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Soils - Part 6: Phosphorus and Potassium in the Soil

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This lesson explains the importance of phosphorus fixation and describes methods for applying phosphorus and the advantages (and disadvantages) of each. It also describes the three forms of potassium and how form determines availability of potassium to plants.

[This lesson, as well as the other nine lessons in the Soils series, is taken from the "Soils Home Study Course," published in 1999 by the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension.]


Next to nitrogen, phosphorus (P) is by far the most limiting nutrient in Nebraska for crop production. However, while nitrogen is limiting on most all soils for grain crops, native levels of phosphorus are adequate in many of Nebraska’s soils even for irrigated corn. This makes it important to know when to use phosphorus fertilizers and how to manage them for maximum effectiveness. If not, the return of the fertilizer investment is, for all practical purposes, lost.


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