Essential Nutrients for Healthy Grass Plants: Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorous

In our last article, we talked about macronutrients and micronutrients for the lawn. We gave you some information on what these essential nutrients do to help your lawn. In this article, we’re going to focus on what some call “The Big Three” – Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorous. Each is needed by the soil to create healthy grass plants. Let’s find out why.


Potassium has an indirect role in the formation of plants. It’s not actually part of the plant, but it activates other nutrients that reside in the plant and make it healthy. It is required for the activation of some 80 enzymes throughout the plant. It helps a plant withstand extreme cold and heat, drought and pests. Potassium also increases water use efficiency and can transform sugars to starch in the grain-filling process.  It helps cycle nutrients through leaves, roots and stems.


Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for plants. It is partially responsible for the green turf color and helps foliage grow strong. Lack of nitrogen can inhibit growth so an infusion of nitrogen increases growth. The Earth’s atmosphere contains so much nitrogen – about 80% – that one would think that it would be easy to get nitrogen into the soil. Unfortunately, nitrogen in its most common form is unusable to plants. Atmospheric nitrogen contains two nitrogen atoms fused together. Plants can utilize the nutrient when there is a single nitrogen atom. The plant-usable form is called nitrate and can be helped with a nitrogen-fixing bacteria.


Phosphorous can be a key to plant wellness. It assists with the growth of roots and flowers and helps plants withstand environmental stress and harsh winters. Phosphorous, along with nitrogen, is considered to limit plant growth when it’s not found in the soil. A lack of phosphorous can actually hinder plant growth. Adding too much phosphorous via fertilizers isn’t actually that helpful. Extra phosphorous can build up in the soil and wind up in the water supply. This harms marine animals. The best way to get phosphorous optimized is with help from weathering or microbial activity. Phosphorous moves through the soil by diffusion through water. This is good, but not ideal. The ideal way to get phosphorous deep into the soil is by microbial activity. Microorganisms all help make the phosphorous available to the plants. Making sure that you have plenty of these in your soil optimizes your phosphorous.

Now that we’ve determined how Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorous help the soil, you can use a lawn care service like Emerald Lawns to help enrich your soil with these essential nutrients. Emerald Lawns is the only lawn care provider in Central Texas to offer Holganix for the soil. Holganix products are all-natural and organic. They allow you to use less chemicals and fertilizers in your lawn.

Need more information? Great! Just call 512-990-2199 today.

By | 2017-01-20T03:06:06+00:00 February 23rd, 2015|blog, essential nutrients, macronutrients and micronutrients|Comments Off on Essential Nutrients for Healthy Grass Plants: Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorous

About the Author: