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Fertilizer 101: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium

Lawn fertilizer

Fertilizer 101: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium

Feed Your Plants – The Basics of Lawn Fertilizer

All plants in your yard are living creatures. As such, living creatures require proper nourishment to survive and thrive. However, feeding plants is not simply about dumping lawn fertilizer onto your garden beds.

When your lawn and garden is well-fed, you will know it. You can see beautiful green leaves, sturdy stems, colorful blooms, as well as healthy fruits. With proper fertilization, you will also discover that your plants become significantly more disease resistant.

In turn, you can also observe when your plants get famished. Typically, your plants demonstrate yellowed, mottled, shriveled, and rotting leaves. Plants also grow stunted and fruits won’t mature. In some cases, fruits won’t appear at all, and plans may impart ugly or disfigured flowers.

Nonetheless, not every fertilizer is created equal. What exactly are we supposed to feed our plants? Our team from Frank’s Lawn & Tree Service has the answer!

Lawn Fertilizer

What to Feed the Plants in Your Lawn

The principal nutrients that plants require are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. If you visit your local garden center, you may notice bags of lawn fertilizer with three numbers on the packaging. This will display something like 5-5-5, or 5-10-8. These numbers represent a shorthand percentage content of these major nutrients in the fertilizer.

Generations of scientific research on plant nutrients have yielded information on how to test nutrient levels in our soil, as well as how we can replace these nutrients with lawn fertilizer supplementation. Each of our aforementioned primary plant nutrients serves a key role in plant nutrition.


Nitrogen is important to your greenery because it can help plants form new leaves, branches, and stems. Many consider nitrogen to represent the most important nutrient due to plants consuming more nitrogen than any other element.

Nitrogen remains essential to ensuring plants develop and grow properly. This is because nitrogen is an essential component to forming proteins. Protein makes up a majority of the tissues of most living things, including plants and greenery.

Plants that remain nitrogen deficient grow very slowly with tiny, off-colored leaves. Their stems may also snap easily.


Phosphorous is responsible for a robust, deeply set root system. This ensures that your plants can forage farther for food, more able to tolerate dry and arid conditions. Phosphorous additionally supports flower development.

Phosphorous is linked to a plant’s ability to use and store energy. This includes the vital photosynthesis process. Phosphorous in commercial lawn fertilizer comes from phosphate rock. Without adequate phosphorous, plant roots remain susceptible to pests. Plant flowers will also grow poorly, and stems may develop a ghastly blue, purple, or red shading.


Potassium is necessary to maintain the comprehensive health of the plant. This includes size, color, and flowering. The nutrient is also essential to harden plants against potential abrupt changes in their environmental conditions.

If the temperature changes suddenly without potassium, your plants may lack the necessary defenses against these stressors. Plant leaves can turn brown, or curl their edges. Their stems will also remain mottled and weak.

Lawn Fertilizer 101 from Frank’s Lawn & Tree Service

These 3 nutrients offer the foundation of most of today’s lawn fertilizer products. Nonetheless is crucial to follow the recommended application rates from fertilizer manufacturers. Your plants won’t likely thank for excess fertilizer as this can burn and injure your plants.

For more information on lawn fertilizer, and what it can do for your landscape, contact the professional lawn care experts from Frank’s Lawn & Tree Service today!

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