Primary Nutrients

Nitrogen (N)
Phosphorus (P)
Potassium (K)

Micronutrients

Zinc (Zn)
Iron (Fe)
Copper (Cu)
Manganese (Mn)
Boron (B)
Molybdenum (Mo)
Chlorine (Cl)

Secondary Nutrients

Sulfur (S)
Calcium (Ca)
Magnesium (Mg)

Deficiencies 

  • Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P),  and Potassium (K) are the most required nutrients and are often found deficient in plants.
  • Deficiency symptoms for any element depend primarily on two factors:
    – the role of the element
    – the ease of translation from matured leaves to new leaves

Toxicities

  • Over fertilization or fertilization at the wrong time can have harmful effects on plant growth.
  • It is important to plan fertilizer application according to plant requirements and environmental factors and limitations

Fertilizer Types

  • Organic: natural materials with limited to no processing
  • Processed fertilizers: manufactured or extracted from natural materials often undergoes extensive processing

Reading Fertilizer Labels

Fertilizer is usually labeled with just numbers such as 5-10-10. This always refers to the amount of N, P, and K, respectively. Therefore, it contains 5% N, 10% P, and 10% K.

Soil Tests

  • Can confirm whether a nutrient or amendment needs to be applied
  • Take a representative sample by compositing 10 samples at the 0-6in depth, mix, and subsample.
  • Use stainless steel or plastic tools
  • Label and transport or ship to lab ASAP