How to Use Triple 13 Fertilizer (Detailed Guide)

Triple 13 fertilizer is an all-purpose home fertilizer that supports the growth of almost anything that you can grow, from your lawn, to shrubs, trees, flowers, and vegetables.

Applied in early spring, it will give your plants a quick start, and keep them looking good all through their growing season.

It’s appropriate for use with perennials and annuals alike, and from the smallest grass plant to tall trees.

Once you know how to use it properly, 13-13-13 fertilizer can be one of the most important tools in your gardening arsenal.

What is Triple 13 Fertilizer?

Triple 13 fertilizer is a balanced fertilizer with equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; its N-P-K ratio is 13-13-13.

Nitrogen stimulates chlorophyll production and foliage growth. Meanwhile, phosphorus, or phosphate, fosters strong root development. Finally, potassium, or potash, helps keep water and nutrients moving through the entire plant, and increases its resistance to disease and the extremes of cold and heat.

Combined together in equal amounts, they will ensure overall healthy growth of a wide variety of plants.

However, because phosphorus runoff has become a serious problem in waterways, some states and provinces have banned or limited its use. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to purchase Triple 13 fertilizer.

What is Triple 13 Fertilizer Used For?

Triple 13 fertilizer can be used for almost everything in your home’s landscape. It is a good all-purpose fertilizer for gardens, flowers, shrubs, and trees. It can be used to fertilize a new lawn to establish a strong root system for long-term lush, healthy growth.

Once your lawn is well-established, however, you don’t need as much phosphorus, and you should switch to a fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen and potassium. A good ratio for an older lawn is 4-1-2.

How to Use Triple 13 Fertilizer (Step-by-Step)

Let’s assume that your main use for Triple 13 is for fertilizing your new lawn.

1. Test Your Soil pH

It’s important to work to achieve a neutral soil pH so that the fertilizers you apply will be taken up properly. Soil that is too acidic will not support healthy grass growth.

There are lots of home test kits available for testing your soil pH. The best time to test is in the fall, so that you can apply any soil amendments then and let them work over the winter to raise the soil pH.

Agricultural lime spread at a rate of 50 lb per 1000 sq ft (23 kg per 93 sq m) will raise the pH by 1 point.

2. Fill the Spreader

Use a spreader to evenly apply the granulated fertilizer across the lawn. If you try scattering it by hand, you will end up with too much in one spot, with others getting none.

Measure the required amount of fertilizer into your spreader. You should use 10 to 15 lb per 1000 sq ft (4.6 to 6.8 kg per 93 sq m).

3. Apply the Fertilizer

Walking at a slow, steady pace, go back and forth across your lawn. It’s helpful to start with a header strip at one end, so that you will be able to turn around without going into garden beds or hedges.

When you get back to your header strip, close the chute to prevent too much fertilizer accumulating in that strip. Open it as you head back onto unfertilized turf.

Walk in perfectly straight lines, and use the wheel tracks from your previous pass to make sure you’re not double fertilizing some parts. Heavy doses of fertilizer can burn the roots and kill the grass.

Stay 20 feet away from wells or streams to avoid run-off contaminating the water. As well, if any fertilizer gets on pavement, brush it back onto the lawn.

4. Water the Lawn

If rain is expected you can skip this step, but your lawn should be watered within 24 hours of applying the fertilizer, so that the nutrients can move down through the soil and start feeding the roots.

Once the lawn has been watered, you should keep children and pets off it for 48 to 72 hours.

5. Reapply in 8 Weeks

The slow-release granules will last about 8 weeks, and you should then reapply the fertilizer following steps 2 to 4. You should plan on 4 applications from early spring to late fall for a thick, healthy lawn.

Other 13-13-13 Fertilizer Applications

If you are using 13-13-13 in your vegetable gardens, mix ½ lb (.23 kg) per 25 row feet (7.6 m) at a trowel’s depth. Water the soil deeply before planting out your vegetable plants.

Once plants like peppers and tomatoes have starting blooming and setting fruit, or corn and beans have reached their full height, side-dress with the same amount. Water the soil well following this application.

For flower gardens, apply 1 lb (.22 kg) per 100 feet (30 m) every 12 weeks.

Trees and shrubs should get 1 lb (.22 kg) per 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the trunk’s circumference. Spread it at the drip edge in early spring, and reapply again in the early fall.

When is the Best Time of Year to Apply 13-13-13 Fertilizer?

13-13-13 fertilizer should be applied in early spring, just as the new growing season is starting after winter dormancy, and then periodically throughout the growing season.

How Long Does Triple 13 Fertilizer Last in Soil?

The length of time that Triple 13 fertilizer will last in the soil depends on which type you have used. Quick-release liquid fertilizers need to be reapplied every month, while slow-release granules last for 8 to 10 weeks before you need to re-fertilize.

Spikes last longest of all, and will only need to be applied once in early spring and again in mid-fall.

What Type of Fertilizer is Triple 13 Available In?

The most common form of Triple 13 fertilizer is slow-release granules, as it can be used on a variety of different plants. It’s often spread over a newly-seeded lawn, and can be sprinkled around shrubs and trees, or added to the soil in vegetable or flower beds.

It can also be bought as a liquid concentrate, which is diluted in water and applied using a watering can or sprayer, or with an attachment for your hose that automatically mixes the solution with water. This is best used when you want a quick green-up of your lawn, as the nutrients are immediately available. However, it will need to be reapplied more frequently than granules.

Water-soluble powders act in a similar way to liquid concentrate. You can dissolve them in water or sprinkle them directly on the soil around trees, bushes, and perennials or annuals. With both of these formulations, however, there is the risk of root burn if too much is applied.

13-13-13 spikes come in various sizes; small ones can be pushed into the soil of a potted plant or in the vegetable or flower garden, while big ones will keep even large trees fertilized for months at a time. Obviously they are not suitable for fertilizing your lawn.

Where Can You Buy Triple 13 Fertilizer?GreenView Multi-Purpose Fertilizer, 33 lb Bag - NPK 13-13-13

Depending on local regulations, you can purchase Greenview Triple 13 fertilizer from a variety of online sources, as well as in home and garden stores. You can purchase it here on Amazon, or you can buy it here on HomeDepot.


Final Thoughts

Regular use of fertilizer is an important part of maintaining healthy plants, be they trees, vegetables or flowers, or lawns. Whether your main concern is a thick, green lawn, or a bumper crop of tomatoes, Triple 13 is a good all-purpose fertilizer. I hope my guide has provided you with all the information your need about 13-13-13 fertilizer, thanks for reading in.

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