How To Spot Nutrient Deficiencies In Your Lawn


Your lawn requires nutrients, which it primarily gets from the soil. Over time, the nutrients naturally available in the soil become depleted, which means that it is time to add fertilizer. Most fertilizers are labeled with amounts for "N-P-K," which are the three main elements your lawn needs to thrive. There are also a few trace nutrients included in the standard N-P-K lawn fertilizer. The following guide can help you recognize the symptoms of a specific nutrient deficiency in your lawn.

N: Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for a lush, green lawn. Nitrogen helps fuel new leaf growth and chlorophyll production, both of which lead to denser, more resilient growth. Lawns that suffer from a nitrogen deficiency tend to grow slowly, and they may develop a yellow cast to their grass blades. Sparse growth and damage from pests and disease are also more common on lawns with nitrogen shortages. Nitrogen is used up quickly, and it washes from the soil easily, so it is the primary ingredient in most lawn fertilizers.

P: Phosphorus

Grass uses phosphorus to power energy transport and to save energy in the form of starches. When plants suffer from a phosphorus deficiency, the oldest parts of the leaf, typically the tip, are first affected. You may notice browning or a reddish discoloration at the tip and along the blade margins. Root growth also suffers, which makes the lawn less drought resistant. An application of phosphorus fertilizer will fix the problem.

K: Potassium

Potassium primarily aids in water regulation throughout the grass. A lack of potassium makes lawn grass more prone to drought stress, pest pressure, and disease. When grass is deficient in potassium, you will notice that the older blades develop a yellow or brown mottled appearance. The blade may also roll inward or look burnt. Fortunately, the problem is easily fixed with a fertilizer application.

Trace Nutrients

Other trace minerals included in most fertilizer blends include magnesium, calcium, and iron. Any sort of leaf discoloration or weak growth that isn't due to an N-P-K deficiency likely has to do with a shortage of trace minerals. Grass growing in overly sandy soil, where nutrients quickly wash away, or in wet soils, where nutrient uptake is more difficult, are more likely to suffer deficiencies in these trace nutrients.

Contact a lawn care service in your area for more help with your turf's nutrient needs.


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Understanding Landscaping Planning

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