Cations are positively charged nutrients in the soil, and many of them you may already know. Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, and Hydrogen are all common cations.
The balance they share with each other and the other negatively charged nutrients is extremely important to soil balance.
(*Calcium (Ca) is the base nutrient/ The comparison ratios will be 1 to 1 for Calcium. Sodium has the highest comparison ratio, 1 to 1.82. This means that Sodium has 1.82x more pulling capacity than Calcium, or a lot more holding power.*)
Why is this so important?
Remember that the normal flow of an electrical charge in nature is positive to negative:
- All clay and humus colloidal soil particles carry a negative charge on their surface. So, this will attract desirable positive nutrients for the plant, if in proper balance.
- Proper soil balance means that the positive and negative charges are loosely held in the soil solution, allowing a growing plant with a negatively charged root to attract and take cation (which are +) nutrients as needed.
- Example: A plant needs Calcium, it removes it from the soil and it is replace by another cation which can move easily if the soil is in proper balance. This is the definition of base exchange. If the cations go out of balance (due to excess sodium, high quantities of magnesium, or other high bicarbonates) it will cause the soil to tighten, creating a blockage in flow for the nutrients to get to the plant. This creates a problem for the growing plant, that even when nutrients are directly applied (cations), the plant cannot access them.
Wrapping up? Cations are important, check your soil balance, and you will have successful growth in all of your plants. Contact us with any soil questions or inquiries about how our products can help.