If you’re a newbie to lawn fertilizer, then the numbers listed on the bag may seem like a foreign language. These three numbers are known as fertilizer ratios, and by understanding what each number means, you can improve the appearance and longevity of your lawn.
Each of the three numbers listed on the front of the bag of fertilizer represents nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These are essential elements in growing a beautiful lawn. Together they are known as NPK ratios, and are indicated using their element symbols that you may remember from chemistry class. Each one serves a different purpose in ensuring your grass grows green.
Nitrogen (N): An essential element for plant growth, this element ensures your grass is plush and vibrantlygreen. Without enough nitrogen, grass will turn a yellow-green tinge and will hardly grow.
Phosphorous (P): This element stimulates the grass at its roots. By having adequate phosphorous levels you ensure that your grass grows fast and without discoloration.
Potassium (K): A major component in guaranteeing your lawn will withstand the elements; potassium strengthens each blade of grass making it more resistant to potential diseases.
Which Ratio To Choose
NPK ratios apply to all types of fertilizer, but there are certain specifications to follow for lawns and all of the different conditions the lawn may be in.
New Lawn: For a new lawn, it’s important that both phosphorous and potassium be the larger percentage of the ratio. New lawns require more attention to the health of their roots, and of course strength in order to grow full and plush. Using ratios like these should be short lived as phosphorous ultimately leads to major environmental issues.
Existing Lawn: With an existing lawn, the roots are most likely strong and established. Because of this, the phosphorous and potassium levels don’t need to be quite as high as those needed for a new lawn. Nitrogen is cheaper in comparison to phosphorous and potassium as well, so fertilizer with this kind of ratio is not only best for your existing lawn, but your wallet as well.
Strained Lawn: As mentioned before, potassium provides strength to your lawn. In extreme weather, a fertilizer with a high potassium percentage will help it to push through harsh weather conditions. Use a fertilizer with high potassium levels before the peak of summer heat, and winter freeze for best results.