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Posted on: May 10, 2023

Test Your Soil Before Using Fertilizer

Applying Fertilizer

Nutrient runoff is a leading cause of water pollution. Excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can trigger the rapid growth of algae beyond the limits of aquatic ecosystems. This can have drastic consequences, such as disrupting natural food chains, releasing harmful toxins and suspending recreation for both humans and animals. Follow these steps to save money and reduce the amount of fertilizer in our waterways.

  1. Test your soil to determine what nutrients are needed.
  2. Based on your soil test report, select the appropriate fertilizer mix.
  3. Apply the fertilizer in the fall, following the recommended application rate and method per your soil test report.

Free Soil Testing

Take advantage of free soil testing offered by your local UK Cooperative Extension Service and receive a fertilizer cheat sheet with application rates for a variety of readily available bagged fertilizer mixes. Inquire about this free service: Ask an Expert.

Did You Know?

  • Clay soils reduce the need for fertilizer because they retain nutrients very well. 
  • Applying fertilizer during the fall is most effective, supporting strong and healthy plants in the spring.

Have you ever been confused by all the numbers on a bag of fertilizer? Here is an example of a 40 lb. bag of fertilizer describing what the numbers mean. It is important to follow the label or soil test results in applying fertilizer appropriately.

A graphic of a bag of a 12lbs.bag of fertilizer with N-P-K nutrients. 10-10-10. 28 lbs.  filler.

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