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Understanding Fertilizers

Packaged fertilizers come with a series of numbers such as 30-10-10 or 10-5-5 (or many other combinations). The numbers are important and serve a purpose so let’s take out the mystery and learn to understand those numbers. The numbers tell the ratío of three important ingredients or the N-P-K in this order being nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Understanding the purpose of these ingredients is also just as important. Nitrogen promotes plant growth and creates green leaves. Phosphorous enhances fruit and flower formation and potassium helps establish and make roots stronger. As you can see they all play a vital role in a plant’s establishment and growth. Here is an example of a bag of fertilizer. If you have a 100 lb. bag of fertilizer and it has a N-P-K of 30-10-10 this means 30 lbs. would be nitrogen, 10 lbs. would be phosphorous, and 10 lbs. would be potassium. The remaining 50 lbs. would be inactive ingredients that only has a purpose of making fertilizer easier to spread by making it bulkier. There are proper times to apply fertilizer and I will address this several times in later posts at the proper times. I do want you to know now that it is too early to apply fertilizer right now. Until the temperature warms up and stays warm so that things can begin to germinate, you don’t want to apply fertilizer. You do not apply fertilizer to anything that is not green, including grass or plants. They are in a dormant state right now, except for winter grass which you do not want to begin with. Be patient spring is around the corner and warmer weather is on its way. Give mother nature time to catch up from winter.

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