What Is NPK FERTILIZER?
For many farmers, taking care of the garden or the lawn is all about carrying very heavy bags of fertilizers from the local garden center or the local home. Taking care of the garden is also all about making wise decisions about the correct formula for applying fertilizer as well as putting the right ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus as well as potassium fertilizers.
Although they are composts, manure, mulches and other organic fertilizers carry a lot of these nutrients although they may lack some essential nutrients. The amount of supplements that you feed your garden with depends entirely on the condition of the soil and also the needs of the plants.
Fertilizers are just like supplements and they are very important if you want to have a healthy, living soil. Note that fertilizers are not a solution to the nutrition of the plants.
If you stand in the fertilizer aisle of your garden or even farm store, you are faced with a large number of fertilizer options. Most of these fertilizers have the series 10-10, 10-8-10, 20-20-20 and many other complicated digital combinations. You may be wondering what the numbers on the fertilizers actually mean. These are basically the values of NPK, which leads us to the question, what really is an NPK fertilizer?
Continue to read below about this fertilizer and its number values.
What do the numbers on the NPK fertilizer actually mean?
The NPK fertilizer is made up of three independent elements, and that is nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Now, the 3 value numbers on the NPK fertilizer actually represent the values of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium macronutrients. The initial NPK stands for the three macronutrients respectively. The higher the number of macronutrients, the more are the levels of concentration of the nutrients in the fertilizer. For instance, the number of fertilizers that are written as 30-10-10 has three times more nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus. A 30-30-30 fertilizer has thrice as much concentration of all the nutrients in question than 10-10-10.
The numbers on the fertilizers are very important. This is because they can be used to determine the amount of fertilizer that is required or that is needed to be applied to equal one pound of nutrients that are to be added in the soil. Therefore, if the fertilizer numbers are listed as 10-10-10, you only need to divide 100 by 10 and the result will show you that you actually require exactly 10 pounds of the NPK fertilizer to include in one pound of nutrients to the soil.
Suppose the numbers on the fertilizers were 25-25-25, you would divide 100 by 25 and you would find that you need only five pounds of the NPK fertilizer to include on one pound of the nutrients in the soil.
A fertilizer that has only one nutrient usually has zero in the other values. For instance, if a fertilizer is listed as 20-0-0, then it only has nitrogen. The numbers on the fertilizers are also referred to as NPK values, and these numbers should be seen on any fertilizer that you buy; it does not matter whether it is a chemical fertilizer or an organic fertilizer.
The Nutrients in NPK Fertilizer
Nitrogen is a very important nutrient for many plants. It plays a major role in plant processes and it is also one of the elements of chlorophyll. Nitrogen is just like oil. It fuels vegetative growth such as the growth of stems, foliage as well as branches.
Plants can take up all the nitrogen in the soil within no time. This leads to leaching. If you notice that your plants have started to appear stunted with very poor growth or the leaves start to turn yellow, then the soil may have very little nitrogen or no nitrogen at all. You can use a soil test to determine if the element is absent in the soil. You can buy soil test kits at any garden center or homes.
Caffeine and phosphorus have one thing in common, and that is they both act as a stimulant. However, for phosphorus, it acts as a stimulant for the growth of the plant root, as well as the formation of flowers.
Phosphorus is readily available in the plants when mostly the PH stands between 5.5 and 7. The PH can be defined as the level of either acidity or alkalinity in the soil. The PH can start from 0 to 15 with 7 being the neutral state. Unlike nitrogen, phosphorus does not get out of the soil that easily. Therefore, you can add it to the soil only for new growth. Root vegetable like carrots use very high amounts of phosphorus, especially during the initial growth.
Potassium is one of the most important elements in plants. It has so many functions including promoting the growth of roots, ripening of fruits as well as bud growth. It also helps plants to become resilient to most types of plant diseases. Potassium is different from phosphorus and nitrogen because it is the only nutrient that helps plants to tolerate harsh weather conditions such as drought, freezing and heating. It is an important nutrient for all the plants to thrive especially in an area where weather is unpredictable.
Just like phosphorus, potassium also remains in soil, although it is quickly used up by vegetables. Therefore, it is also important to supplement the soil, based on the need for the nutrient.
Apart from nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, there are other nutrients that are also found in the fertilizers. These additional nutrients are available only in very small quantities. Some of the additional nutrients that are in the NPK fertilizer include calcium, which is a crucial nutrient that helps the cell walls of the plants. It also has iron nutrients which helps a lot in the manufacture of chlorophyll during the process of photosynthesis. Lastly, the fertilizer has magnesium which helps the plant to grow as well as helps in the repair process. Sulfur is also available in the plant. Sulfur helps fruits and seeds to mature faster.