Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Q. Should I use bone meal when I am planting new purchases? ( Bulbs included)
Bone meal is primarily made up of calcium and phosphorus, and quantities of both minerals are usually adequate in non-agricultural urban soils.
While both minerals are needed for plant growth, excessive amounts of these nutrients, particularly phosphorus, can interfere with plant growth.
Low levels of phosphorus in the soil stimulate plant root tips to secrete organic acids, which then attract mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi penetrate the roots and help the plant take up water and nutrients. Mycorrhizal fungi also help the plant to take up phosphorus from the soil.
Excess phosphorus inhibits the growth of these fungi. This, in turn, forces the plant to create an extensive root system to extract the nutrients and water it would have otherwise received via its association with mycorrhizal fungi.
While a more extensive root system sounds like a good thing, the plant is directing energy into roots that it could be directing toward other sorts of growth and production.
Posted by Penny Street at 8:39 PM