Three main macronutrients that are involved in all metabolic processes are necessary for garden plants for full development and fruiting. One of them is potassium. If nitrogen is responsible for the growth of green mass and is a component of proteins, phosphorus stimulates the roots, then potash fertilizers are responsible for everything else during the growing season.
Basically, they are obtained from natural minerals, that is, you can be calm – when they are introduced, the fruits do not accumulate harmful substances. Extraction is carried out in the bowels of the earth or in salt lakes after they have evaporated.
The most famous are sylvinite and carnallite, as well as potassium magnesium with admixtures of sulfur and magnesium, as well as the complete absence of chlorine, which is very popular with plants. Potassium chloride, as salt is also called, is not loved by all cultures. Chlorine inhibits crop growth if fertilized in spring.
Influence on plant development
To understand what potash salt is as a fertilizer, you need to understand in what processes is this macroelement involved:
The macronutrient has the advantage – it can be applied at any time of the year, since the potassium salt is not washed out by rain and melt water. If potassium magnesium and potassium sulfate are sealed before planting in the spring for any crops, then it is better to add potassium chloride dressings to the soil in the fall so that harmful chlorine disappears.
Many agronomists consider it a summer fertilizer, in which case you need to monitor which crops to plant under so as not to harm.
Potassium deficiency in plants – symptoms
Potassium starvation is determined by marginal leaf burn. First, the lower old leaves suffer, then the deficit reaches the young shoots. Summer residents have time to feed urgently.
If you do not fertilize the soil with potash salt, in the future, shedding of flowers and ovaries is possible, since the plant does not have the strength to set fruits and nourish them. Potassium salt is the main nutrient for garden crops during flowering, pouring and ripening of fruits. During this period, it is consumed most.
Potassium overfeeding is no less dangerous. At the same time, weakened plants can die: perennial crops suffer from diseases of the root system, and annuals rot in the area of the root collar and lie down.
Fertilizer composition and formula
What is potassium salt in terms of chemical composition: its formula is KCl, but natural minerals always contain minor impurities of sodium and magnesium, as well as sulfur. After mining, the raw material is ground into small fractions and scattered into bags. It is most beneficial to use fertilizer in the mining area, since transportation is expensive, and accordingly, potash salt becomes more expensive.
When to deposit and how much
The use of potassium salts and their properties differ in their effect depending on the type of soil and the season. For example, on heavy loams and clay soils, a larger amount of the substance is required in the spring, since it dissolves slowly due to the poor permeability of the soil to moisture. On sandstones, potash fertilizers are applied in small doses – divide the total amount three times.
With a deficiency of potassium, especially acute, summer residents even resort to foliar spraying, just to save the crop. Here they are not so much afraid of chlorine as a decrease in the number of fruits and their unmarketable appearance. To avoid emergency measures, it is better to take care of plant nutrition in advance and seal potash salt in autumn for digging.
Video: Potassium and potash fertilizers
When applied in autumn, 30 g of potassium chloride are applied on loams, on sandstones 20 g per square meter, although some agronomists prefer potassium sulfate for sandy soil – it is more stable in the soil.
Natural minerals may have different contents of the active substance, so when buying potassium salt, you need to read the instructions and determine the right amount for your site.
What garden crops love potash dressings
Berries – strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants – cannot be fed with potassium chloride in spring and summer, because it inhibits their growth. Chlorine hates vegetables – tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as potatoes.
There is a way how to feed potatoes with fertilizer with chlorine: it is necessary that the potassium salt is under a layer of earth, and the roots develop higher. Over time, the poison will disappear, and the useful substance remained near the root system. Green salads, grapes, beans and peas also do not tolerate chlorine, so the beds for them are prepared in the fall.
What kind of fertilizers (potassium salts) are especially evident from the growth of beets, carrots, cabbage. But they work only in combination with nitrogen and phosphorus. In this case, nitrogen monofertilizers are used in the spring, and potassium with phosphates in the fall.
An experienced summer resident does not need to calculate the amount of each substance for his garden. It is better for beginners to use complex mixtures, or strictly follow the instructions for using potassium salt.
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