10-10-10 Fertilizer Explained

Well, as far as using fertilizers for your garden soil is concerned, there are many options out there. While there are many different combinations of fertilizers flooding the market, you need to get the perfect combination for your soil. If you’re a beginner in the craft of gardening, I would probably recommend that you start this beautiful journey with the popular 10-10-10 fertilizer, because you just can’t go wrong using it. So, what is the 10-10-10 formula?

inorganic or synthetic fertilizer

Table of Contents

10-10-10 Fertilizer

The 10-10-10 formula indicates the amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) you can find in the fertilizer’s formula. It is also called the NPK formula, and it refers to each of these chemical ingredients being 10%. This unique formula has been tried and tested on almost every type of lawn or garden over the years, and that is why you can easily find it in nearly every store.

10-10-10 chemical fertilizers

What are 10-10-10 fertilizers?

The 10-10-10 fertilizer prepared with the NPK formula is considered the best in the industry, mainly because these seem to be the primary nutrients that almost all plants need to thrive.

It is regarded as a good, balanced fertilizer, which can be used on many plants and in any kind of situation. Other fertilizer formulas generally have calcium or iron added to the mix to contribute to their usability. However, while these ingredients are good for use in their own way, there’s no arguing the fact that the 10-10-10 formula tends to lose some of its universal traits if multiple other ingredients are added to it.

While sodium, phosphorus, and potassium are the three key ingredients of this wonderful fertilizer, you can also find urea, ammonium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, phosphoric acid, and ammonium nitrate in the mix in order to make it as useful as it could be.

synthetic fertilizers

What are the advantages of 10-10-10 fertilizers?

Ease of use

Yes, 10-10-10 fertilizers are very easy to use. This is because they are capable of dissolving quickly. In other words, you don’t have to do much other than just spray the fertilizer. Its convenience is unmatched. You have to just spread it around and stop worrying about whether or not your plants received the nutrients they need, because they’ll get all the nutrients from this single fertilizer.


10-10-10 fertilizers are generally inexpensive, and that is why more and more farmers and gardeners purchase them, instead of using organic fertilizers

Resistance against decay or erosion

10-10-10 fertilizers dissolve very quickly due to the nature of their main ingredients and hence are a lot more resistant to decay or erosion. They don’t stay on the soil surface, flowers, leaves, and stem for a long time.

most flowering plants

What are the Disadvantages of 10-10-10 Fertilizers?

Inorganic or synthetic nature

Despite its several benefits, the 10-10-10 fertilizer is technically inorganic or synthetic. In other words, it isn’t natural in the slightest; instead, it is completely man-made using synthetic chemicals. The problem with a majority of the inorganic fertilizers is that they tend to crust on the top layer of the soil instead of soaking deep into the plant roots.

In addition, they serve as a quick fix of nutrients and don’t serve to enrich the soil in the long term. That is why many organic farmers and gardeners choose a different fertilizer altogether.

Over-fertilising is hazardous

If you over-fertilise your lawn or garden with a 10-10-10 fertilizer, you’ll quickly see your plants wilting, burned areas on leaves, and a white, chalky crust on your soil. Nitrogen and phosphorus can harm your plants when used excessively. You should actually use caution when applying an NPK formula to most flower plants.

most flowering plants die after over-fertilizing

How to Apply the 10-10-10 Fertilizer to Your Lawn?

  1. Start by mowing your lawn two to three days before spreading the fertilizer. Make sure you thoroughly water the grass to moisten the soil for a couple of days before applying the fertilizer. Then, allow the grass blades to completely dry.
  2. Position a fertilizer spreader over the driveway, sidewalk, or any other hard surface. Remember to calibrate the spreader appropriately for the release rate. Take one-half of the required amount of the 10-10-10 fertilizer, and pour it into the spreader.
  3. Carry the fertilizer spreader, allowing it to broadcast the fertilizer granules in front of you, and walk back and forth across the garden or lawn slowly in north-south rows. Turn off the spreader as you reach the end of each row to avoid over-fertilising the edges of the lawn. As you start walking forward down the next row, turn on the spreader.
  4. Now, park the fertilizer spreader on the chosen hard surface again. Pour the remaining portion of the fertilizer into the spreader. Start broadcasting the extra fertilizer over your lawn in a similar fashion; this time, you should slowly walk back and forth across the lawn in east-west rows.
  5. After spreading the fertilizer, attach a sprinkler head to your garden hose. You should then position the sprinkler in the middle part of the lawn, ensuring that the water spray reaches the turf’s entire surface. You should water the grass up to 3 inches deep in order to properly settle the fertilizer into your soil. 
inorganic fertilizer

How Often Can You Use the 10-10-10 Fertilizer for Lawn Feeding?

