why does too much fertilizer kill plants

Fertilizing Vegetables 1. Q. My tomatoes are always small and the plants won't grow very large. I think that maybe I should add more fertilizer - - even more than you recommend. Can I fertilize my plants too much? A. Excesses of anything can cause problems. Too much water can kill trees as well as gardens - - most of us experienced the "too much" of water this spring. Too much fertilizer can also cause problems and plant death because FERTILIZER IS SALT. Why are salts toxic to many plants and most of our crops species? There are several reasons. First is that when salts are dissolved in the soil solution the plant cannot absorb and use the water it needs to survive. This is because the potential of the plant to pass water out of and into the root system must be lower than that of the soil's holding capacity instead of the other way around. Plants can wilt when given a heavy dose of fertilizer salts. In order for the plant to adjust to salinity it must absorb and accumulate salt inside or manufacture organic solutes (sugars, organic acids, amino acids, etc. ), so that the concentrations are high enough and water again can be taken up into the roots. Both of those responses require energy and take time. That's one reason why plant growth actually slows when salts build up because of excess fertilization. A second reason is that many salts are themselves toxic to the plant because they poison enzyme systems or block biochemical pathways.


Sodium, chloride, boron, and bicarbonate are examples of specific ionic toxins which can accumulate under saline conditions. Roots may also be injured by salts. Salt injury often makes plant roots susceptible to a wide range of soil diseases. Extreme injury may also interfere with water uptake and result in excessive wilting. The net result of all of this is that the plant response to salt stress can be a combination of slow growth rate, and often apparent or incipient nutrient deficiency or toxicity brought on by biochemical interference. Plant injury resulting from too much salt may first be observed as yellowing of the foliage and, later, browning of leaf tips and margins. As you can see, too much fertilizer may be fatal. The problems which you are experiencing could be the result of too much shade or variety selection.
Fertilizing Vegetables 1. Q. My tomatoes are always small and the plants won't grow very large. I think that maybe I should add more fertilizer - - even more than you recommend. Can I fertilize my plants too much? A. Excesses of anything can cause problems. Too much water can kill trees as well as gardens - - most of us experienced the "too much" of water this spring. Too much fertilizer can also cause problems and plant death because FERTILIZER IS SALT. Why are salts toxic to many plants and most of our crops species? There are several reasons. First is that when salts are dissolved in the soil solution the plant cannot absorb and use the water it needs to survive.


This is because the potential of the plant to pass water out of and into the root system must be lower than that of the soil's holding capacity instead of the other way around. Plants can wilt when given a heavy dose of fertilizer salts. In order for the plant to adjust to salinity it must absorb and accumulate salt inside or manufacture organic solutes (sugars, organic acids, amino acids, etc. ), so that the concentrations are high enough and water again can be taken up into the roots. Both of those responses require energy and take time. That's one reason why plant growth actually slows when salts build up because of excess fertilization. A second reason is that many salts are themselves toxic to the plant because they poison enzyme systems or block biochemical pathways. Sodium, chloride, boron, and bicarbonate are examples of specific ionic toxins which can accumulate under saline conditions. Roots may also be injured by salts. Salt injury often makes plant roots susceptible to a wide range of soil diseases. Extreme injury may also interfere with water uptake and result in excessive wilting. The net result of all of this is that the plant response to salt stress can be a combination of slow growth rate, and often apparent or incipient nutrient deficiency or toxicity brought on by biochemical interference. Plant injury resulting from too much salt may first be observed as yellowing of the foliage and, later, browning of leaf tips and margins.


As you can see, too much fertilizer may be fatal. The problems which you are experiencing could be the result of too much shade or variety selection. We gardeners love our plants we spend huge parts of our summers watering, plucking weeds, pruning and picking bugs off of every denizen of the garden, but when it comes to fertilizing, we often fall into bad habits. Over fertilization in the garden, caused by well-intended but automatic feeding, often results in fertilizer burn of plants. Too much fertilizer on plants is a serious problem, more damaging than too little fertilizer in many cases. Can Over Fertilized Garden Be Saved? Gardens that are over fertilized can sometimes be saved, depending on the amount of fertilizer you applied and how quickly you act. Managing fertilizer burn in the garden depends on your speed at recognizing the signs in your plants. Lightly damaged plants may simply wilt or look generally unwell, but plants that are seriously burned may appear to have actually burned their leaves will brown and collapse from the edges inward. This is due to the accumulation of fertilizer salts in tissues and a lack of water to flush them out due to root damage. When you realize you ve over fertilized, either because of plant symptoms or due to a white, salty crust that forms on the soil s surface, immediately begin flooding the garden.


A long, deep watering can move many types of fertilizer from the soil near the surface into deeper layers, where roots aren t currently penetrating. Much like flushing a, you re going to need to flood your garden with a volume of water equivalent to the cubic area of the fertilized area. Flushing the garden will take time and a careful eye to ensure that you re not creating standing puddles of water that will drown your already burned plants. Lawns need the same kind of fertilizer leaching that gardens do, but it can be much harder to deliver even water to the many grass plants in your yard. If a small area is damaged, but the rest seems ok, focus your efforts on those plants first. Flood the area with a soaker hose or sprinkler, but make sure to remove it before the ground gets boggy. Repeat every few days, until the plants appear to be recovering. There s always a risk of killing plants when you over fertilize, even the most intense leaching efforts could be too little, too late. You can prevent future problems with over fertilization by before applying fertilizer, using a broadcast spreader to more evenly distribute fertilizer over large areas and always watering thoroughly immediately after applying an appropriate amount of fertilizer for your plants. Watering helps move fertilizers throughout the soil instead of keeping them close to the surface where delicate plant crowns and tender roots can be damaged.

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