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Natural fertilizer

Term for the natural, organic substances (in contrast to the second large group of artificially produced, mineral substances) used in fertilization; see there.

Term for the practice in agriculture of compensating for a deficiency in the soil by adding nutrients of a mineral and organic nature. The name is derived from "manure" (excrement of herbivores, especially ungulates). This oldest form of fertiliser was already used six millennia ago. Targeted fertilisation began in the 18th century with wood ash, lime and marl. Around 1840, the German chemist Justus Liebig (1803-1873) proved the growth-promoting effect of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. He wrote in his haptwerk "Organic Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Physiology": The soil must regain in full what is taken from it by harvesting.

Of course, these principles also apply to viticulture. During the annual vegetation cycle in the vineyard, large amounts of nutrients are removed from the soil. Losses occur through leaching (on light soils especially of boron, potassium and magnesium), erosion (soil erosion especially on slopes), gaseous loss (especially nitrogen) and fixation (binding of nutrients in forms not available to plants), as well as through grape harvesting. A vine with about 200 leaves produces about half a kilo of dry matter, i.e. shoots, leaves and grapes, in the annual vegetative cycle. Within the EU, there are legally defined fertiliser regulations for agriculturally used areas.

In contrast to other plants, the vine is less demanding on soil fertility. It is a phenomenon that there are many famous sites with top wines that often have relatively lean soil. A certain nutrient stress can even have a very positive effect. However, this does not mean that the quality of the wine automatically increases with increasing soil barrenness. Too little (deficiency) is just as negative as too much (overfertilisation). As a rule, the necessary fertilisation measures must be checked every five to six years by soil tests. This usually involves determining the stocks of boron, potassium, calcium (lime),...

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