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Fertilizer Numbers Explained: What Matters for Your Lawn

4 min read

Has it ever felt like reading the back of a bag of fertilizer feels like a total mystery? We often hear homeowners tell us that they don’t really understand the fertilizer numbers meaning. This can lead to some common myths, such as assuming the higher the numbers on the bag, the better the quality (which is not how it works).

Fertilizer numbers can be confusing for a lot of homeowners and make lawn care feel incredibly overwhelming. If you’re looking to have a better understanding of what fertilizer numbers are all about, we’ll help explain it in this article.

What are the Fertilizer Numbers?

The three numbers on a bag of fertilizer (N, P, and K), represent the three macronutrients that are used by grass plants. These are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).lawn care technician pours fertilizer in spreader
Your grass plants require a certain amount of each of those macronutrients. While some of these nutrients are already found in the soil, the goal is to replace the nutrients used up by the grass plants, so that they are appropriately replenished.

As far as what these nutrients do, each has its own job.

  • Nitrogen is the most important for grass and it also happens to be what the grass plant uses the most. It will help the grass to grow vibrant and green by promoting the production of chlorophyll, which is vital to the process of photosynthesis.
  • Phosphorus is essential for root growth. This is a nutrient that some lawn care companies leave out of their fertilizer program but it truly is vital to a healthy lawn. It is also responsible for helping your lawn to use and store energy, which aids in overall growth.
  • Potassium helps grass take in other nutrients, including potassium, and assists in growth. It also helps your lawn to be more resilient against drought and diseases. 

How do the Fertilizer Numbers for Grass Help Determine How Much is Needed?

Where homeowners often get confused is when it comes to how much fertilizer is actually needed. As mentioned earlier, it’s typically assumed that the higher all of the numbers (which are just ratios), the better the fertilizer.

But the ratio (written as N-P-K) just represents the percentage of each nutrient and what really matters is the application rate. This is a pretty complex issue that a lawn care company needs to calculatelawn care technician fertilizes grass
Throughout the year, Oasis Turf & Tree is paying close attention to the recommendation for the optimal amount of nutrients that should be applied to the lawn. At different times of the year, that will change.

For that reason, it’s not as simple as just reading the fertilizer numbers on the bag. We’re looking at the scope of the entire year and making educated decisions.

We’re also distributing these nutrients at spaced-out visits that are timed with the season in mind. It is important to recognize that your turf has different needs at different times of the year, not only for fertilization but for other services (like weed control). We have determined that six strategically timed visits allow us to accomplish what needs to be done on your lawn.

After all, while it’s a very important part of the program, fertilization is only one aspect of lawn care. There are other vital services that also need to be performed to keep your lawn in the best possible shape.

Letting Go of Your Worries

If figuring out fertilizer numbers has you stressed out, then it’s a good time to think about handing your lawn care worries over to a pro. Fertilization can be a lot more complicated than homeowners tend to realize. It’s so much more than just dumping out a bag and hoping for the best. Plus, as we’ve mentioned, there is so much more to great lawn care than fertilizer alone.

In the end, instead of having to worry about any of this, you can hire a professional to take away your worries. When you take advantage of professional lawn fertilization, you not only have to no longer worry about figuring out the fertilizer numbers meaning but you also don’t have to determine the optimal application rate, worry about using best practices for application, or optimally timing your applications, either.homeowner looks at fertilizer spreader while family plays in backgroundPlus, you don’t have to worry about buying fertilizer, lugging it home from the store, and then keeping half-used or unused bags somewhere in storage.

It’s a lot of burden off your plate!

You can also ensure that you’re going to get the best results not only from lawn fertilization but from the other vital services needed to keep your lawn looking and performing its best.

By choosing Oasis Turf & Tree to care for your lawn, you can know that you are making a wise investment in ensuring your lawn has everything it needs to thrive. That means truly letting go of your worries and gaining peace of mind that your lawn is in good hands.

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams!

Check Out Our Lawn Care Programs & Costs!


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