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Von Liebig's Law of the Minimum

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Justus von Liebig, generally credited as the "father of the fertilizer industry", formulated the law of the minimum: if one crop nutrient is missing or deficient, plant growth will be poor, even if the other elements are abundant.

Liebig likens the potential of a crop to a barrel with staves of unequal length. The capacity of this barrel is limited by the length of the shortest stave (in this case, water) and can only be increased by lengthening that stave. When that stave is lengthened, another one becomes the limiting factor.

The Law of the Minimum takes on added importance when fertilizer prices — especially of N and P2O5 products — are high. This may tempt some customers to reduce or even eliminate applications of micronutrient or secondary nutrient fertilizers. But von Liebig’s “Law” tells us clearly that if a soil is deficient in, say magnesium, yields will be depressed regardless of how much N-P-K is applied.

Similarely, customers will often be determined to grow grass in a very shaded area where the lawn would not receive enough direct sunlight even though the soil and every other growing condition is met. The new lawn will be soon weakened by the reduced light conditions and give way to weeds and diseases. Fertilizers and watering will be innefective and sometimes adversely effect the lawn.

Take the guesswork out of your lawn care and gardening. Call us to get the full picture and establish a healthy lawn from the start.