What do the three numbers on the front of the bag mean? The three numbers are the percent by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) inside the bag. These three nutrients are needed by all plants and they're always listed in the same order, N-P-K on any box or bag of fertilizer.
Why isn't there one fertilizer that I can use on my lawn, in the vegetable garden and around my trees? Not all plants have the same needs for nutrients. Established lawns and shade trees require more nitrogen than phosphorus or potassium. Flowering plants, fruits, and vegetables generally need more phosphorus than nitrogen or potassium.
What does slow-release nitrogen do? Nitrogen is the nutrient responsible for growth and greenness in plants. Quick-release nitrogen goes to work right away. Slow-release nitrogen feeds your plants for weeks or months. By combining quick-and slow-release nitrogen, plants can be "spoon fed" just the right amount so you don't have to fertilize as often!
What is winterizer fertilizer? A winterizer formula in lawn food is lower in nitrogen than other lawn fertilizers. This is because it is less important to encourage top growth than to build up the roots and crowns for winter. A good winterizer has some slow-release fertilizer to help green up the lawn in the following spring.
When and how often should I fertilize my lawn? If you don't like to mow and you're not trying to have the prettiest lawn in the neighborhood, fertilize twice a year, mid April and mid September. For a "showplace" lawn, fertilize four times a year, in early April, late May, early September, and mid October. You can combine the April feeding with crabgrass preventer and the May and/or September feeding with a dandelion and broadleaf weed killer. The October feeding should be a "winterizer" type fertilizer with lower nitrogen.