What Does Potassium do for Lawns?

Among the nutrients most needed in lawn growth, potassium is considered one of the "big three" with nitrogen and phosphorus. Also known by its scientific symbol, K, potassium makes lawns resistant to weeds and disease, while improving overall health.

Potassium also provides the following benefits:

  • Develops the stems and leaves of plants: Potassium helps the photosynthesis process, which is what plants go through to create glucose, their main source of energy, through sunlight and other nutrients.
  • Creates resistance against disease: Potassium is an all-in-all health booster that helps your lawn better resist harsh weather and drought. Potash, an element found in fertilizers, can improve your lawn's resistance to grass and soil diseases.
  • Strengthens cell walls: Strong cell walls help plants retain nutrients and last longer through the seasons. It also helps retain enough moisture when waters run temporarily dry.
  • Improves water intake: Plant cells with inadequate potassium may wilt if too much moisture is absorbed. Having enough potassium can help regulate the amount of water plants intake.
  • Promotes root development: Potassium helps grass root firmly in the soil, ensuring that it survives by continuously providing nutrients.
  • Catalyzes iron uptake: Iron is also important for nutrient growth in grass. Having enough potassium in the soil encourages plants to intake iron easier.
  • Helps absorb protein, starches, and sugar: If the grass is experiencing low levels of potassium, it may have a difficulty absorbing the nutrients it needs to survive.

Potassium is mostly available in soil at pH levels of 5.5 or higher in the form of potassium hydroxide, or potash. When applied to the lawn, it often takes longer to move through the soil and become available to plants. Nevertheless, they remain essential to nurturing healthy grass and should always be checked for through a lawn care analysis.

Potassium Deficiency

When your lawn lacks potassium, the results show in different ways. With leaves, potassium deficiency can manifest itself by yellowing the edges of the leaves and sometimes turning the tips purple. They may also appear to have been burnt off or curled if they are from older trees.

Soil with low pH levels may also experience potassium deficiency due to the increased acid levels. If you have sandy soil, it is likely that it may experience drops in potassium as it is being leached from the soil. You can add organic material or fertilize to help it retain nutrients better.

To combat potassium deficiencies, try fertilizer. When purchasing, you should look at the bag's label for the last number of the fertilizer analysis, which indicates the percentage of potassium that it contains. For example, if a fertilizer analysis is 12-5-6, the amount of potassium is 6%. Depending on how much potassium your lawn is missing, the strength of the fertilizer may need to be adjusted.

Performing a lawn analysis can help show you what precisely your lawn is missing. You can do this on your own through a test kit or hire a professional lawn care service to take care of it for you. From there, you can tackle potassium deficiency head on and improve your lawn's health.

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