Plants, just like animals, need nutrition to survive. While they can get nourishment from water, it’s not enough to support their growth. That’s why we add fertilizers to the soil to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for them to grow.
These fertilizers contain macro and micronutrients needed by grass and other plants. Among the most useful nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. On every bag of fertilizer, you will find three numbers separated by dashes, for example, 13-13-13 or 8-8-8.
13-13-13 fertilizer, also called triple 13 fertilizer, is one of the most common fertilizers in gardening stores. It is a general-purpose fertilizer that boosts plant growth and contains important macronutrients found in soil (Nitrogen- N, Phosphorus- P, Potassium- K).
In this article, we will walk you through what is 13-13-13 fertilizer used for, how it works, and tips for applying this fertilizer. Read on!
When you buy fertilizer online or from your local gardening store, you will find different types. On the packaging of the fertilizer are three numbers separated by a dash. 13-13-13 fertilizer is a common fast-release fertilizer that contains the basic nutrients required for plant growth.
The three digits represent Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, usually represented as NPK. 13 is the percentage of the nutrient available inside the fertilizer, so triple 13 fertilizer contains 13% Nitrogen, 13% Potassium, and 13% Phosphorus.
These three nutrients are crucial for the development of plants. That’s why this fertilizer is one of the most common ones in the market.
Nitrogen is the largest component of air. It makes up about 78% of the atmosphere and is useful to plants and animals.
In plants, nitrogen is responsible for vegetative growth, aiding the development of healthy leaves, stems, and branches.
You can identify nitrogen deficiency in plants by observing their growth. Stunted plants are an indication that your soil needs more nitrogen.
However, applying too much nitrogen on your lawn can cause ‘nitrogen burn’ on your grass.
Phosphorus is another essential macronutrient in the development of plants. Phosphorus plays a special role in root development and proper flower formation. 13-13-13 fertilizer contains phosphorus, which the plant absorbs through the roots.
Phosphorus also helps plants build up resistance to diseases. More importantly, it’s not easy to tell whether your lawn lacks phosphorus, so just make sure you reapply the fertilizer as frequently as recommended by the manufacturer.
Potassium is a special nutrient needed by leafy plants such as vegetables and fruits. It enhances the natural immunity of plants against diseases and external conditions.
If applied to your lawn, it can improve its tolerance to snow and heat, increasing its durability.
Potassium is also an essential component of the processes that take place in a plant, from photosynthesis to the formation of proteins and the opening and closing of stomata.
What is 13-13-13 Fertilizer Used for?
If you read the label, you’ll see that triple 13 fertilizer is marked as ‘All Purpose’ which means you can use it for various plants.
Whether you’re trying to boost the health of your flower garden, or your kitchen garden, 13-13-13 fertilizer will work just okay. You can also use it on young trees to improve their health, as well as lawns and hedges.
The three nutrients in triple 13 fertilizer help plants develop healthy roots and leaves. Since it is a quick-release fertilizer, it tends to release the nutrients relatively fast, which means you will have to apply it frequently for the most effective results.
You can use 13-13-13 fertilizer on newly planted grass to fasten root development and improve growth. As lawn grasses grow, they need nutrients to replenish the energy used in cell division and elongation. Applying fertilizer during the initial growth stages can bring about great results in the long run.
Some 13-13-13 fertilizers such as Pendelton Turf Supply label it good for lawns and shrubs. This means it works just fine for most grasses. It can help boost the color of your lawn and provide it with essential nutrients for it to flourish.
Each fertilizer brand comes with instructions on how to use it. For example, you wouldn’t expect a flower garden to have the same application quantity as a tree. The same is true for grasses. Make sure to read the fine print before applying the fertilizer on your lawn.
Established lawns don’t require as many nutrients as new lawns. So you will need lots of 13-13-13 fertilizer during the initial growth stages of your lawn.
Also read: Which grass will grow through mud?
Triple 13 fertilizer is a fast-acting fertilizer that releases nutrients into the soil quickly. Triple 13 fertilizer is most commonly packaged as granules, which can be applied by hand or using a scoop.
Since 13-13-13 fertilizer is synthetic, the nutrients are readily available; hence results can be visible as soon as 5 to 10 days after applying the fertilizer.
One way to tell your fertilizer is working is to observe the color of your lawn before and a few days after applying it. The nitrogen in 13-13-13 fertilizer improves chlorophyll production in leaves; hence, the grass leaves will turn to a rich green color.
Also read: What kills dandelions but not the grass?
Tips for Applying 13-13-13 Fertilizer
- Always test your soil before adding fertilizer.
- Do not apply too much fertilizer at a time, as it could lead to fertilizer burn.
- When applying granulated fertilizer, make sure the grass is wet, so water it for a few minutes prior to application.
- Keep pets and kids away from the lawn during and after applying fertilizer.
Adding fertilizer to your lawn or garden is just one part of caring for your plants. However, make sure you read the packaging and calculate the fertilizer needed before applying.
Too much fertilizer can turn toxic and burn your lawn. Also, the chemicals in the fertilizer are harmful and can easily get leech into drainpipes and water reservoirs, killing aquatic life.
Ensure you check the forecast to confirm whether or not it might rain before you apply fertilizer. Fertilizer is best applied on days with no rain.