Fertilizer Terms

Fertilizer analysis: The minimum amount of each element in a fertilizer as stated on the label, such as 16-4-8.
Fertilizer ratio: The relative proportion of N, P2O5, and K2O. The ratios of 16-4-8 and 8-2-4 are both 4:1:2, which means 4 parts nitrogen to 1 part phosphorus to 2 parts potassium.
Balanced fertilizer: A fertilizer containing equal parts of each major element, such as 10-10-10.
Complete fertilizer: A fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Examples of commonly used fertilizers are 10-10-10, 16-4-8, and 12-4-8.
Incomplete fertilizer: A fertilizer missing one or two of the macro nutrients, such as 0-20-0.
Weed and feed fertilizers: A combination of fertilizer and herbicide. They are often used on lawns to prevent certain weeds from germinating, or to kill existing broad leaf weeds.
High analysis: A fertilizer containing 30% or more active nutrients, such as ammonium nitrate 33-0-0. The cost per bag is usually more, but the cost per pound of nutrient is less, lowering the cost for fertilizing a given area.

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