Well, if you’re handling your plants during the warm season, you should probably use the NPK formula about four times a year. You can actually start the process when you notice your grass or plants growing. However, you should remember to dilute the formula a little at this time to ensure that you don’t overdose on the lawn. After that, you can add new doses at one-month intervals.


I hope now you have a clear understanding of the various aspects of the 10-10-10 fertilizer. Let me do a quick recap of the important points:

  • The 10-10-10 formula or NPK formula indicates the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (in percentage) present in the fertilizer.
  • The advantages of the triple-10 formula include its convenience, low price, and resistance against decay and soil erosion. Its disadvantages are its inorganic nature and restricted usage.
  • The 10-10-10 formula is ideal to use as a quick fix for nutrient deficiency in plants.
10 10 10 lawn fertilizer

People Also Ask

Is it fine to use the 10-10-10 formula on fruit trees?

Simply put, you can use the 10-10-10 formula for almost any type of plant as long as it exhibits clear signs of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium deficiency. You’ve got to just remember that you need to use this formula before the plants start budding, that is, during the early spring.

Can you use the 10-10-10 fertilizer on flowering plants?

10-10-10 fertilizer is an all-purpose fertilizer, so it can certainly be used on a majority of flowering plants. However, don’t forget the fact that over-fertilising can easily ruin the plants. The nitrogen and phosphorus content in the 10-10-10 fertilizer is capable of easily destroying flowering plants. So, if you’re not sure of the right quantity to use, you’d better consider other synthetic fertilizer options when it comes to plant growth and other flowering plants.

At what time of the day should you apply the 10-10-10 fertilizer to your lawn?

It’s not a good idea to fertilise your lawn in the middle of the day, because the plants may suffer from chemical burns. The best option is to apply fertilizer in the morning when the weather is usually cool. Also, make sure there is no rain forecast for the day. Morning application not only allows the fertilizer to soak in the soil before it gets too hot but also reduces the risk of it getting washed away.

sunrise fertilizing

What about mixing water with the 10-10-10 fertilizer to make a liquid fertilizer?

The 10-10-10 formula is available in granular form, which is not actually water-soluble. While there are a few methods for breaking down these pellets and converting them into a liquid fertilizer, this often has a negative effect on their potency.

How long does the triple-10 fertilizer last?

The effect of a triple-10 fertilizer lasts for two weeks. This all-purpose fertilizer is a great option for your shrubs, trees, vegetable garden, or flower beds when used appropriately. Its fast-release formula seems to feed the plants for nearly two weeks. During the growing season, it is advisable to reapply the fertilizer every month to provide your plants with the necessary nutrients required for their growth.

What if you use too much 10-10-10 fertilizer in your garden?

While it is normal to overuse the triple-10 fertilizer in the garden, this can damage your plants and the environment. Over-fertilising the garden results in the wilting of plants, the burning of leaves, and the deposition of a salt-like crust on the soil.

dead grass

Is 10-10-10 a slow-release fertilizer?

The 10-10-10 fertilizer contains slow-release nitrogen with several micronutrients that provide your plants with the required balanced nutrition and extended feeding. This fertilizer, which is available in granular form, is often recommended for all kinds of landscapes and use during all seasons.

Is the 10-10-10 fertilizer considered organic?

The 10-10-10 fertilizer is inorganic or synthetic. In other words, it is completely man-made with synthetic chemicals or minerals. 

Can you use 10-10-10 for roses?

The 10-10-10 formula is generally not recommended for roses. You should never fertilise roses with a balanced or high-nitrogen fertilizer. Instead, you can fertilise your roses in August or September using a low-nitrogen mixture, for example, a 2-4-1 mix.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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