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Tree Essential Elements Manual (Part 3) (water, nitrogen issues & element problems)

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     A critical inorganic component of tree life is water. Roughly 80% of all variation in tree growth is water related, either through water concentration in the soil, aeration interactions, and/or drainage in the soil. Water is an essential “element” of trees. Although it is composed of two essential elements, it functions as a critical feature of everything living. Water dissolves, surrounds, transports, and buffers essential elements. An essential element bath and coating of life is provided by water.
     Described in its most basic form, a tree is a collection of carbon chains with a few other elements attached. What elements a tree requires for life may not be readily available within the environment in which it stands. Within terrestrial environments, usable nitrogen is usually in short supply — if not the most growth-limiting of all essential elements. Nitrogen is one of the key connectors between, and
modifiers of, carbon chains.
    Trees require 19 elements from the environment, plus large amounts of water, to survive and thrive.  In a soil, weathering of minerals and organic matter are two key sources for sustaining essential element balance in trees, while enriching essential elements on a site may be needed for adequate or better performance.

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Community and Urban Forestry
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