Turfgrass Fertility: Understanding Fertilizer Labels, Macronutrients, and Micronutrients (C 1058-2)Download PDF
A regular fertilization program is important to maintain healthy, attractive turf and should include applying the correct analysis of fertilizer, using the correct amount, and fertilizing at the proper time. Turfgrasses require a number of nutrients for growth. Three of these—carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen—are rarely lacking because grasses get these elements from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and water from the soil.
The remaining eighteen essential elements are also obtained from the soil. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are needed in the highest concentrations. These major elements are commonly supplemented with fertilizer. The three numbers on the front of fertilizer bags are often called the ''N-P-K" numbers.
In addition to these major nutrients, secondary nutrients and micronutrients are also essential for plant growth. Understanding fertilizer terminology and the different types of nitrogen sources is important when establishing a lawn management plant. Nontraditional or "organic" fertilizers are also an option for homeowners.
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