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The Role of Sodium and its Derivative Fertilizers in Agriculture

Explore the essential role of sodium in plant growth, its sources, impacts of deficiency and overdose, and how it enhances crop yield and soil health.
Home » Blog » The Role of Sodium and its Derivative Fertilizers in Agriculture

Sodium is required as an essential element for some crops. However, the sugar and root crops require adequate concentration for a high yield. Sodium benefits the plants in many ways. It maintains the plant growth and formation of many plant parts. Deficiency and Overdose of the Sodium can be fatal for the plant functioning. So, plants must be supplied with the right proportion. 

In this article, I am sharing detailed information on the roles, sources, and effects of deficiency and Overdose of Sodium. 

Sources of Sodium in Pants

The main source of Sodium in plants is minerals. These are present within the Soil. With time, they break down and provide the Sodium content to the plants. Besides this, Sodium can also be provided to plants through fertilizers. However, you must proceed with caution in terms of its usage quantities. 

Commonly Used Sodium Derivative Fertilizers

Commonly Used Sodium Derivative Fertilizers

The following are the highly useful Sodium molecule-based fertilizers that are: 

  • Sodium sulfate
  • Sodium Nitrate 
  • Sodium Nitrite

Salt/Sodium Tolerance Level in Plants

The Overall tolerance of the plants is below 70 milligrams/liter. In terms of the plant parts, they can bear the 5% sodium concentration. Plants only require a small amount of Sodium for their functioning. Root crops and sugar plants usually require their high concentrations. 

Plants that Require Sodium in High Amounts

  • C4 species
  • Plant families that require Sodium
  • Portulacaceae
  • Gramineae
  • Amaranthaceae
  • Cyperaceae
  • Chenopodiaceae
  • blue–green algae

Brief Description of the Roles of Sodium & its Derivatives in Agriculture

A balanced amount of Sodium is necessary for the growth of the plants. Besides this, although it’s not an essential element for plants, Sodium becomes essential when the amount of potassium is reduced within the plants.

  • Forage and Grassland Palatability

Aside from promoting the growth of the plants, they have also affected the plant parts positively. They improve the overall palatability of the forage crops. Besides this, it is also helpful for managing the sugar content in the plant parts that improve the grassland’s palatability. This palatability affects the milk and meat production of the animals feeding on this grass. 

  • Synthesis of Sugar’s

Sodium is also important to produce the sugars. They are important for plant life improvement and increasing yield. Plants require different forms of sugars to perform various functions and byproduct formation. Sodium helps in the production of sucrose, fructose, and fructanse.

  • Synthesis Of Chlorophyll

However, the plants require small amounts of Sodium. Sodium is essential for the formation of the chlorophyll. Like the micronutrients, Sodium is an important nutrient for chlorophyll to function properly. 

  • Osmotic Pressure Controller in Plants

These help utilize the water in plant parts more efficiently. Sodium presence ensures the regulation of the plant water levels. It maintains the osmoregulatory features of the plant parts. Besides this, it is also helpful for transporting nutrients in and out of the cell by maintaining the pressure.

  • PH Homeostasis

Sodium or its derivative fertilizers are important in Soil to maintain pH levels. Plants require stable pH to grow faster and improve their yield. It acts as a buffer for the Soil, which is helpful for germination and plant development. 

  • Electrical Neutralization

Many macromolecules are present within the plants. Sodium balances the organic and inorganic anions of molecules. In this way, the molecules are neutralized electrically using the Sodium.

  • Electrical Balance of Membrane 

The membranes of the cell require the balance of the charges. Sodium balances the cells through which they maintain the membrane’s electrical potential.

  • Productivity Of the Plants

The presence of Sodium also improves and increases the overall production rate of the crops. Due to the growing soil media, the plants improve their health.

