What Are the Causes of High Potassium in Soil?


Potassium is one of several key nutrients found in soil. These nutrients are required for plants to grow steadily without being susceptible to disease. Having too much of one nutrient, for particular plants, can become ruinous to the plant and lead to rapid decline. Determining the root cause of the excess nutrient will help you to balance your soil for the flowers and vegetation you desire.


  • Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral in the soil that is highest in well-drained or aerated soils. The buildup of water in the soil can cause less oxygen intake by the plants in the land. This process causes weaker respiratory ability by the plant and leads to less and less potassium intake.When the soil is loose and has room and structure to drain properly, potassium levels will naturally be higher than other soils that do not drain well. Also, potassium levels tend to be higher in soils with a neutral to acidic pH number.


  • The climate where your soil is located plays an important part in the amount of potassium within the soil. Noble.org describes soil high in potassium as having a moist climate that is moderately hot. The heat in the region will allow excess water to evaporate, thus preventing a buildup of water. Humid climates that allow water to stay on the roots and stems of plants without timely evaporation might cause a decline in potassium.

Mineral Weathering

  • University of Missouri explains, "As (muscovite, biotite, and many feldspars) weather, they form clays. If leaching is not excessive during the weathering, the clays will be high in potassium." The process of leaching is where minerals are pulled away from the source, spreading them out more evenly across the region. The University of Missouri Extension office continues to describe wind blown silts, or loess, that also increases the potassium in soil by the buildup of mineral rich sands and soil being packed together by the wind.

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  • Photo Credit tilled field image by Niki from Fotolia.com
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