For many homeowners, an important component of building a beautiful outdoor living area is to have a lush, green lawn. Not only do lawns add aesthetic appeal to homes, they also provide a number of other benefits, including soil stability, air cooling, and noise pollution reduction. For homeowners who are new to lawn care and maintenance, it’s important to note that it takes a fair amount of planning and effort to reach such a point. One area of lawn care that many tend to overlook is the nutritional balance in the soil. Like any other plant, grass needs a number of different nutrients to thrive and grow. The next time you pick up some lawn fertilizer, one of the immediate things you will notice on the packaging label is the percentage of nutrients the fertilizer contains. Typically, the focus is on the following nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Each of these nutrients plays an important role in the development of lawns and, when combined, they are referred to as the N-P-K ratio. In the below infographic, you can learn more about the role each nutrient plays and some basic rules to follow on the application of different types of lawn fertilizer.
Role of N-P-K
Each nutrient plays a specific role during the lawn development process. The first nutrient in the ratio is nitrogen (N). One of the primary roles of nitrogen is to stimulate shoot growth. At the same time, nitrogen plays a part in the production of chlorophyll, which is needed for photosynthesis to take place. Phosphorus, on the other hand, is focused more on the downward growth. Phosphorus is there to aid the development of roots and the application of this particular nutrient is most effective before the grass seeds are planted. Last but not least, the role of potassium is to help the turf grass build resistance and prevent the grass shoots from becoming stunted and yellowed. As you can see, each of these nutrients plays an important role so it is important to know the right amount of nutrients to apply for specific stages of the lawn cycle.
Prior to applying any lawn fertilizer into the soil, the first thing you should do is to conduct a soil test. Generally, it is best to consult with a lawn care professional but you can also conduct this test using a DIY kit. The results should give you a general idea of whether the existing soil is lacking any of the important nutrients of the NPK ratio. Once you have the results, consider the following rules.
If you are establishing a new lawn from the very start then the emphasis should be on root development and resistance. Therefore, it would make the most sense to apply fertilizer that contains a higher amount of phosphorus and potassium. If your lawn is already established then consider applying fertilizer that contains a higher volume of nitrogen and potassium, and less of phosphorus.
Having basic knowledge of the NPK ratio goes beyond lawn development. When you plan and build your outdoor living area, the application of different fertilizers may also apply to other plants you anticipate on growing in the backyard or patio. If you have any questions then feel free to reach out to us for more information on lawn maintenance and related services.