Return to main tree page 

AVTreeFarm  
NITROGEN

            

 

NITROGEN
It's role in Plants

It seems that when we think of fertilizer, we think of nitrogen (N). Perhaps, it is because when we think of fertilizer, we think of plant growth. Since N is essential for plant growth, it is no wonder why we equate fertilizer with N. N is the first of three major fertilizer nutrients.

Nitrogen Uptake by Plants:
Plants utilize N in two forms: ammonic N (NH4-N) and nitrate N (N03-N). Generally, plants do not prefer one over the other. When and if. both are available, plants will use either form: However, there are certain crops that prefer the ammonic form; namely, rice, cranberries, and possibly wheat and oats during their seedling stage.

It seems that when we think of fertilizer, we think of nitrogen (N). Perhaps, it is because when we think of fertilizer, we think of plant growth. Since N is essential for plant growth, it is no wonder why we equate fertilizer with N. N is the first of three major fertilizer nutrients.


Nitrogen Uptake by Plants:
Plants utilize N in two forms: ammonic N (NH4-N) and nitrate N (N03-N). Generally, plants do not prefer one over the other. When and if. both are available, plants will use either form: However, there are certain crops that prefer the ammonic form; namely, rice, cranberries, and possibly wheat and oats during their seedling stage.


Nitrogen's Role in Plants:
N plays an important role in forming compounds that are vital for plant development. It is essential for the formation of amino acids which are complex nitrogenous organic compounds. These organic acids make up different amino groups, and when they are joined together, form protein. Protein is the important constituent of protoplasm which is the nucleus of all living matter.
In order for plant growth to occur, there are two processes that must take place:
1. Cell Division
2. Cell Enlargement
Two nucleic acids, DNA and RNA must reproduce themselves for the two process to happen. This reproduction process depends upon N.
N is also an important element for the formation of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a nitrogenous, greenish colored substance that gives plants their green color. The energy from sunlight combines water and carbon dioxide within the plant for the production of carbohydrate. This process is called photosynthesis.
N deficiency will adversely affect any of these growth processes.


Nitrogen Deficiency in Plants:
There are three symptoms of N deficiency that can be visually detected:
1 Chlorosis (yellowing). Whenever N is lacking in plants, the production of chlorophyll drops, and leaf tissues turn pale green or yellow. The yellowing indicates that the leaves contain yellow pigment, but due to the presence of chlorophyll, the yellow is obscured by the green color.
2 Retarded growth (stunting). Because N is important for cell development, deficiency of N will prevent cell division and enlargement; thus, resulting in stunting.
3 As N breaks down in the older tissue of the plant, N will move to the younger part of the plant. Therefore, chlorosis will occur first in the older leaves. If the N deficiency is not remedied, the entire plant can become chlorotic.


Availability of Nitrogen:
The availability of N is greatest in soil or soil solution with pH between 6.5 and 7.5. As pH becomes either more acid or more alkaline, the availability of N decreases. (Fig. I )


Summary:
N is the most important element for the formation of protein in plants. Protein is the key in all living cells; therefore, it is the basic foundation to growth and yield of every crop.