All grass, no matter where you live, needs three key nutrients to survive: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Each one offers different benefits for your grass that keep it healthy and strong. If your lawn is looking a little drab, chances are your grass is depleted of one or more of the three key nutrients.

In order to correctly fertilize your lawn, you must understand what it is exactly that you are feeding your grass. Some lawns need more of one nutrient than the other two, so it is important to consult a professional before administering fertilizer without knowing the specifics. The proper blend of each nutrient is important because too much or too little of any nutrient will cause negative effects. Avoid over or under-applying nutrients to your grass by running a professional soil test.

Continue reading to find out the differences between nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and how each one is essential for the health of your grass.

Nitrogen helps your grass blades grow tall and strong.

Nitrogen is the first number that you see labeled on all fertilizer packaging. It is the nutrient that will encourage your grass to grow strong, green blades. Nitrogen is an essential element of chlorophyll, which is the green pigment that your plant uses to produce food and energy. With low chlorophyll levels, your grass won't grow tall and strong.

Nitrogen is considered one of the most important nutrients for your grass and plants, however, it is possible to overdo it. Too much nitrogen will "burn" your lawn, resulting in spots or streaks of brown grass. You will also notice that your once vibrant, green lawn will start to look a little pale. Avoid over-applying nitrogen by consulting with a professional first.

Phosphorus encourages strong root development.

Phosphorus is the middle number that you see on all fertilizer packaging. This nutrient will encourage your grass seeds to develop strong root growth which, in turn, will result in an overall healthy lawn. This is the reason that you usually find phosphorus as one of the most important ingredients in starter fertilizers.

Your grass uses phosphorus for many other necessary growth activities such as photosynthesis and the storage & transfer of energy. With the correct amount of phosphorus, you will experience a lush and thick lawn. However, just like nitrogen, your lawn can have too much of a good thing. The main sign of too much phosphorus is yellowing blades.

Potassium helps your grass fight off drought, stress, and disease.

Last but not least, potassium is the number all the way to the right on all fertilizer packaging. This nutrient is essential for preventing drought, stress, and disease from attacking your grass. It does this by building up thicker cell walls. Perhaps this makes phosphorus one of the most important ingredients in lawn winterizers because of its ability to protect your grass all season long.

Although too much potassium doesn't directly cause damage to your lawn, it is important to keep its levels in check because it will affect the way that your soil absorbs other nutrients. Therefore, signs of too much potassium might show up as signs of nitrogen and phosphorus deficiencies.

Call us for all of your fertilizing needs!

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we know everything there is to know about nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium blends. We have been fertilizing lawns in the Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny, IA areas since 1988. If you are at all questioning the amount of each nutrient to add to your lawn, don't hesitate to call a professional team like ours. We can help you prevent further damage from either over or under-applying each nutrient. Call us today at (515) 289-2020 to schedule our fertilization services.