Macronutrients – Primary Lawn Nutrients


Macronutrients, also referred to as NPK, are considered primary lawn nutrients because they are required in the greatest quantities and have the most impact on turf growth and development. These primary nutrients are often lacking in lawn soil because plants use large amounts of them for growth and survival.

Nitrogen (N):

  • The most important of the lawn nutrients for growth and development
  • Required in greater quantities than any other mineral element
  • Turfgrass leaves contain between 3 to 6% nitrogen
  • Turf plants absorb nitrogen as nitrates that are converted from the naturally-occurring nitrogen or applied fertilizers
  • Promotes root and shoot growth, green color, density, turf vigor and overall health
  • Lawns with nitrogen deficiency may be thin and have a yellow-green or pale yellow appearance

Phosphorous (P)

  • Used by turfgrass less than nitrogen and potassium
  • Is a part of every living cell in the plant
  • Essential part of the photosynthesis process
  • Helps with the transformation of solar energy into chemical energy
  • Important in seed germination, growth and establishment
  • Encourages reproduction, flowering and root growth
  • Amount available to turf depends on the parent soil, soil reaction and organic matter content
  • Low leaching potential; tightly bound to soil particles

Potassium (K)

  • The second largest nutrient required by turf behind nitrogen
  • Higher levels in younger plant tissue
  • There is generally one part potassium to three parts nitrogen in younger plant tissues
  • Aids in turfgrass hardiness, wear tolerance, disease resistance and rooting
  • Can be lost by leaching, especially in sandy soils
  • A major component of warm season turf nutrition

Of course, only a trained lawn care professional can help determine which essential macronutrients your lawn is lacking and which kinds of fertilizers are best to deliver these lawn nutrients to your turf.

Scotts LawnService is the trusted industry leader for professional quality lawn care. Our exclusive lawn care products include premium grass seeds and professional-grade fertilizers; our lawn service teams are comprised of highly trained, industry-certified professionals. Contact a representative today for lawn fertilizer available in your area and to learn how you can enjoy a lush, thicker lawn that only Scotts LawnService can deliver.