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NPK Fertilizer: What Is It?

May 1, 2020

If you’re not from a farming or agricultural background, you may be at a loss when it comes to fertilizer! We’re going to chat about NPK fertilizer so you know exactly what you’re putting on your lawn, garden or crop.

‘N’, ‘P’ and ‘K’ are the periodic elements for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, which are the macro-nutrients that make up a fertilizer blend.

Nitrogen is the macro-nutrient that is largely responsible for the growth of leaves on the plant. Phosphorus s mainly responsible for helping to stimulate root and flower growth on a plant, as well as fruit development. Potassium helps a plant to function correctly overall, and ensures that the systems within a plant are able to function correctly.

A bag of fertilizer will also have number values to represent the value of the above macro-nutrients. The higher the number is, the more concentrated the amount of that nutrient is. For example, 6-24-24 has 4 times the amount of Phosphorus and Potassium as it does Nitrogen. 6-24-24 is a popular fall lawn fertilizer that customers often put on their lawns before the winter season.

Fertilizer numbers are used to calculate the amount of nutrient that needs to be applied to equal 1 pound. In the case of 6-24-24, we can find how much Nitrogen we need to equal 1lb 100 divided by 6 is 16.67. That means you’ll need 16.67 pounds of that fertilizer to add 1 pound of Nitrogen to your soil.

In the same way, 100 divided by 24 is 4.17, so you’d only need 4.17 pounds of the fertilizer to add 1 pound of Phosphorus and Potassium to your soil.

Additional Sources:

Gardening Know-How

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