The reason I'm surfing is to find what nutrients are referred to in
fertilizers, i.e. 10-20-10, and which nutrient aids growth of roots, stem
and leaves in plants.
Understanding the fertilizer analysis is essential
to purchasing and applying the right kind of fertilizer. Fertilizers, such
as 10-20-10, are identified on their package, by their analysis. The three
numbers on the bag or container refer to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus,
and potassium in the fertilizer.
Chemical fertilizers for the home garden are
available in two forms. The granular form is sprinkled on the soil and
worked in with a tiller or hand tool. Water soluble types are mixed with
water and the feeding is accomplished by sprinkling onto the leaves of
the plant (foliar feeding) or used as part of the watering process,
in which the plant takes in the nutrients systemically (through the
For example, a 100 lb. bag of 10-20-10 converted
to weight equates to 10 lbs. nitrogen, 20 lbs. phosphate, and 10 lbs. potash.
The first number in a fertilizer formula is the nitrogen
Nitrogen is used by plants for producing leaf
growth and greener, lusher leaves.
The second number in a fertilizer formula is the
Phosphorus is used by plant to increase fruit
development and to produce a strong root system.
The third number in a fertilizer formula is the potassium
Potassium is used by plants for flower color
and size. It is also important to the strength of the plant.
Before applying fertilizer to the garden, it is
best to have your soil tested. This can be done with the use of reasonably
inexpensive, home test kits, or by sending a sample to your local
county or state agricultural agency. The soil test will tell you the
level of nutrients already in the soil as well as the pH of the soil. (Nutrients
may become unavailable to your plants if the soil pH is above or below
a certain range.)
If your test is done by your county extension
service, the test results will also provide recommendations for needed
additions of lime and fertilizer.
The timing of the application of fertilizers
is very important. Too much, or application at the wrong time, can lead
to an overabundance of foliage, delayed flowering or plant death due to
excess fertilizer salts around the roots, causing leaf and root burn. It
is essential that you read and follow the product recommendations for fertilizers,
or any other garden chemicals.