If you want to know what is 8-8-8 fertilizer good for, this in-depth guide is for you.
Before moving ahead, let’s talk about this number.
This number shows the NPK ratio. In simple words, it shows the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
So the triple 8 fertilizer contains:
- Nitrogen (N): 8%
- Phosphorus (P): 8%
- Potassium (K): 8%
Before moving ahead, note that the 8-8-8 fertilizer is considered an all-purpose balanced fertilizer.
So we can use it for different plants. But first, let’s take a look at the topic.
What Does “8-8-8” Mean?
As I already mentioned, this shows the percentage of three primary macronutrients.
Here’s why they are important.
It is extremely important for plant growth.
Can you guess why is this so?
It is a source of energy for metabolic reactions. Photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration are some examples of metabolic reactions in plants.
Using nitrogen, plants make complex molecules like DNA, nucleic acid, proteins, and amino acids.
You should also know that it enhances the function of chlorophyll.
This organelle is responsible for carbohydrate formation through photosynthesis. Now you might be wondering, how do plants obtain nitrogen?
Plants cannot take nitrogen directly from the atmosphere.
It is obtained when ammonia is added to the soil, and the plant takes up nitrogen in the form of NH₄⁺ and NO₃⁻ ions.
They obtain nitrogen in form of nitrates as well. This is possible due to dead bacteria and animal waste in the soil.
Now, let’s talk about phosphorus.
It is an essential component of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate).
What is ATP?
It is the “energy unit” of plants. In simple words, this structure provides energy to the plant.
The major function of phosphorus is that it supports the root and shoot system of the plant. It is important for normal growth and metabolism as well.
Remember that it leads to flower and fruit development as well. This is because it is responsible for crop maturity at the right time.
Now you might be wondering, how do plants obtain phosphorus?
A plant takes up phosphorus in its primary forms. These are called orthophosphates, H2PO4– and HPO42-.
This happens due to diffusion (movement of substances from higher concentration to lower concentration).
Note: Phosphorus deficiency is indicated if plants fail to grow to their normal size or they take a lot of time to mature.
Now let me introduce potassium to you.
Potassium enhances the process of photosynthesis by regulating the opening and closing of stomata.
It is used by plants for the movement of water, carbohydrates, and nutrients. Note that it is responsible for protein and starch production as well.
Here are some other uses of potassium:
- It is used to activate the enzymes which make ATP, starch, and proteins.
Remember that enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up a reaction.
- It regulates water and other salts in plant cells and tissues.
- It increases root growth and improves drought tolerance.
Now the question is, how do plants take up potassium?
It is taken up by the plant in the form of potassium ion (K+).
The best part is that it quickly dissolves in water. So it is obtained when the plant absorbs water from the soil.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
With this, let’s jump straight to our next topic.
What is 8-8-8 Fertilizer Good For?
Here are some benefits of using the triple 8 fertilizer.
Overview: What is 8-8-8 fertilizer good for? It leads to optimum photosynthesis by encouraging vibrant foliage. Nitrogen promotes healthy turf and the application process is simple. Here are the details.
- It leads to optimum photosynthesis by encouraging vibrant foliage.
Let me explain.
Foliage refers to the leafy part of your plant or tree. Note that the main function of a leaf is to produce food by photosynthesis.
Now you might be wondering, what gives this luscious thickness?
Remember that Nitrogen in the 8-8-8 fertilizer promotes healthy turf. Plus, it promotes good growth by increasing chlorophyll production in plants.
Note: Chlorophyll is a pigment involved in photosynthesis.
- It can be used as a “water-soluble powder“.
Here’s why this is important.
This type of fertilizer can be applied directly to the soil or can be diluted in water.
Since it is water-soluble, the nutrient levels are not affected by leaching and erosion. Note that leaching is the loss of soluble substances from the top layer of soil.
The best part?
The nutrients are easily available for absorption by plants. They are easy to apply through fertigation.
Note: Fertigation is a process in which the fertilizer is included within the irrigation water. This drip-irrigation system makes this fertilizer application method effective.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
- The application process is simple.
If we talk about granular fertilizer, you can simply use your hands or fertilizer spreader.
Over here, note that inorganic fertilizers are available as:
We call them “slow-release granules” as well.
