You have probably seen those numbers in a bag of fertilizer. Some landscapers will call it NPK fertilizer. Back then when I started my lawn care business I thought the bigger the number the better. And I think, that is what most people think. The more fertilizer I put, the greener the lawn, right? Well, that is not the case.
Putting too much chemical fertilizer can be dangerous, because those fertilizers are water soluble. You need water to decompose the product. Too much fertilizer, and you have the risk to pollute the water. And it is also a waste of money. More doesn’t always means better. There is an easy trick to read the fertilizer label, and figure out what does numbers are.
Many years ago, I learned with simple words what the N-P-K ratio from a fertilizer bag was. And this helped me to determine what was needed on my lawn and garden, looking at the different weeds and following soil test recommendations.
N (Nitrogen) is for plant growth.
P (Phosphorus) is for root growth.
K (Potassium) is for the overall health of the plant.
Then, the next question is why using a bag that says 8-2-1, instead of another one that says 10-0-0? Will you use corn gluten meal as pre-emergent, or as a fertilizer application? The answer is soil testing! When you take a soil sample, you will be able to know what are the nutrients that are needed in your soil. So depending what is needed, you will be buying a specific product with the amounts of NPK that will best fix the nutrient deficiency in the soil. The point is that, if you are simply guessing every season, and you put the same type of fertilizer, you may be putting down something that is not really needed. I see so many people buying whatever fertilizer they feel will make the grass grow greener. But, how do they, or you know what is needed if you don’t take a soil sample?
This year take a soil sample, and buy fertilizer according to the soil test recommendations. You will safe money, and you will use the right amount of product every time.