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The Queensland Gardening Pages
Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld

Plant nutrients and nutrient deficiencies

plus fertilisers, tonics and stimulants


This subject is, of course, covered extensively on many gardening and farming sites. Here, the emphasis will be on information pertaining to Qld or to subtropical and tropical plants as much as possible.

This page is mostly a collection of links about plant nutrition in general. You may find more about nutrition or nutrient deficiency symptoms of particular plant species if you go to the page on this site devoted to that group. See Plants for a list

News

Invention promises economical P recovery from sewage

Recovering nutrients from sewage and food processing waste has the potential to conserve precious agricultural phosphorus and reduce pollution problems. Now German scientists have developed an electrolytic process employing a magnesium anode that precipitates magnesium-ammonium phosphate from wastewater. The crystalline product can be used directly as fertiliser. Importantly, little energy and no additional chemicals are required. Source: Using wastewater as fertilizer (August 2012)

On other pages:



Where to buy fertilisers and plant tonics

Landscape supply yards, garden centres and the garden departments of variety stores and hardware chains usually carry a variety of fertilisers, but certain specialised products (including organic products) may also be available from online suppliers.

Specialist nurseries are another place to look, especially if you seek fertilisers developed for specific types of plants (e.g. orchid nurseries would be likely to carry orchid formulations).

If you're a fertiliser manufacturer or retail outlet supplying Qld and you're interested in promoting your products, you can find out more about advertising on this site here.

More Links

Please note:

* Fertiliser ratios you see on international websites (notably U.S. sites) may be calculated differently from the way they are in Australia. Therefore, NPK ratios given in fertiliser recommendations may not correspond directly with those seen on local fertiliser packets.

* Like other chemicals, fertiliser use may be subject to different regulations in different regions, so check with local authorities if in doubt. And be sure to follow directions on the label!

* Additives that are mainly used to adjust soil structure, pH or microbial activity are covered here: Soils.

* You might find more about the nutrition of specific plants if you go to the page devoted to that group. Menu here: Plants.

General Information
Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia includes information sheets and conference papers
Draft Code of Practice for Fertilizer Description & Labelling (2008) Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia (PDF)
Plant nutrients in the soil New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Nutrients California Polytechnic State University
Soil Fertility and Fertilizers Missouri Botanical Garden
Nutrient News Good overview of the important plant nutrients. University of Missouri
Macronutrient Outline AZ Master Gardener Manual, Arizona
Micronutrient Outline AZ Master Gardener Manual, Arizona
Soil nutrient testing: how to get meaningful results Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Nutrient deficiency symptoms of plants Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
Identifying nutritional deficiencies in the home garden Department of Agriculture Western Australia
Guide to Symptoms of Plant Nutrient Deficiencies University of Arizona Cooperative Extension
Recognizing Plant Nutrient Deficiencies University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (PDF)
Nutrient Disorder Photos A variety of bedding plants and disorders covered, with notes.
Citrus nutrition (descriptions of fertilisers) State of New South Wales, Department of Primary Industries
Fertilizer material Soil Management (Maui) The University of Hawai‘i
Organic vs. Commercial Fertilizers Colorado State University
Chemical versus organic fertilizers? Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
Nutrient Content of Fertilizer and Organic Materials N.C. State University, North Carolina
Fertiliser calculations New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Fertilizer placement Soil Management (Maui) The University of Hawai‘i
How to Stimulate Root Growth of Garden & Landscape Plants Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
Organic Fertilizers Work Well in Warm Weather Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
When and How to Use Foliar Fertilizers Yard and Garden News, University of Minnesota
The Myth of Foliar Feeding Washington State University (PDF)
Foliar Fertilization Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas, USA
Fertilizers for Trees and Shrubs University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
Fertilizing Woody Ornamentals Extension Horticulture Information Resource Texas A&M University
Fertilizing Landscape Plants Ohio State University
Mycorrhizas Australian National Botanic Gardens
Wood ash can be useful in yard if used with caution Extension Service Garden Hints, Oregon State University
See also:

Look for more nutrition information pertaining to particular species on the relevant plant page. See Plants for a list. More links on particular minerals below:

