Nitrogen can always be a fertilizer, nutrient, or pollutant depending on the circumstances and the environment it is in. As a fertilizer, nitrogen can be extremely useful in aiding the growth of many plants. As a nutrient, nitrogen is essential to many plants growth and survival. As a pollutant, nitrogen can not only affect the plant at the given time but be very detrimental many years down the road. No matter where you go nitrogen will always be either a fertilizer, nutrient, or pollutant.
Nitrogen can be considered as both a fertilizer and nutrient under the right constraints. I will use citrus plants as one of my examples. For citrus growers applying nitrogen to plants is a common and needed practice. “Spring is the best time to apply nitrogen to citrus. Research has shown that the demand for nitrogen in citrus is highest from bloom through June and most of the supplemental nitrogen fertilizer should be applied during this time period.” It is a major key to plant growth and development. Nitrogen is crucial to citrus plants for optimal growth and yield. Without nitrogen you can see suffering results for many years down the road.
Citrus responds readily to nitrogen nutrition. Current and past research shows that if nitrogen is maintained in fall-sampled citrus leaves between 2.4 and 2.6 % on a dry-weight basis for oranges, and between 2.2 and 2.4 % for lemons, a good balance is struck between yield, size and fruit quality. The evidence linking nitrogen to puff, crease, smaller fruit size and staining does exist, but these negative effects are most significant at nitrogen levels greater than 2.6 % nitrogen. Some growers have decreased nitrogen applicati...
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...le harming crops up to 8 years later. Nitrogen is an important element, whether it is in water or some other form, but either way it can easily be a vicious pollutant.
What category do you think nitrogen should be in--fertilizer, nutrient, or pollutant? Should you take into account how much nitrogen can help a plant like with fruit size or yield? Or should you weigh heavily on how much nitrogen can hurt a plant and for such an extended period of time? There are many ways to dispute either of these choices for or against but none of them are a perfect fit.
Craig Kallsen. http://cekern.ucdavis.edu/Custom Program143/Citrus Nitrogen Fertilizer.htm.
Power, Sally A.; Green, Emma R.; Barker, Chris G.; Bell, J. Nigel B.; Ashmore, Mike R. "Ecosystem recovery: heathland response to a reduction in nitrogen deposition." Global Change Biology 12
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