Low Nitrogen Fertilizers: The Complete Guide

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what are low nitrogen fertilizers

Plants need certain things to grow. This includes having the right amount of light, plenty of moisture as well as nutrients to grow properly. The sun is actually the main source of light. It is what gives the plants the nudge they need to grow strong.  Moisture is something which they can easily get from rainfall as well as from the irrigation system.

But what about nutrients? You can call it as superfood which the plants would definitely be needing. It comes in the form of fertilizers, compost as well as manure.

When taking about fertilizers, there are mainly of two kinds- organic and inorganic. The organic fertilizer is that which comes in its complete organic format like from bone meal, cottonseed and even a cow’s dung. There is absolutely no harm in making use of them. However it takes time for it to show results. Whereas, the inorganic or synthetic is the kind which allows you to notice results pretty fast. But since it is man-made, it comes at a price. Which is more or less on how they contain chemicals.

So when talking about fertilizers, an important aspect we need to know is how much nitrogen is in them. See you will need low nitrogen fertilizers in the case when your soil already has it plenty. Having too much or too less can spell issues.


Let’s start and you will get all the details and information you need about nitrogen in fertilizers:

What is Low Nitrogen in a Fertilizer?

using nitrogen at good levels

Most fertilizers, both kinds, have a good amount of nitrogen in them. When it comes to deciding on a fertilizer, it means to know which one does your garden need.

You have to decide on the nitrogen level by understanding yourself how much nitrogen is in these kinds of fertilizers.

Gardeners can choose low nitrogen fertilizers when they have soil which is highly fertile. Also the kind of plants you have in your garden also plays a major role when deciding on the kind of fertilizer you want.

See, those plants which are leafy will not be doing so well with low nitrogen as they require a good booster to help them become strong and sturdy. However when it comes to plantation with fruits and vegetables, you will be needing fertilizers which are giving the nitrogen amounts in the right levels. Otherwise it will make your plants burn out.

Before anything else, I want to talk about what is the nitrogen use and benefits in gardening?

Nitrogen Function and Benefits

Nitrogen is a highly important element in gardening. It is basically what will promote strong growth in your plants. Where you need it in high amounts for grass, you will require it in minimal levels for fruits and vegetables.

So naturally you need it in different amounts for different plantation. If you are growing crops with too much nitrogen then it produces high levels of foliage. Whereas low-nitrogen fertilizers are those which help to keep your fruits and vegetables in good condition.

Did you know nitrogen levels can also impact the taste of your plants?

So to avoid making your plantation become less flavorsome, you should make use of nitrogen in very limited amounts, especially in vegetation cases.

So now that you have a good idea on what are fertilizers and what does it mean to have low nitrogen fertilizers, I want to now talk about the fertilizers which are actually low in nitrogen:

Fertilizers Which Are Low in Nitrogen

When you go out and want to make a purchase of a fertilizer, the first thing is to see the brand and packaging. Any good fertilizer is that which has all the information you need written on the seal.

This makes for and affirms its quality. All the ingredients and content should be given on the label itself. So when you are looking for a low nitrogen fertilizer, you will look for a package which actually starts from the number zero. When the number is low in the start, you would know that the contents of this page mean that it has very limited amount of nitrogen in it.

For example if you see a package that has the numbering 2-1-3, it means it consists of about just 2% of nitrogen by weight. Bone meal is also a kind of organic fertilizer which has very low amounts of nitrogen in them. One way in which you can ensure that the soil amount is in control is by making use of low-nitrogen compost which you can add into your garden as mulch.

There are also some other elements that you can add into your garden to balance and control the amount of nitrogen in them. This includes the likes of phosphorus, calcium and sulfur.

So how do you identify how much nitrogen is in a fertilizer?

Understanding Labelling

So one thing you should know that is that every package of a fertilizer comes with a unique set of three numbers. This indicates and informs of the nutrient content in a fertilizer. The three numbers are actually in relation to the three major nutrients any garden will be needing. This is in the form of  – NPK, which means nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

So if you purchase a fertilizer with the labelling – 6-9-16, it means it consists of 6% nitrogen by weight, 9% phosphorus by weight and 16% potassium by weight. And the remaining so would be a filler. If you are talking about a 100 pound bag, it means that 6 pounds would be nitrogen, 9 pounds would be phosphorus and 16 pounds would be potassium, whereas the remaining of the bag consists of what we call filler.

Hence with a better understanding of the labelling, now you can readily choose a bag with knowing the details on how much of the nutrient content is there in the bag. So in case you wish to make a purchase of a fertilizer which has low nitrogen level, then you will look for a bag which has the smallest first number. In case, you are looking for a fertilizer which has no nitrogen, then you will make purchase of a bag which has 0 as the first number.

What is a Complete Fertilizer?

what are complete fertilizers

So when you go out to purchase a fertilizer, just make sure you know the contents of what you need. When you ask for a complete fertilizer, it is basically a mix of all the major nutrients. It consists of nitrogen, phosphorus as well as potassium. This is called a complete fertilizer. And you need it to ensure your gardening and vegetation is getting all that it requires.

So now let’s talk about how much nitrogen is there in the major types of fertilizers.

Nitrogen Amounts in Fertilizer

So when talking about the amounts of nitrogen amounts in fertilizers, we need to see the content there is in the different kinds. So let’s look into these:

Commercial Fertilizer Nitrogen Levels

This is the one which actually comes with three numbers. These numbers indicate that there are three major nutrients which this fertilizer consists of with nitrogen being the first number. It is basically the number which is indicating how much nitrogen is there in the fertilizer mixture.

Whereas the second and last number indicate how much of phosphorus and potassium are there in these fertilizers. When you are hoping to get a low-nitrogen commercial fertilizer, you should look for the fertilizer that comes with a low nutrient ratio. With the first number indicating the levels of nitrogen in this particular fertilizer.

Organic Fertilizer Nitrogen Levels

This is basically relating to the amount you will find in organic fertilizers. So when talking about organic, we mean manure, compost as well as anything which is completely natural. They provide the nutrients in soil. But there is a catch.

The nitrogen that you find in organic fertilizers is not as easy to use by the plants nor it is as accessible. So before plants are able to take in this nitrogen from the organic material, they will have to actually break it down and have the nitrogen release into the plants. It’s a hectic process.

And it provides very low amounts of nitrogen when it does get releases. That’s why when you decide on using an organic fertilizer, know that it consists of very little nitrogen but has high amounts of carbon in it.


ensuring how nitrogen helps

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrient you need to ensure your plants and garden is beautifully growing, however it comes with a price where you have to ensure that you are giving your garden and crops the right amount. As fruits and vegetables need low nitrogen fertilizers to ensure that the plants do not burn.

It all comes down to your understanding of the kind of plants you aim to grow. When lookin for low nitrogen fertilizers, there are definitely a few things you need to follow and understand- for instance, how much quantity of nitrogen is there in the fertilizer you have chosen. In this article, we basically looked into and talked about all of that.

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