Greener, healthier, longer blooming plants.
Nitrogen- Is the first number on the product and referred to by the symbol N. This is a naturally occurring element in our air. It is needed by plants to produce green healthy growth. A higher number on the bag means MORE nitrogen. If your plant, shrub or tree is turning a yellowish color, it probably needs nitrogen.
Phosphate- The second number and referred to by the symbol P. Plants need phosphate to stimulate healthy root development for flowering and to help in the prevention of disease and stress. The phosphate process combines phosphate rock with sulphur and produces phosphoric solution. Phosphate helps in root stimulation and flowering of plants. When planting flowering trees, or shrubs be sure to use a fertilizer with a HIGH phosphate number. If you are having problems making your plants bloom then be sure to purchase a fertilizer with a high phosphate content. Remember phosphate and phosphorus are bascially the same.
Potash- Or sometimes referred to as potassium. This is usually the last number and is referred to by the symbol K. This contains minerals and potassium which are mined from naturally occurring ORE bodies. All plants need this nutrient, potash regulates water balance, enzyme activity, starch and protein synthesis and nitrogen uptake.
Why do your plants need these nutrients? Because in your area these nutrients may be missing from your soil and the are needed for continuous healthy growth.
If you live in the lower elevations of the southwest, your soil is probably missing the above minerals needed for growing plants, trees, or shrubs.
A good all purpose fertilizer will usually have numbers with 16-8-8 printed across the product. This type of fertilizer no matter what brand name will have all the nutrients needed for a healthly plant.
Compost is the material resulting from composting, which is the natural process of decomposition of organic waste that yields manure or compost, which is very rich in nutrients. Also called humus, and is a soil conditioner and a very good fertilizer.
A word of caution on buying fertilizer. Do NOT confuse lawn fertilizer with plant and tree fertilizer.
The biggest tip of all...be sure that you read the instructions on each and every bag.
Article by Paul Guzman