The roots of any plant have three main functions. One of them is to allow fixing to the ground. The second is to transport the water and minerals that are absorbed from the soil, and the third is to store the nutrients that are produced during photosynthesis. With such important functions it is obvious that to have a strong plant we need a good root system. To help you improve the roots of your plants, we will analyze the best fertilizer for root growth. I will recommend some commercial fertilizers and other organic ones that you can easily prepare at home.
Table of Contents
1. NPK values: simple explanation
As we will see later, there is a special nutrient that is responsible for stimulating better growth in the roots. But if we are going to buy a fertilizer, how can we easily tell if it contains a good amount of this nutrient? To help us with that, there are NPK values.
NPK values represent the concentration of the three main nutrients that a fertilizer has. When I said the three main nutrients, I mean the following:
- N: nitrogen
- P: phosphor
- K: potassium
The concentration is indicated by the percentage by weight with respect to the total weight. That is, if you have a 1 kg bag of 15-20-10 fertilizer; 150 g are nitrogen, 200 g are phosphorus, and 100 g are occupied by potassium. The rest of the total weight is completed with microelements and other components of the fertilizer.
I hope I have been clear enough with the explanation of the NPK values, and when in the other sections I talk about a commercial fertilizer you can understand what concentration of nutrients it has.
2. Best fertilizer for root growth
As happens when fertilizing any plant, when it comes to analyzing the best fertilizers to stimulate or favor the development of roots, there are hundreds of types of fertilizers that can help. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating when I say hundreds, but tens for sure. In the same way, we can separate them all between those that are homemade organic and commercial chemicals.
Next we will see a list of fertilizers divided between homemade and commercial. Then you will decide which of them is the one that best suits your needs, and of course your pocket.
2.1 Organic homemade fertilizer
The use of natural fertilizers has many advantages, among the most outstanding we can mention that they do not affect the microbial community of the soil, you do not run as much risk of killing your plants if you exceed the dose, it is much cheaper, etc.
Many times you may give up using this type of fertilizer because you think they are difficult to prepare. But you will see below that quite the opposite, they are very simple.
- Coffee-based stimulator: who doesn’t have coffee at home? Find him so we can prepare a fertilizer to stimulate root growth. To do this, put half a liter of water in a jug and inside it a handful of coffee beans. Boil the water for a few minutes, then let the preparation cool. Once the mixture is cold, you can take the plants and before transplanting them, place them for a few minutes in that liquid.
- Lentil-Based Stimulant: Find about 100 grains of lentils and sprout them in a bowl of water. Once germinated, beat them with a mixer. Once blended, add 2 liters of water and a few drops of lemon and mix again. If possible, measure the pH, it should be 5.5, if it is higher, add more lemon. Once the mixture is uniform, filter it and you will have the mixture ready to use.
- Wood ashes: medra ashes are a perfect fertilizer to stimulate root growth. This given that its composition is rich in phosphorus, which is the main nutrient for this task. Preparing it is easy, you just have to look for wood ashes and dilute them in water, and you will have the fertilizer ready to use.
- Bone meal: This is another high-phosphorus fertilizer. To prepare it you must look for bones, then put them on the fire for several hours. Once they have burned enough you will see that without much effort you can grind them into powder or as we call it here bone meal. You can already use that powder as a fertilizer.
2.2 Commercial fertilizer
We have already talked about some of the advantages of using organic fertilizers, here we cannot fail to mention the advantages of using commercial fertilizers. And he can give you two, which are undoubtedly the most important.
First of all, the results obtained will always be better. With the use of homemade fertilizers you can maintain a good development of your plants, but if you use commercials you will notice a notable jump in the vigor of your plants. Also, thanks to the NPK values, you can know exactly what the composition is. This way you can carry out a much more controlled fertilization.
If we are going to recommend commercial fertilizers to improve root development, we must look for those with a good concentration of phosphorus. This means that you should look for those that have the second highest NPK number. An example might be a 5-20-10 mix. It is essential that the first value (nitrogen) is the lowest, since it is the one that is responsible for stimulating the green part of the plant.
If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.
3. How to use fertilizer to promote root growth
There are basically two ways to stimulate root growth, one is to apply the fertilizer directly to the roots of the plant before transplanting and the other is to place the fertilizer directly into the soil. The direct application to the root is only valid in new seedlings, in case we want to improve the roots of an already established plant we must work directly on the properties of the soil.
For the most efficient fertilization it is better to start by doing a soil analysis. In this way we will know the components of it and we will know how to determine whether or not it is necessary to apply a fertilizer. If the amount of phosphorus is already high, it is better not to apply any fertilizer to improve root growth.
If you are applying an organic fertilizer, it usually takes several months for it to dilute and make its nutrients available to be absorbed by the roots. Therefore, it is good to apply the fertilizer about 6 months before transplanting. Phosphorus has very limited mobility, so when you place your plants it will be there to be used for the benefit of the roots.
4. Extra: Fertilizer for root growth in grass
Among the inquiries that are made about the growth of the roots, the questions about the roots of the grass are the most repeated. And it is that a good development of a root system, with roots that penetrate deep into the soil, is a key factor for a longer life and a higher quality of the grass. That is why we will dedicate this small section to talking about the factors that favor good root growth in the lawn.
First of all, it should be noted that you not only have fertilization as an ally to improve the roots, there are other points that can help you. Let’s look at the three key points.
- Good soil conditions: the soil must have good drainage capacity, and at the same time it must be able to retain nutrients. Soils that are too clayey can cause waterlogging, and very sandy soils can retain very little water and nutrients. The ideal is sandy soils with a good amount of organic matter. In addition, you must provide a suitable pH for the grass you have planted, analyze the soil and then modify the pH until it is suitable.
- Correct irrigation: the ideal to get deep roots is an irrigation that penetrates deep into the soil. In the grass, it is better to water not so often but deeply. Then you will need to water when you notice that the leaves begin to show signs of lack of water, this will cause the roots to develop more deeply in search of water.
- Fertilization: as with other plants, if you want to improve the root system of the grass, you should look for a fertilizer rich in phosphorus. Also, it is better to apply slow-release fertilizers. Quick-release ones allow nutrients to be readily available, but at the same time, a large percentage seeps down below the root zone and is not captured. Among the commercial fertilizers I can recommend Pennington Lawn Starter Fertilizer (18-24-6), the high phosphorus content promotes strong root development. And since it has slow-release nitrogen, it will fuel your lawn for several months.
Always remember that the success of your lawn will largely depend on how well the roots develop. Work to improve soil conditions, water properly and apply a good fertilizer and you will be on the right track. 😉
5. Fertilization lawn root growth (video)
To finish this article we have selected a video from the GroMax channel. In it you can see a fertilization experiment in search of improving root growth. I hope it is useful to you and you can draw conclusions that you can use to apply it to your plants.
Before leaving, take advantage of and read about the fertilization of some of the following plants:
And with this we already reached the end of the post, I hope you are able to correctly apply the fertilizer to improve the growth of the roots of your plants or grass.