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What Is Potassium Fertilizer?

Potassium is an important fertilizer ingredient because it helps with photosynthesis.
Potash, which is often included in fertilizer.
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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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Simply put, potassium fertilizer is a variety of fertilizer that has potassium as the primary ingredient. This type of fertilizer can also be called potash fertilizer, as potash contains potassium in salt form. Along with potassium, two other elements, nitrogen and phosphorus, form a very potent fertilizer that will benefit gardens and lawns.

There are several methods of collecting potassium to create the fertilizer. One way is to mine the element from underground. Potassium can even be found as deep as 3,000 feet ( meters) underground. Factories then process the elements and combine them with other elements such as sulfur and magnesium.

Another form of potassium fertilizer is the muriate of potash. Potassium chloride deposited from seabeds is mined and made into fertilizer. At most, the fertilizer contains 60 percent potash. Some experts discourage the use of muriate of potash because the fertilizer can damage some good bacteria in the soil. A safer alternative is the sulfate of potash, which has about 40 percent of potash in it.

Perhaps the most natural potassium fertilizer is wood ash. Many centuries ago, people would collect the ashes in huge metallic pots and out them in the soil. This type of fertilizer only has 6 percent potash, but a higher amount of lime. In a similar manner, corncobs can also be reduced to ashes, which can contain an average of 35 percent potash. Any fibrous organic materials can produce a considerable amount of potash if burnt to ashes.

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Potassium fertilizer is a popular choice for gardeners because it provides many benefits. For one, it helps strengthen the fibers, making plants grow sturdier and bigger. Potassium also aids the plants during photosynthesis, which can make for greener and healthier plants. The element can also act as a stimulant for the plants to produce and consume starch, a very important process for the formation of seeds and fruits. Plants enriched with potassium fertilizer also have healthier and longer roots that help the soil decrease its erosion level.

Other benefits of potassium are decreased wilting, water loss, and diseases. Some symptoms of potassium-deficient plants are the yellowing or purple coloring of leaves with crisped or curled edges. Before applying any potassium fertilizer, it is important to have the soil tested first; otherwise, too much potassium can cause more harm than good both to the soil and plants. The fertilizer can be purchased either in grains or in fluid form.

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