What do the numbers on fertilizers mean and how do they work for your plants?

NPK – Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium

Whether you have Inorganic or Organic fertilizer the 3 sets of numbers give the same nutrients to your plants.

When you have an All Purpose 20-20-20 Inorganic Fertilizer, the first number represents 20% Nitrogen which helps with the top growth of the plant, promotes lush green growth and is a good choice for leafy vegetables. The second number is 20% Phosphorus which helps with the roots of the plant, making them strong and healthy.  Phosphorus also helps with blooming and is necessary for fruit and flower development. Blooming plants like tomatoes, peppers and other ornamentals benefit from higher phosphorus especially when they are ready to set buds. The third number is 20% Potassium and is necessary for stem growth and overall plant vigor. Potassium is especially good for root crops such as carrots, potatoes and beets.

Now if you add these percentages together you get 60%, the remaining 40% is salts. This applies to inorganic fertilizer.

For Evolve Organic Fertilizers such as an All Purpose Plant Fertilizer 3-1-2,  when you add (NPK) together you get 6%, the remaining 94% is made up of best compost available.

Oakridge carries a wide variety of fertilizers….Organic, Inorganic, liquid, water soluble, dry granular and spikes.

Dry granular fertilizer is great to use in your flower or vegetable garden or among your trees and shrubs . It releases nutrients over a long period of time.  In general you want to apply this fertilizer at least once, in mid spring, and possibly two or three more times over the course of the late spring and summer depending on the weather and what the recommendations on the packaging says.

Tree and Shrub Spikes are another way to fertilize. Pushing these spikes into the ground around the drip line of your trees will allow the nutrients to release slowly throughout the season. You may apply these in mid spring then again in mid summer and the instructions on the package will tell you how many spikes to use per tree and how often to reapply.

Liquid or Water Soluble fertilizer is an instant feed. If your flowers, trees, shrubs or vegetable gardens appear to be stressed and are in need of nutrients, these fertilizers may be your best option. Follow the package directions for mixing instructions. It is very important not to mix stronger than it calls for. You will need to apply liquid plant food several times over the course of the growing season,  once a week or every 2 weeks is optimal.

Evolve Rage Plus 0-4-0, is an organic fertilizer that can be used throughout the whole growing season. Whether your plant is trying to produce leaves, flower or fruit or develop bigger stronger roots, this fertilizer is the fuel your plant needs! It works really well on plants that are suffering or on plants that look good but you just want to give them a boost. This fertilizer increases the metabolism of your plant by 100 times and will work on all stages of your plant. It’s great for helping plants that have had a hard time throughout our cold, windy winters.  A good example are cedars that are brown in the spring. Rage Plus will help your plants in the fall to store up sugars in the root zone for winter survival. It is great for indoor and outdoor plants as well!

Just a snipped about fertilizers, feel free to come and talk to Theresa about fertilizers, it’s her specialty!

Happy Gardening!