Spring temperatures are beginning to rise and we’ll soon be reaching the magical temperature of 11 degrees C when plants begin to grow. Providing nutrition for the plants to use right now will help in growth, health and vigour throughout the year ahead.
Granular fertilizers are available in diﬀerent ratios to provide nutrition to diﬀerent types of gardens. They can be applied either by using a fertilizer spreader or being broadcast by hand. They are easy to use, easy to store and an essential to commercial food crops.
The numbers that fertilizer is sold by, such as 10-10-10, refer to the macronutrients in each bag. The first number is for Nitrogen which is responsible for the growth of leaves, so an all leaf crop, such as grass, should have a high first number. The second number refers to the amount of Phosphorous in the bag. Phosphorous is is essential for the development of both roots and flower buds. The third number represents Potassium, which assists in plant sturdiness and health.
So let’s look at some standard numbers in fertilizers.
10-10-10 is a good all around general purpose fertilizer. If you’re looking to purchase only one type of fertilizer, this would be it. Fine for vegetables, lawns, flowers, trees and shrubs, all plants will benefit from an application.
6-12-12 is the traditional vegetable garden fertilizer. This one is geared to root crops and flower development with smaller emphasis on foliage.
8-20-12 is used as a starter fertilizer for the establishment of lawns or large scale seed crops. Also a favourite for perennial gardens for the high ratio of phosphorus.
15-15-15 Another balanced ratio that is general purpose with the higher nitrogen levels making it useful on lawns.
21-7-7 Specifically created for use on lawns.
Time Release Fertilizers
Nitrogen is very water soluble so its presence around roots disappears after a few months. Where nitrogen is important to feed a lawn or crop throughout the season, a specially formulated nitrogen is used that is released over a four month period. This ensures an adequate amount of nitrogen throughout the growing season.
14-7-14SR (SR=slow release) is formulated for use on shrubs and trees. Feeding trees and shrubs gives you faster, sturdier growth, better disease resistance and better flowers and fruit.
24-4-14SR and 29-3-6SR are both time released fertizers used on lawns. The slow release time feeds the turf throughout the summer creating a lush and beautiful lawn.
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