The Importance of Nitrogen for Plant Health
Nitrogen is considered the most important component for supporting life – especially plant life. Nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll, and therefore essential for photosynthesis. It is also a significant component of nucleic acids such as DNA, the genetic material that allows plant cells to grow and reproduce, and of amino acids, the building blocks of life-sustaining proteins.
Nitrogen, Nitrogen, Everywhere…
While 78% of the earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen, none of that gaseous nitrogen (mainly N2) can be used by plants unless it is first changed into other compounds during the important “nitrogen cycle.”
The Nitrogen Cycle
The nitrogen cycle is the process of change that nitrogen undergoes as it moves between the atmosphere, the land, and living things. Most plants can only take up nitrogen in the inorganic solid forms of ammonium (NH4) and nitrate (NO3), and it is in the process of “fixation” that nitrogen is transformed into those plant-usable compounds. Natural fixation occurs in the atmosphere when lightning converts gaseous nitrogen into nitrates, which are carried to the earth in rain or snow. Nitrogen fixation happens in the soil through the action of various bacteria found in microorganisms, plant roots, decomposing plant and animal matter, and animal waste. Lastly, during the process of denitrification, soil bacteria convert extraneous nitrates to gaseous nitrogen (N2) and release it back into the atmosphere. And the cycle begins anew.
Nitrification and other natural soil processes can affect the amount of usable nitrogen available to support healthy, vigorous grass and plant growth during the growing season. Enlist the help of a certified arborist/ lawn consultant to diagnose your property’s fertility needs and develop a custom program that will give you the results you desire. SavaLawn provides treatments that are sustainable and agronomically effective.
What your lawn needs to stay green and healthy this spring and summer
- Proper Mowing: 3 to 3 ½ inches
- Watering, Fertilizing
- Weed Control, as needed
- Core Aeration