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Plant Nutrition and Fertilization

Essential Plant Nutrients

Of the 100+ known natural elements, 16 are essential plant nutrients. The three most important to plants are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which plants receive from air, water and the organic matter in the soil. Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen make up 94% of the dry weight of plants. Three other key nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

  • Nitrogen is a component of protein, which is essential for all plant growth.
  • Phosphorus is part of nucleoproteins, which are needed for cell division, the growth of new tissue in a plant, and for the growth of new grass.
  • Potassium or potash helps increase winter hardiness, disease and drought resistance in plants.
Types of Plant Fertilizers

If you look at a fertilizer bag, you will see three numbers on the front, for instance, 25-4-9. These numbers tell you the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium—in that order—in the fertilizer.

Different kinds of fertilizers are used for different situations. For instance, a fertilizer high in phosphorus will help a newly-seeded lawn develop. A fertilizer with a greater percentage of nitrogen can be used to promote growth in an established lawn.

It’s not enough just to know the number of nutrients; you’ll also need to know what kind of nitrogen is in the fertilizer. Fast-release nitrogen is available to the plant immediately. Weed Man's slow-release nitrogen is coated with sulfur so that the nitrogen is only available to the plant when soil bacteria have broken down the sulfur coating. This process is gradual, so the slow-release nitrogen provides nutrients to the plants over a period of about 8 weeks.

There are two advantages to slow-release nitrogen:

  1. The nitrogen is made available to the plant as the plant needs it, over an 8-week period. With a fast release fertilizer, it’s either feast or famine for the plant.
  2. Since the fertilizer is used gradually, very little is wasted.
The Weed Man Fertilizer Program

A Weed Man fertilizer program will feed your lawn 3–8 (depends on location) times a year at approximately 6–10-week intervals. Weed Man uses only the highest quality products which have been specially developed for home lawns.

Weed Man fertilizer contains a small percentage of fast-release fertilizer that is immediately available to your lawn. Larger quantities of slow-release nitrogen will become available to the lawn as it needs the nitrogen. Weed Man fertilizer also contains potassium and soil conditioners. Combined with proper mowing, watering, aerating, and weed control (and in the absence of disease and insect problems), Weed Man’s fertilizer program will give you a healthy lawn all season long.

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Main Service Areas

DeVries services the greater Grand Rapids area with the finest commercial and residential outdoor care. Service areas vary. 

Contact us at 616-669-0500 for more information.

I am so impressed with how great my lawn looks after only 2 Weed Man applications!


Byron Center I June '19

Turf Tip

Summer Dormancy

Dormancy is one of the mechanisms nature has developed to help plants survive stressful conditions. Summer dormancy occurs in a lawn when grasses are exposed to an extended period of heat and lack of moisture during mid-summer. Learn the signs of summer dormancy and how to avoid it here.