Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for leaf and stem development. It is the primary building block for plant protoplasm, the translucent substance that is the living matter in cells. Nitrogen is required for flower differentiation, speedy shoot growth, and the quality of the fruit set.
Role in Growth
- When the soil food web is thriving, two forms of nitrogen are available to plants. They are nitrates (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+). Soil microorganisms convert ammonium to nitrate. Nitrate, being negatively charged, readily leaches below the root zone with excess rain/irrigation in sandy soils.
- Nitrogen is a part of all living cells and is a necessary part of all proteins, enzymes and metabolic processes involved in the synthesis and transfer of energy.
- Nitrogen strongly influences the pH of the soil through the release of hydroxyl ions (OH-)
- Nitrogen stays mobilized inside the a plant which means it can be transported wherever its needed.
- Nitrogen is an essential element of all amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
- Nitrogen is also a component of nucleic acids, which form the DNA of all living things and holds the genetic code.
- Nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll, which is the site of carbohydrate formation (photosynthesis). Chlorophyll is also the substance that gives plants their green color.
- Photosynthesis occurs at high rates when there is sufficient nitrogen.
- A plant receiving sufficient nitrogen will typically exhibit vigorous plant growth. Leaves will also develop a dark green color.
- It helps plants with rapid growth, increasing seed and fruit production and improving the quality of leaf and forage crops.