19-19-19 Fertilizer: Benefits and When & How To Use It

If you’ve got a garden where you grow your vegetables or a homestead where you grow crops, you already know how important it is to get your plants the nutrients they need.

bucket filled with fertilizer
bucket filled with fertilizer

But even if you’re just a homeowner with a lawn and some landscaping, you should work just as hard to take care of your property.

Plants get pretty much everything they need nutritionally from the soil, and over time the soil can run out of nutrients. This leads to slow, stunted growth and even premature death in plants.

If you want to prevent that, you’ll need to fertilize to replenish soil levels, and give plants what they need to thrive.

But there are tons and tons of different fertilizers out there, so to help you make sense of them I’m bringing you a guide today on 19-19-19, a potent but still general-purpose fertilizer.

What Does 19-19-19 Signify for Fertilizer?

The 19-19-19 you see on the package of this fertilizer, or any other for that matter, refers to the ratio of nutrients in it by percentage. This is sometimes expressed as NPK: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.

In this case, you’ll note that the “K” in NPK is simply the atomic symbol for the element potassium. Same with nitrogen and phosphorus, but the K throws some people off.

What Ingredients are Typically in 19-19-19 Fertilizer?

The most important ingredients in 19-19-19, and all other fertilizers, are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as you might guess. But they’re usually not the only thing in them depending on the manufacturer.

Certain blends of fertilizer will contain additional beneficial things for plants like iron, lime and other needed trace minerals or soil conditioners and other additives that can help your plants grow big and grow quickly, supposedly.

Depending on the amount of control you want over your fertilization, you might want to get an all natural fertilizer that lacks these bonus ingredients.

But then again, you might want them. Just make sure you check the ingredients on the package before you commit.

Benefits of 19-19-19 Fertilizer

The biggest benefit of 19-19-19 is that it is a strong but all-purpose fertilizer. It is suitable for many plants except the most delicate ones, and at the beginning of a growing season or a brand-new planting it can give your plants a big burst of nutrition that they need.

It can also serve as your ace in the hole for feeding the hungriest fruits and vegetables during their reproductive phase.

If you know you’re starting out with severely depleted soils that need pretty much everything, 19-19-19 is a great choice.

However, you need be careful because this stuff is strong, and particularly heavy with nitrogen which can roast plant leaves and roots.

Only apply after conducting a soil test and always apply it sparingly so you don’t harm your plants or your lawn.

What Plants is 19-19-19 Fertilizer Best For?

19-19-19 is an all-purpose fertilizer and accordingly is suitable for pretty much all kinds of plants, including many grasses.

However, it is pretty concentrated stuff and the high amount of nitrogen means it is likely to harm the most delicate plants, and it should be used cautiously on young grasses.

Be especially careful with it, and think twice before applying to herbs, seedlings and other delicate plant life.

When Should You Use 19-19-19 Fertilizer?

No question, the very best time to use 19-19-19 is at the very beginning of the growing season when plants need extra nutrition to start off right.

Alternatively, you can use it to restore soil nutrient levels before you ever get around to planting so you can give your new lawn or garden the best chance of successful establishment.

19-19-19 is also a pretty dependable choice later in the season for hungry plants like many fruits and veggies that need extra or ongoing nutrition during their reproductive phase or for the final stretch of growth prior to harvest.

When Is the Best Time To Apply 19-19-19?

You always want to apply fertilizer early in the morning or late in the evening if you can. This is because it will reduce the chances of chemical burns for sensitive plants or ones that you accidentally over-fertilize.

Applying fertilizer in the heat of the day or anytime plants are exposed to intense sunlight is highly likely to result in damage unless they have full-time shade or you’re doing it on a very cloudy day.

How Much 19-19-19 Fertilizer Should You Use per Acre?

This depends entirely on the manufacturer’s instructions and your specific requirements, but a good rule of thumb is to use about a pound for every 1,000 sqft you need to cover – assuming you’re just trying to amend seriously depleted soil.

But remember! The only metric that matters is what your soil test tells you! Make sure you test your soil, then figure out how much fertilizer to put down according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then apply it carefully for best results.

What’s the Best Method to Apply 19-19-19 Fertilizer?

Your application method will similarly depend on what sort of product you purchased. Powders and granules are popular, and easily applied with broadcasters prior to being watered in.

Liquids are also quite popular and can be applied with sprayers or garden hose attachments.

Is also possible to get 19-19-19 fertilizer as spikes that you can drive into the ground in specific areas or spaced out on a grid to slowly release fertilizer over time. All are viable options, and all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Whichever kind you decide to go with, be very careful that you do not accidentally over-fertilize any given spot of your property, or your plants will likely suffer.

Is 19-19-19 Fertilizer Good for Lawns?

Yes, but with caution. 19-19-19 is a general-purpose fertilizer that’s good for all sorts of grasses, but they should really only have it at the beginning of the season or when the whole lawn is yellow and badly depleted.

Overdoing it with a 19-19-19 is a great way to roast your lawn.

Is 19-19-19 Fertilizer Good for Gardens?

Yes, but again you’ll want to apply it sparingly and cautiously. 19-19-19 is a general-purpose fertilizer suitable for use on many kinds of plants, but it is also a very potent one.

It’s great at giving plants a surge of nutrition at the beginning of the growing season, but this isn’t one you should be applying regularly in most cases.

It is, however, a dependable choice for fruits and veggies that need a big burst of nutrition to finish fruiting.

What’s the Average Price of 19-19-19 Fertilizer?

19-19-19 is more concentrated than the more common, weaker fertilizers and accordingly it tends to cost more, though not drastically so. Expect this fertilizer to run you anywhere from .15 to .23 cents an ounce.

Where Can You Buy 19-19-19 Fertilizer?

Although not as common as 8-8-8 and other mainstay fertilizers, you can still find 19-19-19 in pretty much every hardware store, big box home improvement center, landscaping store and online.

What’s the Best 19-19-19 Fertilizer Brand?

Pennington makes a great 19-19-19 that is totally dependable and has very few additives that I don’t want going into my soil. It’s been around for a long time and has always given me great results.

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