There are 17 nutrients that are essential for plant growth and production. An insufficient supply of one or more can have an adverse effect on plant growth, maturity, and yield. Phosphorus (P)--one of three key macronutrients (nitrogen and potassium are the other two)--is present in every living plant and animal cell, and is vital in plants for harvesting the sun's energy for growth and reproduction. This requirement is the same whether the plant is growing on soil or in water (such as algae); hence, the concern regarding P levels in surface water and the accelerated aquatic plant growth associated with high P levels.
Iowa State University
Sawyer, John E. and Mallarino, Antonio P., "Why manage phosphorus?" (2000). Integrated Crop Management News. 2080.
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