Page 161 - 2017-greengate-Gardensense-magazine
P. 161

Simply fertilizer
Fertilizing is not as complicated as people make it out to be. All fertilizer comes with three numbers on the package. These numbers are always in the same order and refer to the ratio of the three major nutrients that plants need to flourish. These nutrients, in order, are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
The first number is nitrogen, which stimulates leaf growth. Plants need nitrogen to produce the chlorophyll, enzymes and proteins required for plant cells to strengthen and reproduce. Lawn fertilizer contains a high percentage of nitrogen. Since the part of lawn that we see is actually made up of leaves this is very important to a healthy lawn.
Phosphorus is the second number in the sequence. It stimulates root growth in plants. This is very useful when transplanting seedlings outdoors. Plants need to establish roots in order to ensure their survival. This is especially necessary for perennial plants and shrubs that need to survive the winter.
The last number is potassium, which builds cell strength, and ensures plant vigor, disease resistance and improves winter hardiness. It is essential for the production of plant tissues and the quality and colour of flowers and fruits.
Fertilizers indicate their uses quite accurately on their labels, and there are general and specialty formulas for every use. If you have a plant problem and feel it might be related to fertilization, remember what the numbers mean and experiment, or ask your greengate expert, who will be happy to help.

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