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Opinion >  Letters

Phosphorus gets unfair rap

The Spokesman-Review

Let’s look at some factual information regarding phosphorus in lawn and other fertilizers. Phosphorus is an essential plant element. Scientific data (Penn State, Michigan State, WSU) shows that phosphorus fertilizers move very little in the soil – about one quarter inch per year. This is why farmers will place the phosphorus next to the seed when they plant. Much of the background phosphorus in the soil is unavailable to plants.

Grass utilizes phosphorus, so the product applied to a lawn will be used by the plant. Most quality lawn fertilizers have low amounts of phosphorus because too much will cause grass seed heads to form below mowing height, and this does not provide us with an attractive lawn.

Flowering plants and garden crops, especially root crops (carrots, etc.), need higher levels of phosphorus. This element aids in flowering, fruit set, photosynthesis and root development.

We have to ask ourselves how a little bit of phosphorus, that moves very little in the soil and which is utilized by the plant, will ever make it into the aquifer. Common sense tells us this simply won’t happen.

Please use common sense and don’t jump on the misinformation bandwagon.

Wayne K. Stewart

Otis Orchards


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