As the name suggests, they release nutrients over a course of time. So, you do not have to fertilize your lawn regularly.
Note that they are considered eco-friendly, and watering is not required to activate them.
Can you guess why this type is often used?
It keeps soil pH balanced when mixed with water. Plus, it also counters deficiency in leaves as well.
But, here’s something that you should remember.
If you use this type in excess, it can cause root burn as well. So you should be careful with that.
Water soluble powder:
Powder fertilizers provide nutrients necessary for the plant. Plus, it provides vitamins and minerals required by the soil.
You can add it directly to the soil or it can be diluted with water.
Just like liquid concentrates, it can cause root burn if manufacturer instructions are not followed.
Now, let’s talk about fertilizer spikes.
They release nutrients into the soil over time.
Spikes carry an additional benefit of disease and pest resistance as well.
You can use them in early spring. Then, use them again in mid-fall when the topsoil is moist, but not saturated.
Now back to the topic, “What is 8-8-8 Fertilizer Good For?”
- It prevents nitrogen deficiency in your plants.
Nitrogen deficiency can cause the following problems for your plant:
- Reduced tiller development.
- Pale yellowish-green plant.
- Slow growth.
In simple words, less nitrogen can cause wilting and less leaf growth.
- A moderate amount of Potassium protects from high temperature and drought.
Earlier, we have already discussed the importance of Potassium.
It protects from snow and frost in winters. Here’s how.
The ability to control the movement of nutrients, water and carbohydrates allows it to do so.
- Being a balanced fertilizer, it can be a good fit for indoor and outdoor plants
It can be a good source of macronutrients for indoor and outdoor plants. So when we add triple 8 fertilizer to the soil, it provides even nutrient availability.
This promotes healthy growth. Amazing, isn’t it?
With this, it is time to move on to our next topic.
How and When To Use 8-8-8 Fertilizer?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on applying the triple 8 fertilizer to your lawn.
- Conduct a soil test.
This is the first thing that you should do.
A soil test will help you understand the condition of your soil. This will help you make better decisions with the fertilizers you use.
- Mow your lawn three days before spreading the fertilizer.
Quick tip: Mowing in rows is fast and efficient. But if your lawn is wider, mow in horizontal rows to cover the longest part of your lawn.
Then, water the grass to moisten it.
This will “activate” the fertilizer, providing the nutrients to the lawn.
In other words, watering ensures that the nutrients are available through the roots. After this, allow the grass blades to dry.
- Now, calibrate a fertilizer spreader to a release rate.
You should use it in the North-South direction (rows). A tip for you is to turn off the spreader at the end of each row.
This will prevent over-fertilization around the corners.
You can then water the grass to a depth of 3 inches. This will settle the fertilizer into the soil.
Here’s what you should do for trees.
- Calculate the root zone size.
This is simple. To calculate the radius of the root, measure the distance from the trunk to the end of the longest branch.
Here’s the breakdown.
(Distance of trunk) + (Distance of longest branch).
This should be measured in feet.
- Now, determine the amount of fertilizer you should use.
Note that a 20-pound bag will cover around 2000 square feet. Multiply the root zone size by the application rate per square foot.
This will tell you the total amount of fertilizer (in pounds) you should apply.
- Finally, apply it.
You should spread the fertilizer evenly. Remember that you should avoid applications close to the trunk.
Now you might be wondering, what if the tree is on a lawn?
In this case, apply when the grass is dry. Then, water it.
Simple, isn’t it?
This takes us straight to our next topic, “when to apply the triple 8 fertilizer?”
When to apply?
Generally, warm-season grasses should be fed four times a year.
Here are some details:
- First dose: Around March to April, when new growth starts.
In areas with mild winters, this helps young leaves grow in a better manner.
But, this is not the case for cool-season grasses. For these grasses, the first fertilizer application should take place in spring.
This is the time when new growth begins. Then, you should fertilize them twice in the fall.
Note: The 8-8-8 fertilizer serves as an all-purpose balanced fertilizer at this stage.
You should try to add the fertilizer in the morning (around 10 am). This is because fertilizing midday carries a risk of chemical burn.
Here’s the problem of applying it in the afternoon.
The scorching heat can burn your grass as well. So remember this as well.
