10-10-10 Fertilizers for Yard and Gardens 2020
10-10-10 fertilizer is a non-organic or synthetic fertilizer with 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium. It has a NPK value or grade of 10-10-10. It is considered a complete fertilizer because it contains all 3 nutrients that plants need to survive. 10-10-10 is considered a “balanced” fertilizer because it contains equal amounts of each nutrient.
10-10-10 Fertilizer Ingredients
The ingredients can vary depending on the manufacturer but it could contain ammonium nitrate, ammonium hydroxide, urea, phosphoric acid and potassium hydroxide. All of these chemicals can provide 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium in a water soluble form.
How Does 10-10-10 Work
Nitrogen – is used by plants to create proteins which makeup the physical structure of plants or cellulose. The more nitrogen that is available for plants, the more growth in leaves, stems and stalks or trunks. Think of everything above the ground will grow more with nitrogen supplements. Roots are another story.
Too much nitrogen can cause some issues with plant growth, so don’t overdue it. Always follow the directions on the bag of fertilizer. Don’t over fertilize.
Phosphorus – is used by plants for root growth and fruit production and flowering. Carrots, beets, turnips and radishes like more phosphorus than nitrogen. A flower garden will do better with more phosphorus.
Potassium – is a nutrient that helps overall functions, health, immune system, photosynthesis, etc. A deficiency in potassium will result in the entire plant doing poorly.
Advantages of 10-10-10
The advantages of using a synthetic fertilizer like 10-10-10 is it’s easy to provide vital nutrients to plants in a fast acting form. You can see results in a few days. If your garden or shrubs needs a quick boost in spring, you can apply the fertilizer then. It works extremely well for grass lawns. You can green them up quickly with higher nitrogen fertilizers like 10-10-10 or 20-10-10.
You can also tailor the fertilizer for any specific plant. If your tomato plants need more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen then you can buy 5-10-10. Or if you have root vegetables like radishes, turnips or beets then you might want more phosphorus than nitrogen.
10-10-10 is easy to apply. Just spread the granules and rake in or till for best results. Then water as normal. Reapply every 4-6 weeks.
10-10-10 fertilizer is available from many suppliers and is easily purchased in home improvement stores, nurseries and hardware stores plus online.
Disadvantages of 10-10-10
The main disadvantage of 10-10-10 is that you have to be careful handling it. It can be a dangerous chemical. It can burn the skin and irritate the nose and lungs. Only use as directed and keep away from pets and children.
Applying too much can harm plants. Since it is dissolved quickly and taken up by roots immediately, over fertilization is a concern. Chemical fertilizers release the nutrients all at once or in a very short time. It’s like a “burst” of food. Always apply on the conservative side than liberal.
Chemical fertilizers like 10-10-10 can get washed away into nearby waterways or land and cause harm if a heavy rainstorm hits the area.
Chemical fertilizers can also harm the natural ecosystem in the soil.
10-10-10 Fertilizer Formulations Liquid or Pellet
10-10-10 is available in pellet and liquid form. The solid or pellet form is the most common and is easy to handle and apply. It can be spread on top of the soil or mixed in with the soil. It dissolves very easily in water and will be taken up by plant roots quickly.
The liquid form of 10-10-10 is a concentrate and is mixed with water and then applied via a garden hose or a watering can. The liquid form works faster since it is already dissolved in water. You don’t have to worry about handling the fertilizer either like pellets. Just water your lawn or garden with the 10-10-10 liquid and you’re done. No pellets or residue left behind.
10-10-10 Fertilizer Uses
Lawns – grass benefits tremendously from nitrogen. It makes grass produce more foliage which makes a lawn plush and green. You can use 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn to green it up and make it grow faster. This is a well balanced fertilizer which will help the grass root and stay healthy. You could use a fertilizer with more nitrogen like 34-0-0 or 42-0-0. These are typical grass or lawn fertilizers. 34-0-0 is typically ammonium nitrate while 42-0-0 is urea fertilizer. These 2 fertilizers have the highest amount of nitrogen.
You can apply 10-10-10 every 4-6 weeks to maintain a healthy, green lawn.
Gardens – 10-10-10 is also a great balanced fertilizer for vegetable and flower gardens too. It will help plants grow healthy leaves, roots, flowers and fruit. It’s a great “all around” fertilizer. You can apply it every 4-6 weeks. Spread 10-10-10 pellets/granules on top of the soil or mix it in with the soil and then water as usual. Do not over fertilize in hopes of making everything grow faster.
Shrubs and Trees – 10-10-10 is also a great fertilizer for shrubs and trees. It will provide vital nutrients for growth and overall health. Just add about 2 – 2 1/2 cups per 4 feet of shrub and 2-4 cups per fruit tree monthly during the growing season.
When to Apply 10-10-10 Fertilizer
It is recommended to apply fertilizer when plants need it the most like sprouting and growing and fruit or flower production. You can apply it before you plant or after planting seeds. It will provide vital nutrients for young and growing plants. Vegetables will need extra nutrients when producing fruit also. Fertilize when flowers appear and after about every 4 weeks.
Do not fertilize during dry spells or droughts. Water is needed in order to make fertilizer available to roots.
How Often to Apply 10-10-10
Synthetic fertilizers rapidly release its nutrients in a short period of time unlike organic fertilizers such as compost or worm castings. Usually all of the nutrients are used up after 3-4 weeks. It’s a good idea to fertilize every 4 weeks. Always apply strictly as directed. Too much can harm plants. I like to under-fertilizer most of the time. I prefer to play it safe with non-organic fertilizers.
In a flower bed, you can apply 1 cup per 25 square feet every 3 months. In a vegetable garden, you can apply 1/2 cup per 25 feet every month.
Where to Buy 10-10-10
10-10-10 is very popular and you should be able to find it at your local nursery or home improvement stores. You can also buy it online at Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Amazon.
10-10-10 is sold in the solid/pellet form by the pound. It typically sells for about $5-$6/lb. A 5 lb bag will go a long way for vegetable and flower gardens since you will only use a 1/2 to 1 cup per 25 square feet monthly.
Common 10-10-10 Fertilizers Brands
- Arizona’s Best 10-10-10
- Southern Ag
- Green View
- Lilly Miller
- Jobe’s Organics
- Dr. Earth