Testing and maintaining adequate soil nutrients is an essential aspect of growing a beautiful home garden. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are all nutrients which are essential to healthy plant growth. While nitrogen helps plants to produce lush leaves and foliage, phosphorus assists in flowering and the formation of seeds and strong roots.
Monitoring and correcting high phosphorus levels in soil will be essential in ensuring optimal plant growth in the garden.
About Excessive Phosphorus
Having a garden soil sample tested is a great way for gardeners to learn more about the needs of their garden. Becoming more familiar with the nutrients present in the soil can help growers adapt their garden beds for the best results.
Unlike other plant nutrients, phosphorus does not leach in the soil. This means that too much phosphorus in the soil can build up over the course of several growing seasons. Excessive phosphorus can occur for several reasons. Most commonly this issue is caused by repeated use of manures or non-organic fertilizers.
While a surplus of any nutrient may not seem like an issue, lowering phosphorus levels is actually quite important. Too much phosphorus in the soil can be detrimental to the overall health of the plants. High phosphorus can cause deficiencies in zinc and iron in the soil, as they quickly become unavailable for use by the plants.
These micronutrient deficiencies often present themselves by yellowing and withering of the garden plants. While commercial growers may be able to treat zinc and iron deficient plants through foliar feeding, this option is often not realistic for home growers.
How to Correct High Phosphorus
Unfortunately, there are no ways to actively reduce excessive phosphorus in garden soil. In working to moderate phosphorus levels in the garden, it will be imperative that growers avoid the use of fertilizers that contain phosphorus. Avoiding the addition of phosphorus for several growing seasons will help reduce the amount present in the soil.
Many growers choose to plant nitrogen fixing plants in garden beds with excessive phosphorus. In doing so, growers are able to increase the amount of available nitrogen in the soil without fertilizing the garden bed. Increasing the available nitrogen without the introduction of phosphorus will be helpful in returning soil conditions back to normal nutrient levels.