Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments


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Desert plants evolved to get as much water and nutrients out of their environments as possible.

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Thorny bushes and plants protect against water predators, while mesquite bushes and trees developed long taproots — up to 30 feet — to retrieve as much water as possible from supplies beneath the ground. Other desert plants have shallow root systems that spread wide beneath the ground to collect as much water as possible when it rains. Succulents thrive because they store water within their fleshy innards for periods of drought. With rainfall that occurs regularly throughout the year, many plants grow in a rainforest, and competition is steep for the sun and nutrients in the ground.

Plants in a rainforest evolved to have broad waxy leaves that easily shed rainwater for respiration purposes, but open wide to collect energy from the sun. Once a tree reaches above the canopy of the rainforest, its leaves become smaller and more efficient. Many rainforest plants have shallow roots because they focus on collecting nutrients as opposed to water. Orange trees in Florida, USA growing in a fertile sandy loam soil.

Nutrient resorption or accumulation of desert plants with contrasting sodium regulation strategies

Planting corn and applying commercial fertilizers and soil amendments in the USA. Alkaline soil deposits in a desert area in California, USA. A stunted ear of corn caused by an extreme soil nitrogen deficiency.


  1. Key to life in the desert: What new research reveals about the importance of soil crusts;
  2. Desert Soils.
  3. John Ruskin: The Critical Heritage (The Collected Critical Heritage : Victorian Thinkers).

Surface application of inorganic fertilizer in Arizona, USA. Potassium-deficient corn in the USA.

Native vegetation in a desert area in Arizona, USA. Side-dressing corn with anhydrous ammonia nitrogen fertilizer in the USA. Beef cattle grazing on an irrigated pasture in a desert area in Colorado, USA.

5 Edible Desert Plants

Injection of liquid municipal sewage sludge into agricultural soil in the USA. Young citrus trees growing in a desert area in Arizona, USA. An outstanding home in a desert area in California, USA. Copper mine tailings that have been contoured to prevent wind erosion in Arizona, USA. A irrigated family farm in a desert area in the southwestern USA. A modern city established in a desert environment in the southwestern USA.


  • The Desert Biome.
  • The Cleverness Of Ladies Quick Reads.
  • Desert Soils | Soils 4 Teachers.
  • Plant Growth in Desert Environments | SpringerLink.
  • Associated Data!
  • Desert Habitat: Facts?
  • These plant nutrients provide the necessary food, clothing, and shelter for human existence. As the population of the world increases, the plant nutrients in desert environments become more and more important for the survival of mankind. Teachers Guide. T he Desert Biome - Site for all things desert related. Deserts of the US and the World, geology, culture, and survival tips! UC-Berkeley Website. More information on the desert biomes, including plants, and detailed climate breakdowns for the four major desert types.

    Return to the Around the World webpage. K Soil Science Teacher Resources.

    Drought-Tolerant Plants

    Breadcrumb Home. Desert Soils Desert soils are dry, and tend to have clumpy vegetation. Penguins live in deserts too! As Antarctica is one of the driest places on the planet. Dunes are sands blown into piles. When it rains in the desert, seeds sprout and form desert blooms. Most desert crusts are bacteria, and protect the soils surfaces from sudden rainfall. This is salt buildup that can result from mismanagement of water resources.

    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments
    Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments Plant Nutrients in Desert Environments

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