soil nutrients and fertilizers - sri nopriani, . jargon

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  • Anorganic Fertilizer

    Lenny Sri Nopriani, SP.MP

  • Jargon

    Fertilizer Synthetic

    Fertilizers can be organic or inorganic

    Organic: from living material, contains C-C bonds; does not imply organic certification (e.g. biosolids)

    Inorganic: not from living material (e.g. rock phosphate) and/or manufactured/synthetic (e.g. anhydrous ammonia)

  • Soil Nutrients and Fertilizers

  • Macro vs Micro Nutrients

    Macro nutrients are required by the plant in relatively large amounts

    Micro nutrients are required only in small amounts

    minor or trace elements

  • Macro nutrients

    Non-mineral elements

    carbon (C)

    hydrogen (H)

    oxygen (O)

    Primary Nutrients

    Nitrogen (N)

    Phosphorus (P)

    Potassium (K)

    Secondary Nutrients

    calcium (Ca)

    magnesium (Mg)

    sulfur (S)

  • Micro nutrients

    Iron (Fe)

    Copper (Cu)

    Zinc (Zn)

    Boron (B)

    Molybdenum (Mo)

    Manganese (Mn)

    Chlorine (Cl)

  • Fertilizers

  • Types of Fertilizers







  • Complete vs. Incomplete

    Complete has all three primary nutrients-nitrogen phosphorous & potassium

    Examples: 10-10-10, 15-30-15, 20-5-20

    Incomplete DOES NOT have all three primary nutrients

    Examples: 20-0-0, 0-20-0, 12-0-44

  • Organic Fertilizers

    Comes from plant or animal matter and contains carbon compounds

    Examples: urea, sludge and animal tankage

  • Advantages of Organic

    Slow release of nutrients

    Not easily leached from the soil

    Add organic components to growing media

  • Disadvantages of Organic

    Hard to get

    Not sterile

    Low nutrient content


  • Inorganic Fertilizers

    Comes from sources other than animals or plants

    Chemical products

  • Advantages of Inorganic

    Can make the desired ratio of nutrients

    easy to get

    lower cost

  • Disadvantages of Inorganic

    No organic material

    possible chemical building up in growing media

  • Soluble Fertilizer

    Dissolve in water and are applied as a liquid solution


    fertilizing through irrigation water

    big advantage

  • Insoluble Fertilizer

    Includes granular and slow release applied to the growing media

  • Granular vs. Slow Release


    relatively inexpensive

    easy to find

    Slow Release

    more expensive because it is coated

    more uniform release of nutrients over time period

  • Fertilizer Analysis

    Fertilizer analysis expresses weight as a percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium


  • Fertilizer Analysis

    For Example

    A 100 Kg bag of fertilizer has an analysis of 15-5-15. How many pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are in the bag?

    Nitrogen: 100Kg X 15%=15Kg

    Phosphorus: 100Kg X 5%=5Kg

    Potassium: 100Kg X 15%=15Kg

  • Fertilizer Ratios

    A fertilizer with a 10-10-10 analysis would have a 1:1:1 ratio

    A fertilizer with a 24-8-16 analysis would have a 3:1:2 ratio

    What would be the ratio for a fertilizer with an analysis of 36-18-27?


  • Inorganic Nitrogen Fertilizers

    Created through Haber-Bosch process

    Combine N2 and H2 under high temperature and pressure to create NH3 gas

    Anhydrous ammonia will boil & volatilize under normal atmospheric conditions

    Compression and refrigeration turn it to liquid

    Applied by injection into to soil to minimize losses into the air

  • Benefits & Drawbacks

    Very high concentration of N (82%)

    Readily absorbed by human tissue requires use of protective gear

    Public safetyexplosive & used in drug production

    Toxic to microorganismswill kill the bugs in your soil for a few weeks

  • Anhydrous Ammonia

  • Other Inorganic N Sources

    Ammonium nitrate, sulfate, and phosphate are commonly used because they form soluble white crystalline solids that are easy to handle

  • Phosphorus

    Main source is rock phosphate

    Mined from ancient marine sediments that contain apatite70% is from US & Asia

    Minimal processing Beneficiation (remove clay, carbonate, or silica contents through sieving and flotation) Grind finely

    May treat with sulfuric acid to dissolve apatite, increase P solubility (creates superphosphate)

  • Rock Phosphate Mining in India

  • Forms of Inorganic Phosphorus

  • Potassium

    Mined from sedimentary or salt lake deposits of KCl or K2SO4 (e.g. Utah & Dead Sea)

    Separate K salts from Na salts

    US imports 80% of its K fertilizers

    Commonly available as: KNO3(saltpeter)- KCl K2O (potash)- K2SO4

  • Mining Potash in Utah

  • Sulfur

    Usually applied as gypsum (CaSO4)

    Source is sedimentary rocks

    Minimal processingsoluble and good source of Ca and S with only grinding

    Other applications include superphosphate (H2SO4) and elemental sulfur

  • Collecting Sulfur

  • Benefits and Drawbacks

    Highly concentrated

    Concentrations of nutrients are specific and predictable

    Fast release

    Can apply exactly whats needed

    Overdoing it may result in conditions toxic to plants and/or soil microbes (from nutrient ions or secondary ingredients)

    Incomplete source of nutrients

  • Application Procedures






    Foliar spraying


  • Banding

    Placing a band of fertilizer about two inches to the sides and about two inches below seed depth.

    DO NOT place below the seeds because fertilizer will burn the roots.

  • Sidedressing

    Placing a band of fertilizer near the soil surface and to the sides after seedlings emerge from the soil.

  • Topdressing

    Mixing fertilizer uniformly into the top one to two inches of growing media around the plant.

  • Perforating

    Placing fertilizer in 12-18 holes drilled 18 to 24 around the canopy drip line of fruit trees. Cover the holes and fertilizer slowly dissolves.

  • Broadcasting

    Spreading fertilizer to cover the entire production area

  • Foliar Spraying

    Spraying micronutrients in a solution directly on plant leaves.

    Quickly corrects nutrient deficiencies

    Fertilizer concentration should not be too high or leaf burning will occur.

  • Fertigation

    Incorporating water-soluble fertilizer into the irrigation system of greenhouse and nursery crops.

    Concentrated solutions usually pass through proportioners or injectors to dilute to the correct ratio.



  • Venturi-type

    Simple and inexpensive

    less accurate

    depends on water pressure in the hose and in the smaller tube to proportion

    Example: H ozon

  • Positive-displacement

    More expensive

    very accurate

    physically inject and mix specific amounts of concentrated solution and water

    Examples: commander proportioners, and Smith injectors

  • Rules for applying fertilizers

    Method used should be practical, effective and cost efficient

    Method used affects nutrient availability for plant use

    Fertilizer must be dissolved and reach plant roots

  • Choose the Right One...

    In order to pick a good fertilizer, ask yourself:

    Does it have the needed nutrients?

    Will it release them at the right time?

    Is it affordable?

    Is it convenient enough to use?

    Are its side effects acceptable?


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