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Roots don't really "feed" plants

By James Feucht, PhD, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension

Although fertilizers often are called "plant food," plants can't really feed and fertilizers aren't really food. They are raw minerals that plant roots take up mostly in salt form. These minerals, called ions, are used by plants in photosynthesis to make food (carbohydrates/sugars). The fine roots of plants absorb water and minerals (not food), thus are more correctly called "absorbing roots," rather than "feeder roots."

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010