Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Garden > SULIS > Maintenance > Sustainable Lawncare Information Series > Understanding and Using Lawn Fertilizers > Getting What You Paid For

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Getting What You Paid For

The example in Table 7.3 is based on the fertilizer label in Table 7.2.

Table 7.3. Calculating Pounds of Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P2O5), Potash (K2O)

Our bag contains 60 pounds of fertilizer. Since we know the percent of nitrogen, phosphate and potash, we can calculate how many pounds of each element using the following formula:

(% nutrient 100) x total pounds of fertilizer = pounds of nutrient in the bag

In our example the calculations would be as follows:

Nitrogen: (30 100) x 60 lbs = 18 lbs nitrogen

Phosphate: (4 100) x 60 lbs = 2.4 lbs phosphate

Potash: (4 100) x 60 lbs = 2.4 lbs potash

In the cases of P and K, this calculation only determines the percentage oxide of these two elements and not the actual percentage of each nutrient. For example, the element P only makes up 44 percent of the P2O5 or phosphate molecule and the element K only makes up 83 percent of the K2O molecule. However, unless a soil test directs you otherwise, the amount of product to apply will be given in terms of the phosphate and potash designations. When occasions arise where the precise amount of P or K need to be determined, multiplying the phosphate percent by 0.44 and the potash percent by 0.83 will give the exact amount of P and K respectively. Table 7.4 illustrates how to calculate actual P and K.

Table 7.4. Calculating Actual P and K

Calculating actual P and K amounts using the example above:

Phosphate into phosphorus: 2.4 lbs x 0.44 = 1.1 lbs

Potash into potassium: 2.4 lbs x 0.83 = 2.0 lbs

Proceed to Types and Forms of Nutrient Source - Nitrogen.

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy