Ah, the exciting topic of plant
fertilization! However, we do need to
address the questions of what kind and how much? There are three critical elements that all
plants need: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—or N-P-K, the quantities of
which are identified as numbers on the package. For example, a general-purpose
fertilizer branded 20-20-20 signifies that each chemical element—N, P, and K—offers
20 percent by weight to the total. The element percentages are presented in differing
proportions to suit various fertilizer needs. If you are considering an increase
in flower production, you want a mix ratio around 15-30-15, which is high in
flower-forming phosphorus. Be sure to examine the label for the N-P-K ratio, as
you may be able to apply a general fertilizer with close to the same nutrient
percentages but at a more cost effective price.
In addition to N-P-K,
fertilizers generally include traces of other elements essential to plant
health. Some trace elements are more vital than others, but each nourishes a
plant in its own way. The most important trace elements in fertilizers are
calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, boron, and
sulfur. If any of these elements are deficient, a plant may indicate
characteristic deficiency indicators. An iron deficiency, for instance, causes
chlorosis, or yellow leaves with green veins, which is simply remedied with a
dose of chelated iron.
are two types of fertilizers accessible to a homeowner: granular and water
soluble. Each form has advantages and disadvantages. Granular fertilizers provide
food to a plant gradually but have the benefit of longevity. Since they must be
broken down by water before a plant can use them, granular fertilizers do not
leach out of the soil as promptly as water-soluble types. Water-soluble
fertilizers are quicker acting but more fleeting, which means they must be used
more often than the granular type.
your landscape plants fertilized by a landscape professional or to schedule
your spring clean-up, call the All American office today at 402-408-0000.