Nitrogen is good for the soil because it is important for plant growth, plant metabolism, and the creation of chlorophyll. Without any nitrogen, the plant cannot grow enough and produce enough food. Too much nitrogen can be dangerous to the plants, causing them to burn, shriveling up all the leaves.5

Nitrogen can also cause damage to groundwater and oceans. That's why it is important to find a balance in how much nitrogen is used. Soil should contain 40ppm of nitrogen. Recommendations for how much nitrogen is needed in the soil vary from plant to plant. For example, carrots and beets should have 4 ounces of nitrogen per 250 feet of row. Sweet corn needs 8 ounces per 250 feet of a row when the plants have 8-10 leaves. Then they need 3.2 ounces when the first silks appear.1

Plants need nitrogen in order to grow correctly and grow strong. “Plants deficient in nitrogen have thin, spindly stems and their growth is stunted. Their older leaves turn yellowish-green from nitrogen starvation (chlorosis), while newer leaves are supplied with the available, but limited nitrogen.”2
Without nitrogen, plants don’t use carbohydrates effectively. “When plants lack nitrogen, they become yellowed, with stunted growth, and produce smaller fruits and flowers.”3 Without Nitrogen, plants make protein ineffectively. They grow weaker, and produce less. “When plants do not get enough nitrogen, they are unable to produce amino acids.”4 Without these amino acids, plants are unable to make the proteins that plant cells need to grow.


Nitrogen can be added to the soil naturally or manually. The USDA states, "Nitrogen is added to soil naturally from N fixation by soil bacteria and legumes and through atmospheric deposition in rainfall."5 However, some crops require more nitrogen than others, and if these crops are grown, they can deprive the soil of all its nutrients. This is why we use products like fertilizers to increase nutrient levels to soil. But if the crops deprive the soil of nitrogen, how do they get it back? There are many ways to replenish soil's nitrogen levels, and some happen naturally. The USDA continues to state, "Organic forms [of nitrogen] occur in soil organic matter which consists of three primary parts including small (fresh) plant residues and small living soil organisms, decomposing (active) organic matter, and stable organic matter." Previously, nitrogen in soil did not need to be measured, as people just focused on planting crops to feed themselves. However, with a closer observation, scientists have been able to figure out methods of replenishing the nitrogen in soil. Why is nitrogen important in our soil? Nitrogen allows for the plant to survive. It's purpose is "chlorophyll and plant leaf development and every day functions from DNA, RNA and proteins."6

How to Correct Nitrogen Deficiency

Plant growth structure, the plants food processing, and the chlorophyll creation is all due to nitrogen's benefit. Although nitrogen's presence would benefit the plants, too much nitrogen can harm the plant. When too much nitrogen takes up the soil, the nitrogen will cause rapid growth in plants as well as algae. Microbes in the water will decompose the phytoplankton that have died, which will result in a reduction of oxygen and everything that is living in this environment will die.7 Too much nitrogen will cause plants to burn and shrivel up, as well as causing environmental issues to the groundwater. Plants will also not be able to produce food for themselves if they are exposed to too much nitrogen.8

Nitrogen helps plants prosper and is a vital part of growth. Plants such as fava beans, black beans, soybeans, and peas actually help to fix nitrogen from the air and use the nitrogen to make nitrates. Which is the form of nitrogen absorbed by the roots of plants. The process is an association between the plant and bacteria. The bacteria transforms nitrogen into a nitrate by a complex biochemical mechanism. The element molybdenum is needed in the enzymes to achieve such a task. This works by adding small amounts of ammonium molybdate to the soil. After harvest, the leaves, stalks, roots, and bacteria remain in the soil to contribute to the next crops.9

The science:

Nitrogen plays an essential element in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA which are important molecules needed for all life. When plants do not get enough Nitrogen through soil, they are unable to produce amino acids.
"Without amino acids, plants cannot make the special proteins that the plant cells need to grow."
[Nitrogen] is also a major component in amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.10 Without amino acids, the plants will wither and die. Plants take up the nitrogen through the roots, so it is important to have nitrogen-rich soil.11
Another vital reason that soil needs nitrogen is to produce chlorophyll in plants.12 Chlorophyll is the chemical in plants that make them green and healthy. Chlorophyll's job is to absorb sunlight to create energy for the plant. Without this chemical plants can't grow.13

Plants need more nitrogen than any other nutrient but only a small portion of the nitrogen in soil is available to plants; 98% of the nitrogen in soil is in organic forms. Most forms of organic nitrogen, excluding some small organic molecules, cannot be taken up by plants.14 In the process of mineralization, soil microorganisms convert organic forms of nitrogen to mineral forms when they decompose organic matter and fresh plant residues.15

Nitrogen is a key element in plant growth and is found in all plant cells, proteins and hormones, and chlorophyll.16 When applied to soil, nitrogen is converted into mineral form, nitrate, so that plants can take it up.17

Why is Nitrogen so important? Nitrogen is really important for plant growth (structure), plant food processing (metabolism), and the creation of chlorophyll. Without enough nitrogen in the plant, the plant cannot grow taller, or produce enough food. Farmers may add fertilizers containing nitrogen to their crops, to increase crop growth. Without nitrogen fertilizers, scientists estimate that we would lose up to one third of the crops we rely on for food and other types of agriculture.18

Nitrogen is a very important component for all life. It is an important part of many cells and processes such as amino acids, proteins and even our DNA. It is also needed to make chlorophyll in plants, which is used in photosynthesis to make their food. Nitrogen is very important and needed for plant growth. It is found in healthy soils, and gives plants the energy to grow, and produce fruit or vegetables. Nitrogen is part of the chlorophyll molecule, which gives plants their green color and is involved in creating food for the plant through photosynthesis.19

Nitrogen is a base for life if that makes sense. We have our plants which need nitrogen. Some animals we eat, eat plants. Without nitrogen, it would be hard to survive. We probably wouldnt at all. In conclusion Nitrogen is very important.20