Kissel, David E. Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.
Last reviewed:November 2016
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- Nutrient forms in soil
- Limits to plant growth
- Cation exchange and inherent fertility
- Soil acidity
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The ability of soil to supply plant nutrients. Soil contains an admixture of organic matter that is capable of supporting vegetation (Fig. 1). Thus, soil fertility is of paramount importance to ensure proper plant nutrition and maximal plant growth. Sixteen chemical elements are required for the growth of all plants: carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen (these three elements are obtained from carbon dioxide and water), plus nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine. Some plant species also require one or more of the following elements: cobalt, sodium, vanadium, and silicon. See also: Agronomy; Plant growth; Plant mineral nutrition; Soil; Soil chemistry; Soil ecology
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