Potassium chloride is a chemical compound that is also a metal halide salt. It comprises of potassium and chloride. Potassium chloride has no smell at all and has colorless vitreous crystal or a white appearance. Potassium is also soluble in water very quickly as well as its solutions. Additionally, it has a salty like taste.
Apart from being used as a fertilizer, it has many other uses such as in medicine, used to cause cardiac arrest as well as in food processing. Potassium chloride exists naturally as sylvite mineral and in a combination of sylvinite and sodium chloride.
As noted above, potassium chloride has soluble properties and dissolves in a number of [polar solvents. There solutions of potassium chloride that is standard, for instance the electricity conductivity and calibration. Potassium chloride solutions are stable, and by they allow for reproducible measurements.
The importance of potassium
Potassium is a crucial component and is needed by all plants as well as animal. Sufficient potassium results in high quality of the whole plant. This is because it improves the efficiency of photosynthesis, as well as great water user efficiency and increased resistance to diseases. Potassium chloride helps maintain a normal balance between proteins and carbohydrates.
Sufficient amount of potassium chloride leads to stronger cereal crops and helps in seed filling. Lack of potassium and chlorine in cereal plants such as beans and maize results into reduce growth, slow growth and hence delayed maturity, lower bushel weight and weaker straw. Lack of potassium chloride in the soil can easily be corrected by using the potassium chloride fertilizer.
Most lands have sufficient plant available potassium that is enough for plant growth. The total amount of potassium found in soil is usually more than 4000 in the top 6 inches of soil. However, only 2 percent of the potassium available is in form of plants. It’s easy to make potassium available in the crops through weathering of the soil minerals.
There are three type of potassium in the soil
Only about 90 percent of soil potassium is food in clay minerals the potassium in the soil is within the layered clay sheets and hence plants cannot access it.
Slowly available potassium
About 10 percent of potassium in the soil is slowly becoming available to plants. Weathering of the clay solid to get the potassium to come on the surface is very slow.
Potassium only occurs in organic form and naturally in the soil. It is not part of the soil organic matter. Potassium, together with its solutions occur in positively charged ions (K+). The surface of the clay soil and soil colloids are negatively charged. Therefor potassium easily gets absorbed on a negatively charged soil elements. Potassium does not move inside the soil and it is not subjected to downward movement.
Soils that have less potassium ions are sandy and medium textured soils in the gray, gray black and black soils. A test is always important to determine potassium chloride application is required.
You have to know that potassium is normally absorbed by plants in ionic state (K+). The mostly used fertilizer is potassium chloride which has at least 60 percent K20.
Cereals that lack the potassium ion usually look like a burning of the lower leavers. The burning usually starts at the left tip and spreads down the leaf margin. Lower leaves of plants are affected. This is because the potassium ions are shifted to the new upper leaves in order to satisfy requirements.
Determining the amount of potassium in the soil
The simplest way to determine the amount of fertilizer in the soil is through the soil tests. The most common soil test technique is Kelowna.
Methods of application
As we have noted, potassium does not move inside the soil. Therefore, it becomes crucial to place potassium chloride near the seed; this is an effective and efficient way of applying the fertilizer. Remember, do not apply too much fertilizer than the seed cannot tolerate. Potassium chloride is a salt, if you use too much of it, then the soil will have high salt index and a salt effect can reduce the process of germination as well as emergence. Excess salt also interferes with moisture uptake which consequently leads to the death of the seed.
The level of fertilizer to be applied will depend on the crop itself. In general, crops with smaller seeds like canola cannot tolerate fertilizer like cereal crops. The organic matter in the soil and the clay will also have an impact on the seeds, thus it will affect the germination process. Soil that has high organic matter holds a lot of water. This can reduce the salt effect by diluting the amount of potassium chloride in the soil water.
This is the safest method of applying the potassium chloride. It is way better than seed placement, especially where higher amount of the fertilizer needs to be applied
The other name for banding is deep banding. This is whereby the sodium chloride fertilizer is applied in high concentration before seeding takes place.
The main aim of this method of application is to build up soils that have insufficient potassium and chlorine components.
For perennial crops, the best way to apply potassium is through broadcasting and using it at higher rates of 100lb before seeding. High level of potassium should be used in places with less potassium in the solid. This way, it becomes easy to handle the issue of limited movement of potassium in the soil.
The role of chloride in Sodium chloride fertilizer
Chlorine is one of the elements that are found in abundance on this planet. It is found in minerals, soil, animals and even plants. Seawater is one of the main collectors of chlorine it collects chlorine from elements that have corroded, elements that have been transported by rivers from different continents.
Chlorine was discovered in 1774. A pharmacist from Sweden discovered it when he put some drops of hydrochloric acid on a small piece of manganese. He saw a greenish yellow gas from the reaction. The gas was later named chlorine in 1810.
When it comes to agriculture, chlorine has so many uses and benefits as well. Chloride is a component that is crucial for many different plant functions although people only classify in as only a micronutrient. It is very important when it is combined with potassium for proper function of stomata openings. With the combination of chlorine and potassium, the plant is able to maintain its internal water balance.
That’s not the only role of chloride in plants. Chloride also plays a critical role in the process of photosynthesis. It specifically helps to control the hydrolysis process. It also helps the process of action balance and also the transportation of nutrients and ions throughout the system.
Research shows that chloride can also reduce the rate of fungal infection by a great percentage. There is still research that is going on about the role of the chloride in growth of plants. It also promotes the use of ammonium nitrate in plants.
This factor could vividly explain the role chloride plays in suppression of diseases because plants with high levels of nitrates are prone to getting diseases. The higher the amount of nitrates in a plant, the higher are the chances getting an infection.
A lot of chloride in the soil is extremely soluble and it is found in the soil in form of chloride ion. In this form, the chloride ions are extremely mobile unless it is held by the anion exchange sites in the soil. This is one factor that affects the availability of chloride in the soil for the plants to use. Like nitrate, molybdenum and sulfate, chloride is also an ion. If one ion is less than the other ion is available in plenty.
If the levels of chloride are high in a plant, there is a possibility of danger as high levels of chloride could be toxic to the plant. It is easy to spot signs and symptoms of excess chloride. The effects are the same to the ones associated with salt damage. The size of leaves could drastically reduce in diameter although it will remain thicker. The growth of plants is stunted and the margins of the leaves disappear.
Yellowing of the leaves, wilting stubby roots or even bronzing are some of early signs of a very low level of chloride. In order for you to handle chloride diseases that come as a result of less chloride and deficiencies, use sodium chloride fertilizer.
Chloride soil test
Extreme effects of chloride and the growth of plants are very minimal- almost null. This is because there are many sources of chloride that are available. The excess chloride could also leach away.
From the information above, we can conclude that the potassium chloride fertilizer is very important for plant growth and overall well being