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# meaning of fertilizer numbers

#1
04-17-00, 06:24 PM
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I know that the numbers of fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 indicates nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (is that the right order?) My question is - What is the difference,for example, between 5-10-5 and 10-20-10. The ratios are the same so what is the difference?

#2
04-21-00, 03:29 PM
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The numbers refer to the percentage by volume of N-P-K or nitrogen phosphorous and potassium and both ratios are 1-2-1 as you have surmized and both would acheive similar results. The main difference is, assuming you needed to fertilize a lawn which will need approximately one pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet, you would need to use 20 pounds of 5-10-5 but only 10 pounds of 10-20-10. Since 5% of the bag is nitrogen, only 5% of the 20 pounds would be nitrogen and the 5-10-5 would take twice as much to yeild the same result as the 10-20-10

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