Phosphorus is an essential element classified as a macro-nutrient because of the relatively large amounts required by plants. Phosphorus is one of the four macro-nutrients that plants require to thrive: Phosphorus (P), Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K) and Calcium (Ca). It functions as one of the major players in the process of photosynthesis, nutrient transport, and energy transfer.
A plant with the proper amount of Phosphorus will grow more vigorously and mature earlier than a plant with inadequate Phosphorus. An increase in Phosphorus triggers a decrease in bacterial growth on a plant's leaves. A plant with a Phosphorus deficiency will exhibit stunted growth, lack of fruit or flowers, wilting, and leaves that may have a purple cast due to the photosynthetic process being affected.
An overwhelming amount of research, test plots and field examples have consistently supported the advantages of having a good supply of Phosphorus in the beginning stages of a plant's life.
The issue, however, is that the mobility and availability of phosphate depends on the strength of the soil's microbial community. This is because microbes work together by the millions, like a gigantic factory, to make Phosphorus available to plants through their normal life cycle. In order to support a highly-productive microbial Phosphorus factory, its labourers, the microbes, must be fed a healthy diet of plant sugars.
But where do these plant sugars come from? They come from the roots of healthy plants.
It's a co-dependent relationship. The plants need the microbes and the microbes need the plants. But, the microbes don't wake up until the soil warms up to 14 degrees C. This can take a while, especially in colder climates. So, until that happens, you need to supplement your plants with a boost of Phosphorus.
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