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Fertilizer: Beyond Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

fertilizer, lawn fertilizer
Fertilized Grass

Nitrogen gets your lawn green and growing, potassium helps your lawn fight stress, and phosphorous is super food for your lawn's roots. When you buy fertilizer, these elements are the N-K-P of label fame. But they're not the end all and be all of your lawn's nutritional needs. There are, in fact, sixteen elements any healthy lawn can't be without. Want to know more about these other essential lawn fertilizer players? Read on.
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You may have met your lawn's nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous needs, but if it's still not its finest, your fertilizer might be missing one of these essentials.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #1: Calcium

This minor element helps toughen up your lawn and is especially important in helping your lawn fight salt damage.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #2: Manganese

Manganese helps your lawn perform photosynthesis. No manganese equals no lunch for your lawn.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #3: Zinc

If you want a lush lawn, you want a lawn that's reproducing. Your lawn's party isn't getting started without zinc.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #4: Sulfur

You may use sulfur to help balance your soil's ph levels, but it's also essential to helping your soil break down nitrogen to it can work its magic on your lawn.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #5: Iron

Chlorophyll in grass is tied to iron levels, so if you want a green lawn, you want a lawn that gets its fill of iron when you feed it.

Lawn Fertilizer Essential #6: Boron

Some minerals are made to be helpers. That's boron. Its big job is helping your lawn break down and use the calcium and phosphorous it needs.

While most fertilizers have a nice dose of minor elements built in, if your lawn doesn't have the vigor it ought to, you might be missing something. Make sure to consider more than the big N-K-P, and your lawn will thank you for it.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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