated plants.

The soil is inhabited by a wide variety of soil microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, algae, etc.), numerous invertebrates (protozoa, insects and their larvae, earthworms) and burrowing vertebrates (mice, moles), whose activities are diverse, and for cultivated plants and useful and harmful.

For most plants, slightly acidic and neutral soils are favorable. Both strongly acidic and strongly alkaline soil reactions suppress the vital activity of most cultivated plants and microflora. Therefore, human impact on the soil should always be directed to a shift in the reaction of the soil to slightly acidic or neutral. Measures such as liming, the introduction of ash, organic fertilizers, drainage, contribute to a decrease in acidity.

The problem of reducing the acidity of soils is relevant both for the middle zone and for the northern regions of the non-chernozem zone of the RSFSR, where podzolic soils have an acid reaction in large areas.

Fertile soils are determined by the content of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, as well as trace elements (copper, boron, zinc, molybdenum, etc.). All of the listed elements of mineral nutrition are necessary for plants to one degree or another. Each garden plot may contain a minimum of different nutrients. So, for podzolized soils, such elements are usually nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. The main method for regulating nutrient reserves in the soil is the introduction of lime or ash, organic and mineral fertilizers. But excessive application of mineral fertilizers to the soil, especially nitrogen fertilizers, can bring harm rather than benefit.

The processes taking place in the soil environment are complex and diverse. The supply of higher plants with water and mineral food depends both on the availability of nutrients and on the activity of the roots. The latter need oxygen, in the action on them of certain microorganisms - fungi. When water fills the pores between soil particles, plants suffer from a lack of oxygen. With good aeration, the soil lacks moisture. The more organic matter in the soil, the better its structure, the more moisture and air in the soil aggregates, the better the process of absorption of water and mineral nutrients by the roots. The rate of absorption of water and mineral nutrients is greatly influenced by the temperature of the soil. At low temperatures (from 0 to 10-12 ° C), most cold-resistant plants absorb phosphorus to a minimum, and even if it is present in the soil, the plants experience acute phosphorus starvation.

To a lesser extent, this applies to nitrogen, but at low temperatures (up to 10 ° C) plants absorb ammonium nitrogen better than nitrate nitrogen. After an increase in temperature (above 10-12 ° C), nitrate nitrogen is assimilated by plants better than ammonium nitrogen.

In the north of the European part of the country and the Ural-Siberian region, all fruit and berry plants react positively, especially in years with cold summers, to increased doses of phosphorus and potassium in relation to nitrogen: the beginning of fruiting is accelerated, the plants finish linear growth earlier and the wood has time to ripen, which increases their winter hardiness. An increase in the dose of phosphorus, sulfur and potassium is a very positive reaction of vegetable plants, which form the harvest at the expense of the reproductive organs. For plants that form a crop due to vegetative organs, increased doses of nitrogen and potassium (root and leaf plants, potatoes) are effective.

Soil temperature influences the reaction of the environment. At lower temperatures, the reaction of the soil shifts towards acidification, at higher temperatures, the acidity decreases.

At soil temperatures below 10 ° C, all processes in it are suppressed to some extent. In the temperature range from 10 to 20 ° C, the intensity of these processes increases. Even the smallest increase in soil temperature has a beneficial effect on the mobilization of nutrients in it, as well as on the intensity of the absorption of mineral nutrients by plants.

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