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The Importance of Potassium in plants

How plant and potassium can work hand in hand

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Potassium grows healthy lawns by promoting green sturdy stems on deep roots. It aids roses and other flowering plants by encouraging strong stems and well-developed flowers. Farmers depend on it for healthy crop production. Plants rich in carbohydrates such as potatoes need it for tuber growth.  It regulates plant growth so that harvested fruit is fully formed, high quality and has a better shelf life for consumers.

The main role of potassium

is to provide the ionic environment for metabolic processes in the cytosol, and as such functions as a regulator of various processes including growth regulation.Plants require potassium ions (K+) for protein synthesis and for the opening and closing of stomata, which is regulated by proton pumpsto make surrounding guard cells either turgid or flaccid. A deficiency of it ions can impair a plant’s ability to maintain these processes. It also functions in other physiological processes such as photosynthesis, protein synthesis, activation of some enzymes, phloem solute transport of photoassimilates into source organs, and maintenance of cation:anion balance in the cytosol and vacuole.

 

Symptoms of potassium deficiency

Typical symptoms of potassium deficiency in plants include brown scorching and curling of leaf tips as well as chlorosis (yellowing) between leaf veins. Purple spots may also appear on the leaf undersides. Plant growth, root development, and seed and fruit development are usually reduced in potassium-deficient plants. Often, potassium deficiency symptoms first appear on older (lower) leaves because it  is a mobile nutrient, meaning that a plant can allocate potassium to younger leaves when it is K deficient.Deficient plants may be more prone to frost damage and disease, and their symptoms can often be confused with wind scorch or drought. The deficiency is most common in several important fruit and vegetable crops; notably potatoes, brassicas, tomatoes, apples, currants, gooseberries, and raspberries. Sugar beets, cereals, and clover are also commonly affected.some of the benefits of potassium in plants includes:Firstly, potassium helps plants to move water and sugar inside themselves, so it makes fruit juicier and sweeter and it also improves the quality of flowers.Secondly, potassium helps strengthen plants – it thickens their cell walls. Jerry’s spring onions are a good example. If he applied a general purpose fertiliser to them, containing nitrogen, it will produce a surge of growth, but the growth is soft and sappy and prone to rot. Applied on its own, potassium produces the same surge of growth, only that growth is strong and less susceptible to rot.

Thirdly, potassium helps defend plants against disease. By creating thicker cell walls, it makes it difficult for germinating fungal spores to punch a hole through the side of the cell wall and cause disease.

Fruit trees like mango, avocado and this custard apple, suffer from a fungal disease known as anthracnose, and usually gardeners discover this when it’s too late – when the fruit has spoiled. Disease prevention starts in winter – using potassium – and you apply it once a month during winter and spring and that prevents the flowers becoming invaded by the disease.

Now how to use potassium

It varies according to the brand, so check the back of the pack and remember that a little bit goes a long way. You can overdo potassium and you can kill plants. That said, just for a few dollars, Jerry can buy a kilo and that’ll last the whole of his garden for an entire year – fruit, vegetables, turf – everything, so it is a wonderful, cheap thing to use. It puts you in charge as a gardener. You can see the result. Look forward to using potassium and you’ll get fresh flowers, strong plants and delicious fruit – and it doesn’t get better than that.

 

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