What do the Numbers on Fertilizer Mean?

What homeowner doesn’t want a gorgeous lawn to accent their home? What do the Numbers on Fertilizer Mean?, Greener Horizon, Central MAEven better is when that lawn is accented with thriving flowers and other shrubbery. One of the keys to maintaining a full, green lawn and keeping your plants alive is to use fertilizer. However, there is more of a science to fertilizer than many believe. Fertilizer is not a one-size-fits-all kind of product, so it is important to understand how to read the package in order to be sure that you’re using the right kind.

So what do those numbers on fertilizer mean?

Each fertilizer label has a string of three numbers, and each of those numbers represent a different element that makes up the nutrients in the fertilizer. Each number represents a percentage of that element.

The first number is marked N for nitrogen. For example, if the number on the package is 18-24-6, then that type of fertilizer contains 18% nitrogen. Nitrogen is important for encouraging a vibrant green color and creating a lush lawn.

The second number is marked with a P which represents phosphorous. Phosphorus helps promote root growth and encourages flowers to bloom.

The third number is K, for potassium. Potassium also helps with root development and it also helps your plants avoid disease. Potassium is the best for promoting overall plant health.

So now that I know what the numbers mean, how which type do I need?

If you are looking to achieve that luscious green lawn, then choose a fertilizer that has a high first number. Just be prepared to mow the lawn more often, because it promotes speedy growth. If you find that your grass or leaves are yellowing, use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content.

If you are using the fertilizer on flowers or fruits, you will want one that is high in phosphorus. Should your plants begin turning a purplish hue, then make sure to purchase a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus count.

If you are preparing your lawn for the cooler months or want to ensure that it can withstand environmental hazards, then buy a fertilizer with a high amount of potassium.

Finally, if you want a good all-around fertilizer, go for one that has equal parts of all three elements. If you aren’t quite sure what your fertilizer’s element balance should be, then it can be a good idea to conduct a soil test to see what your yard’s soil may be lacking, and make up for the missing nutrients with the right fertilizer balance.

The experts at Greener Horizon are well-versed in lawn care and would be happy to help you determine the right fertilizer for your needs. Contact us with any landscaping questions you may have.