What Do The Numbers On Lawn Fertilizer Mean?

Fertilizer Numbers For Root Growth Garden Bugs

What Do the Numbers on Lawn Fertilizer Mean?

If you walk into any home improvement store, you might be overwhelmed by the variety of different lawn fertilizers. You’ll see a number of different numbers and symbols on the bags. But what do they mean?

The Three Numbers

The three numbers that you’ll see on a bag of fertilizer refer to the three main nutrients in the product. The three main nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The first number is the amount of nitrogen, the second number is the amount of phosphorus, and the third number is the amount of potassium. For example, a bag that says 12-4-8 has 12% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 8% potassium.


Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for lawns. It helps the grass to grow lush and green. Too much nitrogen can cause the grass to become too lush and weak, while too little nitrogen can cause the grass to become yellow and stunted.


Phosphorus is important for root growth and helps the grass to develop strong, deep roots. Too much phosphorus can cause algae to grow in ponds and streams, so it’s important to use a fertilizer with the right amount of phosphorus.


Potassium helps the grass to withstand drought and other environmental stresses. It also helps the grass to develop a strong root system. Too much potassium can cause the grass to become too tough and stiff, while too little potassium can cause the grass to become weak and susceptible to disease.

Understanding the Numbers

Understanding the numbers on the bag of fertilizer can be tricky, but it’s important to get it right. Too much of any of the nutrients can be damaging to your lawn, while too little can also cause problems. It’s important to read the instructions on the bag carefully, and to follow the dosage instructions.

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