Any substance such as manure or a mixture of nitrates used to make soil more fertile.
Substance containing some or all of a range of about 20 chemical elements necessary for healthy plant growth, used to compensate for the deficiencies of poor or depleted soil. Fertilizers may be organic, for example farmyard manure, composts, bonemeal, blood, and fishmeal; or inorganic, in the form of compounds, mainly of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, which have been used on a very much increased scale since 1945.
Because externally applied fertilizers tend to be in excess of plant requirements and drain away to affect lakes and rivers (see eutrophication), attention has turned to the modification of crop plants themselves. Plants of the legume family, including the bean, clover, and lupin, live in symbiosis with bacteria located in root nodules, which fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Research is now directed to producing a similar relationship between such bacteria and crops such as wheat.
fertiliser · plant food