The Primary Nutrients & Plant Growth - Potassium's Role
Although not an integral part of cell structure, potassium regulates many metabolic processes required for growth, fruit and seed development. Many vegetable and fruit crops are high in potassium, which is vital for animal and human nutrition. Indeed, the health and survival of man and beast is dependent on potassium.
Potassium-deficient plants exhibit chlorosis (loss of green color) along the leaf margins or tips starting with the bottom leaves and progressing up the plant. In severe cases, the whole plant turns yellow, and the lower leaves fall off. As with other nutrients, lack of potassium causes stunted plants with small branches and little vigor. There are some crop-specific deficiency symptoms associated with potassium such as:
As a remedy, an application of potassium fertilizer will correct a deficiency and, if diagnosed early in the growing season, will benefit the current crop. Otherwise, the benefit of applying potassium will be for the following crop. Potassium can be obtained from fertilizers such as potassium nitrate (13-0-44), muriate of potash (0-0-60), potassium sulfate (0-0-50), or a mixture of potassium and magnesium sulfate (22% K2O). Most potash used for commercial crop production in India is either potassium chloride or potassium sulfate.