Nutrients: What Fertilizer is Made of & Which One is Right for You

Fertilizer is integral to the success of your sod, but there are so many different varieties available. This makes it confusing to figure out which type to buy. It can also be confusing comparing the different fertilizers available because of the numbers on the bag. There are typically 3 main numbers on the bag (ex, 16-16-16), which stand for the different quantities of the 3 major nutrients. The 3 main nutrients found in fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, N-P-K. Before you pick your fertilizer and start to fertilize, you should first understand what each of these nutrients does for your lawn.

Nutrients Farm Fresh Sod OrderSodNow Sod Rolls Grass Fertilizer Application

N-P-K Nutrients

Nitrogen is the first nutrient listed. Nitrogen is integral to the growth of the plant. It helps the blades of the grass to grow more rapidly and to become deeper in colour. Without nitrogen, the growth of your grass could be stunted and appear more yellow than green in colour. This is important when promoting new growth and when you start a new lawn from seed.

Phosphorous is the middle number, and helps to promote growth beneath the soil. Phosphorous is mainly responsible for regulating the formation of proteins in plants. It will create a healthy and deep root system for your turf. When there is a phosphorous deficiency you will notice stunted growth and less resistance to diseases.

Potassium is the third, and last of the main nutrients found in fertilizers. One of the most important functions of potassium is that it regulates water usage within the plant. Besides helping with the absorption of water, it helps plants properly process the nutrients they receive from the soil. When there isn’t enough potassium available for your lawn, it may start to dry out, develop spots and curl up.

Nutrients Lawn Turf Sod Grass Seed Fertilizer Spreader Application Apply Maintenance Yard Lawn

Making the Right Choice

Now that you understand what each of the nutrients do, you can make an informed decision. Whether you are starting seed, or installing fresh sod, you should pick a fertilizer with a high middle number which means that it will have a high phosphorous content. A couple of examples include 10-25-10 or 8-32-16. Both of these are high in phosphorous, and will promote root growth and development for your new lawn. If you cannot find a fertilizer with these numbers, don’t worry! Just look for one with a high middle number or ask a professional for advice on which fertilizer they recommend in your area.

Quick Tips Before You Fertilize

An important thing to keep in mind when applying is the rate at which you apply. Applying the incorrect amount can cause more damage than good to your lawn. To learn how to easily figure out the right amount of fertilizer for your lawn, check out this blog post. Be sure to carefully read the label on your fertilizer and make note on your calendars for when you should be applying your fertilizer. This will insure that your lawn will get the most out of the fertilizer.

4 Responses

  1. Deb Pearl says:

    I didn’t know that nitrogen is integral to the growth of the plants. I have been trying to find a fertilizer for my plants, but I don’t know what kind to get. I will have to make sure that I get a good mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Thank you for the information!

  2. Elitehort says:

    Hi there, Great tips by the way and thank you.
    I did have a question though. I’m hoping you can answer it for
    me since you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about gardening.
    Will a DIY vinegar herbicide affect soil acidity? I have a
    garden bed that I want to use herbacide on but
    I don’t want to ruin the soil. If you had some insight I would greatly appreciate it.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Vinegar will absolutely effect your soil pH! It is acidic and so it will lower your garden soil’s pH. Depending on how diluted the solution is, it can be very detrimental to plant growth! Be very careful when using these DIY herbicide methods…

  3. It was really nice how you said that it is best to keep in mind the date when the fertilizer needs to be applied as well as the amount needed as using the wrong amount can do more damage than good to the soil. I will take note of that one because I am planning to revive the small plot of land that my mom used for her vegetables. Considering the idea that I do not know the first thing about plants, I needed all the help I can get. Thank you for sharing this.

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