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Seedlings grow rapidly which is why soil nutrients are used up rapidly. Nutrients must be provided in the form of fertilizers, to replenish soil fertility. Fertilizers are chemicals which are available in the market as salts.

For example, NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium salts. Chemical fertilizers have several advantages.

These are:


1. They are easy to transport and store (storage must be in dry places).

2. They are concentrates, and can therefore be made available as solids as well as in solution.

3. When dissolved in water, crops absorb them easily.

4. Various combinations can be tried out according to the needs.



However, unplanned use of chemical fertilizers can be damaging. Precautions have to be taken regarding the following:

(i) Amounts to be dissolved in water for a specific crop.

(ii) Excess cannot only damage the plant, but also can affect soil quality too. For example, sodium nitrate increases soil alkalinity.

(iii) Potassium and phosphate fertilizers are usually added to soil before sowing. Nitrogenous salts (urea) can be sprayed on the growing crops.



Eutrophication is one of the hazards of nitrate-rich water. Excess nitrogen in the soil gets washed out and reaches ponds, rivers and lakes. There it promotes rapid growth of algae and other microbes, which then fill up the entire body of water, and may even deplete the O2 content of the habitat, causing other organisms to suffocate and die. This phenomenon where the O2 content of an aquatic habitat is reduced to such an extent as to cause death of organisms is called eutrophication.

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