The Q&A Archives: Fertilizer Affect On Growth From Seed

Question: I am conducting an experiment on the effects of fertilizer on radish plants. The plants were started from seed and an experimental group watered with a fertilizer solution. These plants all died. My question is should fertilizer be used on seeds when just starting out or wait until the plants have developed. Is there something in the fertilizer that would stunt or forbid any growth of seeds? Incidently, my control group watered with distilled water, all plants survived.

Answer: In some cases fertilizer can "burn" tender new plants. You would use a very dilute solution on tender young seedlings and would not usually begin to fertilize until after true leaves have developed. To some extent the need for fertilizer early on also depends on the soil mix you use as some may have nutrients and some may not.

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