Can I Use 8-8-8 Fertilizer For Tomatoes:
Growing tomatoes is tricky.
But do not worry. Here’s what you should know.
Usually, they need high phosphorus fertilizers such as 8-32-16 and 6-24-24. You have to be extremely careful when applying these.
It is because over-application can destroy your plant. We have already discussed how phosphorus is involved in root growth.
Over time, you can use fertilizers such as 12-4-8 and 8-8-8 to fulfil the nutrient requirements.
If you want to know about the application rate, read the instructions carefully on the package.
If you are using a liquid fertilizer, add a tablespoon to 1 gallon of water. In the granular form, 2 tablespoons for 1 gallon of water will work.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Can I use 8-8-8 Fertilizer For Citrus Trees?
Quick answer: Yes! You can use it for citrus trees.
Here’s what you should know.
Citrus trees need a slow-release balanced fertilizer. Plus, all citrus trees require plenty of energy.
This is the reason why Nitrogen-rich fertilizers can work best for them. Let me explain.
The triple 18 fertilizer is a stronger mix. Therefore, an 8-8-8 fertilizer is a good choice.
Talking about its application, here’s what you need to know.
The fertilizer should be applied throughout the growing season. If you are using a liquid fertilizer, then apply weekly.
For the amount of fertilizer, follow the package instructions carefully.
We already know that nitrogen applications should continue throughout the year. You should avoid them in winters when the tree is not growing.
Now, let me tell you how to use this fertilizer properly.
- Before adding fertilizer to your citrus tree, read the instructions on the package carefully.
You should dissolve the fertilizer in water first if it says “water-soluble”. Then apply the fertilizer to the leaves when the soil is soaked right above the root zone.
- If you are using a granular fertilizer, spread it evenly.
You can also use your hand or a fertilizer spreader. To prevent your trunk from “burning”, apply the fertilizer at least two inches away from the tree trunk.
After that, water the soil and allow it to penetrate to the roots.
Note: Apply the fertilizer in a circle, equal to the height of the tree. This will allow the fertilizer will reach the root system of the tree.
For example: Let’s say that your tree is 10 meters long. The perimeter (circumference) of the circle should then be 10 metres roughly.
For citrus and lemon trees, remember that they require more Nitrogen as they get bigger.
Is Triple 8 Fertilizer Good For Vegetables?
Yes, it is.
Let’s talk about vegetables first.
- The nitrogen content in this fertilizer makes it a good choice for vegetables.
We have already discussed the importance of nitrogen for plants.
The idea is that it is a good choice for some leafy and non-blooming plants.
- Vegetables consume a lot of nutrients.
Yes, vegetables need a lot of nutrients. They obtain it from the soil quickly.
This makes this fertilizer a good fit for vegetables.
In other words, it provides lost nutrients to the plant. This causes it to grow in a better manner.
Talking about its application, “healthy” soil should be fertilized every three to four weeks. Plus, it should be applied during the spring season.
Over here, you should ensure that it is properly added to the soil.
Disadvantages of Triple 8 Fertilizer:
The truth is that chemical fertilizers have plenty of disadvantages as well.
Here are some of them.
- Instead of soaking deep into the roots, it may crust on top of the soil.
Soil crusting refers to a dense and thin layer of tough material.
The problem is that inorganic fertilizers provide a quick fix for nutrients. This means that they are not good for the soil in the longer run.
- Overfertilization can damage your plants.
Here’s a thing.
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are extremely important. But in excess, they can damage your plants.
For example, excess nitrogen can make your plant vulnerable to diseases.
- They contain dangerous chemicals.
The chemical in this fertilizer can be harmful to our health. Therefore, protective clothing is recommended before applying the fertilizer.
Remember that inorganic fertilizers may contain a lot of salt. This can build up in your soil.
So these are some things that you should consider as well. Now, let’s move on to the conclusion.
So there you have it.
With this, our topic “what is 8-8-8 fertilizer good for?” has come to an end.
This NPK fertilizer is a great source of macronutrients for plants. So it is good for the maintenance of your lawn and garden.
Remember that over-fertilizing your plant can cause chemical burns. So you should be extremely careful when using this fertilizer.
We covered the uses of the triple 8 fertilizer and the application process.
Thank you for reading and staying with me till the end. Stay tuned for more.