Plant growth and development largely depend on the combination and concentration of mineral nutrients available in the soil or growing media.
Something like this:
Most plant nutrients are positive ions that stick to the negative soil particles. When the root acidifies the soil, the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) increases around the soil particles. When this happens, soil particles have to let go other positive ions such as (Ca) Calcium and Magnesium (Mg). Once Ca&Mg ions are released into the water, the root’s hairs detects them and attract them into the main root for uptake.
This is the reason why water is so important in plants development. Water moist the soil and help ions to move freely from one place to the other changing properties between them easily.
Coco Coir, pebbles, clay rocks, and many other growing media are used to resemble the natural environment for roots to grow and perform as if they were doing it in conventional soil, but most of them don’t have the elements needed to grow. This is the reason why growers use bases such as Complete Hydroponic Base Nutrients :
A. Two classes of nutrients are considered essential for plants: Macronutrients and Micronutrients.
They are the building blocks of crucial cellular components like proteins and nucleic acids as they are required in large quantities. Nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium are some of the most important macronutrients. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are also considered macronutrients because they are required in large quantities, but they represent the non-mineral class of macronutrients.
Micronurtrients include, Iron, zinc, manganese, and copper, are required in very small amounts. Micronutrients are often required as cofactors for enzyme activity.
B. In Plant’s Kingdom, we can find two types of root systems: Tap Roots & Fibrous Roots
“Dicots have a tap root system, while monocots have a fibrous root system.”
* Tap Root System:
Taproot is the largest, most central, and most dominant root from which other roots grow laterally. Typically a taproot is straight and very thick, is tapering in shape, and grows downward.
* Fibrous Root System:
Fibrous root systems are usually formed by thin, moderately branching roots growing from the stem.
C. Factors that affect the efficiency of Nutrient Absorption
Have you ever asked why farmers always plow the land before seeding? Well , when the soil is compact and dried, plant’s root have a lot of difficulty to spread, grow, and absorb nutrients. Let’s take a look at some of these factors:
* Nutrient Mobility:
The speed at which nutrients can move throughout the soil profile impacts nutrient uptake. Mobility varies from nutrient to nutrient.
* Soil Structure:
Soil structure plays a large role in how nutrients get to plants. Soil compaction can limit the ability of roots to move toward nutrients and the ability of water to move throughout the profile to get nutrients to the root system.
To solve this problem, companies like Complete Hydroponics came out with a practical solution: Complete Hydroponic Coco Coir. This product is obtained from the fertile areas of India, treated with RO water, and enhanced with Ca&Mg. In addition, Compete Hydroponics Coco Coir is exposed to beneficial bacteria to help increase the metabolic process in the rhizosphere.
* Nutrient Concentration:
The concentration of nutrients in the soil impacts movement of nutrients to the root system. The higher the concentration of nutrients throughout the soil profile increases the opportunity for nutrient movement to the plant.
* Nutrient Absorption:
It happens when nutrients are strongly connected to soil and it will be harder for the nutrients to freely move to the roots. This problem can be solved by mixing your soil with enriched soil amendments such as, worm casting, fulvic acids, bat guano, and any other form of soil enhancer.
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D. How Roots absorb Nutrients
Try to picture in your mind how roots absorb nutrients, what do you see? This is a nice question people use to ask when they think about their plants. Let’s take a look into the heart of a root.
Root hair is a hair-like growth of a plant root that absorbs water and minerals from the soil. Root hairs are extensions of the epidermis that greatly increase the surface area of the root.
The main root:
Is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients, in particular, sucrose, a sugar, to all parts of the plant where needed.
The basic function of xylem is to transport water from roots to shoot and leaves. It is located at the center of the root which makes it easier to supply water to every part of the plant.
* Apical meristem:
Is found at the tips of the plant, both the tip of the shoot and the root and is a region of actively dividing cells. Cell division means root growth and expansion.
* Root cap:
Contain statocytes which are involved in gravity perception in plants as well as the protection of the apical meristem.
“Plants are the master of water & Light and they use these forces to do almost everything.”
E. How nutrients move within the root
For the nutrient uptake process to occur, the individual nutrient ion must be in position adjacent to the root. This process of position occurs in three different ways.
* Root Interception:
Root interception is the process in which roots grow through the to come in contact with nutrients.
* Mass Flow:
Nutrient movement to the roots via water is called mass flow. As the plant transpires water, it draws water from the soil up through the root system. Mass flow accounts for nutrient uptake of mobile nutrients, such as nitrogen and sulfur.
During diffusion, roots grow throughout the profile and takes up nutrients directly around the root system and the root hairs. As the concentration of nutrients around the root system drops, nutrients from higher concentrated areas move toward low concentration areas and toward the roots. This is a natural process that does not require energy or necessarily a protein carrier.
F. The Process of Diffusion, Osmosis and Active Transport
Movement of Nutrients to Roots
Diffusion, Osmosis, and Active Transport are how water and nutrients are moved in and out of plant cells.
- Diffusion is the movement of particles from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration until the concentrations between the two are balanced.
- The term for interchange of molecules across a membrane is osmosis. Diffusion and osmosis occur naturally as a result of random movement and do not require energy. However, for sugars and other nutrients that must move across cell membranes, energy is needed. The plasma membrane of the endoderm blocks the movement of ions into the root. This is when active transport which requires energy is used to move the nutrients into the root and xylem for transport to the growing tissues.
- Active transport uses energy to move substances against low concentration gradient or across a partially permeable membrane. In active transport a special carrier protein in the cell membrane binds to the useful particle on one side of the membrane. The carrier protein then rotates through the membrane and releases the particle on the other side of the membrane. This uses energy from cellular respiration.
Now that you have understood the basic functions of a roots system, we hope you would be more prepared to take actions when it comes to your plants.