>MORRIS, Minn., June 16--Gardeners and farmers who are used to
>N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) levels on their
>fertilizer bags may
>someday be checking N-P-K-V levels in their soil. That's V for vanadium.
>Vanadium "impersonates" phosphorus and can confuse a plant into
>instead of phosphorus. That can cause the plant to experience a
>akin to that of people who eat junk food in place of a nutritious meal,
>reports soil scientist Alan F. Olness with the USDA's
>"Phosphorus is an essential nutrient plants need for growth.
>But vanadium, a
>trace element abundant in soils throughout the world, is useless to many
>plants, including corn, soybean, tomatoes, Impatiens and petunias."
>During a growing season," he said, "plants may have only two
>or three time
>windows during which they can take in phosphorus. If they fill up on
>vanadium instead, they miss out on phosphorus, because their root cells
>can't tell them apart. Their growth and development--and
>more vanadium, the more the plant slows down and the lower the
>ornamentals, the slowdown could result in less beauty and hardiness."
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