Nitrogen
Nitrogen in the Home Landscape University of Florida
Nitrogen Cycling Concise introductory article Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Management of Urea Fertilizers Kansas State University
Don't let nitrogen acidify your soil New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Nitrogen fertilizers and Soil pH Iowa State University
Nitrogen Soil Management (Maui) The University of Hawai‘i
Soil-nitrate after drought New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Nitrogen Fixation: go to The Self Sufficiency Pages (Food)

Phosphorus
Why phosphorus is important New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Soil-phosphorus after drought New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Sources of P other than the rare rock New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Cycling of phosphorus in grazing systems New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Phosphorus in the Soil (Introductory article) Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Phosphorus Soil Management (Maui) The University of Hawai‘i
Fertilising native plants Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland (PDF)
Phosphorus and Iron Nutrition in Australian Native Plants Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Phosphorus Needs of Some Australian Plants Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Phosphorus toxicity in native and proteaceous plants Department of Primary Industries, Victoria
Using Fertilisers in the Native Garden Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Native Plants and Phosphate Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Closing the Loop on Phosphorus The EcoSanRes (Ecological Sanitation Research) Programme
See also Mycorrhizas in the general section above
The Myth of Phosphate Fertilizer Washington State University (PDF)
The Myth of Phosphate, Part II Washington State University (PDF)

Potassium
These links have been moved to a separate page: Potassium

Iron
These links have been moved to a separate page: Iron

Calcium
Links to come
See also section on pH on the Soils page for information on using lime and dolomite

Magnesium
Magnesium Deficiency Becoming More Common This article is about grapevines in California, but has some interesting information about magnesium deficiencies, causes and remedies
Magnesium deficiency Royal Horticultural Society, UK
Epsom Salts Washington State University (PDF)
Epsom salts - miracle, myth...or marketing Washington State University (PDF)
Epsom Salt Council This website includes tips on using Epsom salts in the garden
The Myth of Mineral Magic Washington State University (PDF)

Manganese
Effect of Manganese Source on Manganese Uptake by Pygmy Date Palms (Phoenix roebelenii) TropicLine, University of Florida, USA

Molybdenum
Molybdenum deficiency in plants New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (PDF)

Boron, Copper, Sulphur, Zinc
Nutrition - Other nutrients (PKZnSCuFe) Dept Primary Industries & Fisheries, Queensland
Boron Factsheet Incitec Pivot Fertilisers
Rio Tinto Borax (USA) Various information about boron as a plant nutrient
More links to come. Meanwhile, check the general section above

Silicon
Tip for Greenhouse Growers: Add Silicon Silicon may be be important to the health of some plants, but is low in soil-less growing media. USDA Agricultural Research service
Differential Responses of Container-grown Ornamental Foliage Plants to Silicon Application Scroll further down the page to view the abstracts "Beneficial Effects of Silicon on Container-Grown Ornamental Plants" and "Silicon as a Beneficial Element for Tropical Foliage Plant Growth" University of Florida

Manures as Fertilisers
Poultry Manure as a Fertilizer Source North Carolina State University
The Battery Hen Adoption Project Produce your own chicken manure at home! Brisbane
Dairy Manure as a Fertilizer Source North Carolina State University
Swine Manure as a Fertilizer Source North Carolina State University
Using dog & cat manure on home gardens University of Wisconsin, Madison
Guidelines on the Use of Urine and Faeces in Crop Production The EcoSanRes (Ecological Sanitation Research) Programme

Tonics and Stimulants
These may have little or no nutrient content but, like fertilisers, are usually used with the hope of boosting plant performance in some way. As to their efficacy, some links will be provided below for further reading. See also Pests and Diseases regarding effects on plant health.
The Myth of Curative Kelp Washington State University (PDF)
Vitamin B-1 and Root Stimulators Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Growth of Four Citrus Rootstocks Treated with a Natural Biostimulant Subtropical Plant Science (Journal of the Rio Grande Valley Horticultural Society) Volume 44, 1991
Alternative Soil Amendments Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas
Notes on Compost Teas National Center for Appropriate Technology (USA)

Manufacturers and distributors of fertlisers available in Qld are invited to advertise on this page. For example: Organic fertilisers, inorganic (chemical) fertilisers, trace elements, foliar fetilisers, slow release fertilisers, soluble fertilisers. More information about advertising
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