Fertilizer use is an integral part of conventional vegetable production, but it has become a serious environmental issue. The two nutrients having the greatest potentialto harm water quality are nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Nitrogen and phosphorus loading in surface water bodies contributes to an eutrophic environment in which a body of water becomes enriched in nutrients that stimulate the growth of aquatic plants (e.g., algae), which in turn lead to the depletion of oxygen in the water. Nitrate pollution of ground water is a serious potential problem because of its effect on drinking water quality. This reference sheet provides an overview of the use and effects of applying nutrients.
This is reference sheet 9.9 in the Farm Water Quality Planning series.
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