  • Soil Fertility

Sodium and its Derivative Fertilizers-Soil Fertility

Sodium improves the soil structure. It replaces the overall chemical components of the fertilizers within the Soil. It benefits the plant parts by helping enhance the natural fertility power of the cells. 

  • Water Conservation through Stomata

Sodium also conserves the loss of the water. Its presence is necessary to keep the stomata close. It restricts the carbon dioxide in the stomata, which results in the reduction of photosynthesis. In this way, they act as water conservers in the Soil, preventing water loss. 

  • Replacement of Potassium in Root Growth

Many plant roots require potassium and can’t take up the required amount from the Soil. In that case, Sodium acts as a replacement element that performs all the functions of potassium.

Specific Roles of Sodium Derivatives in Plant Growth

  • Sodium Sulfate

This fertilizer is readily available to the plants to perform various functions. Sodium promotes the production levels of the plants. Moreover, it protects the plants from environmental damage. However, the minimum amount is enough to do all plant functions. Don’t comprise the quantity for healthy plant growth because excessive amounts can introduce toxicity.

  • Sodium Nitrate

The low Concentration of Sodium promotes the plant growth and development. The presence of sodium nitrate provides a quick boost to the plants. It’s a quick source for supplying the plants with the right and usable amount of nitrogen. However, its limited amount is preferred because it can burn the plants. From the 19th century, providing the required nitrogen content to the plants was highly preferable. It is also formed during the process of plant photosynthesis.

  • Sodium Nitrite

It is also a useful source of nitrogen for plants. This nitrogen is present in water-soluble form. It also acts as a buffer for the soil. It’s a chemical that is synthetically prepared. It also protects the plants from toxins. It requires strict precautions to use as a fertilizer

Impacts of Sodium Deficiency and Overdose in Plants

Sodium is not a macronutrient, so its smaller amounts are essential for plant growth. Overdose and deficiency of Sodium can lead to serious effects on plant growth. At this moment, the effects in both conditions are as follows:

Effects of Sodium Deficiency

  • In case of sodium deficiency, the leaves of the plants become more chlorotic. Moreover, the tips of the leaves become necrotic as well. This sign of deficiency is almost similar in all of the plant species. 
  • They stop the growth of the plants.
  • Moreover, the plant tissues become drier with time. 
  • Without Sodium, the plants will be unable to synthesize the chlorophyll. 

Sodium Overdose Effects

Sodium Overdose Effects

  • It starts to weaken the soil particles’ bond. Sodium replaces most of the soil cation particles and thus degrades the Soil. 
  • Excessive amounts of Sodium in the Soil cause the germination of the seeds. 
  • It affects and reduces the overall productivity of the crops. 
  • It increases the toxicity in the plants, which results in the killing of sensitive plants. 
  • Moreover, it decreases the porosity of the Soil, thus affecting the water and air-holding capacity of the soil particles. 
  • It might cause dehydration of the plant cells. 
  • Sodium disrupts the normal functioning of the photosynthesis system because of the high concentrations in the Soil. 

Elaboration of the Benefits of Sodium in Crops and Soil   

However, sodium is a nutrient that affects the plant’s growth positively if you use it properly. Small amounts of sodium are essential for the plants’ growth. Sodium has the following benefits on crops and soil:

  • It’s helpful for the production, formation, and working of chlorophyll.
  • It increases the overall metabolism and the metabolic activities in the plants. This function is highly promotive of plant growth.
  • It helps maintain the overall Concentration of water plant cells and cell walls.
  • It also maintains the life of the dual spores that make up the healthy associations with the plants.


Sodium or salt is required in the plants in low amounts that are beneficial to perform various functions within the plants. These are helpful for the production of chlorophyll and the maintenance of photosynthesis in plants. Their low concentration results in the wilting or necrosis of the plant parts, especially on leaves, and ultimately affects the production rate. However, the high concentrations of Sodium decrease the soil porosity, dehydration, and even death of the plants. That’s why it’s better to use Sodium after the soil test. 

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