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Lesson 07 – Nutrients in Soil

Read About Nutrients in Soil


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.


Bacteria are microscopic creatures that live in all natural environments.


To decompose means to break down or be broken down, usually by living-things.


Fertilizer is a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to help plants grow.


Nutrients are the things that plants or animals need to grow and to stay healthy.


Roots grow in soil and soak up nutrients and water for the plant.


Soil is a mixture of minerals and organisms that cover most of the earth’s surface and is where plants grow.


A substance is the material, or matter, of which something is made.


Vitamins are nutrients that you need in order to grow and be healthy.

What Are Nutrients?

Nutrients are substances that people, plants, and animals need to grow and stay healthy. Vitamins are examples of nutrients that people need. We get nutrients from the foods we eat.

Where Do Plants Get Nutrients?

Plants get nutrients from living things in the soil. The living things give nutrients back to the soil when they decompose. Their waste gives nutrients of the soil, too. Animal droppings are non-living things, but they come from live animals. Animals leave their droppings on the ground, where they get mixed into soil.

How Do Plants Get Nutrients from Soil?

A plant root cannot take in droppings or a dead worm. So how do plants get nutrients from the soil?

Bacteria in the soil feed on dead creatures, such as a dead worm. As the bacteria eat, they free nutrients from the dead creature’s body. Those nutrients mix into the soil.

People put nutrients into soil when they use fertilizer in their gardens. Fertilizer helps plants grow because it is full of nutrients.

The nutrients in soil mix with water. When plant roots take in water, they also take in nutrients. When the soil is too dry, plants cannot take in the nutrients from the soil. Plants will die if they do not get enough nutrients.

Fertilizer in soil

To learn more about how plants get nutrients from soil, watch the video by Soil Food Web School on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.