When to Use 0-0-60 Fertilizer | How to Use It

As climate changes progress, commercial crop farmers, as well as home gardeners, are experiencing its effects. Thus far, these have included more severe winters and extended periods of drought throughout the growing season. 

In nature, plants are equipped with the ability to adapt to broad changes in their environments in order to survive and continue thriving. What fuels this adaptation is potassium. A 0-0-60 fertilizer can ensure this for plants growing in potassium-deficient soil.

Understanding 0-0-60 Fertilizer Label? 

Potassium is critical to the distribution and metabolism of photosynthesized plant food. It also stimulates root growth and improves drought resistance by aiding in moisture conservation when temperatures increase.  

But, it’s important to remember that all plants need access to more than just potassium to remain healthy. Organic options, like bone meal, offer up to 15% potassium, in addition to ample amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. A 0-0-60 fertilizer is intended to supply potassium only, as indicated by the third number in the NPK ratio.

N-P-K Ratio 

Most fertilizers display a three-number formula indicating their nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content. A 0-0-60 NPK means 0% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus and 60% potassium. 

Every plant requires these three elements in order to thrive. Just in different proportions or NPK ratios. High potassium fertilizer is easy to recognize by the higher 3rd number and is only used in specific scenarios in which potassium is sparse. 

Nitrogen 

Nitrogen focuses on healthy foliage growth, by fueling the production of chlorophyll. While giving plants their green color, chlorophyll ensures that captured energy converts starches and carbohydrates into food. 

Nitrogen also fuels proteins and enzymes that regulate water and nutrient uptake. High-nitrogen fertilizers are typically formulated for non-flowering plants. 

Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is critical to photosynthesis. Triggering proteins and enzymes that convert starches and carbohydrates into food, utilizing captured energy.

It also supports bud production on flowering plants, as well as robust root systems. While simultaneously forming the same proteins and enzymes that nitrogen uses to regulate water and nutrients. 

Potassium 

Potassium circulates water, nutrients, and photosynthesized food throughout plants. It also activates those phosphorus and nitrogen-built proteins and enzymes, promoting a healthy lawn. 

Potassium increases disease and environmental stress resistance by helping plants conserve moisture. And is especially effective in encouraging a lawn’s tolerance for cold winters while dormant. 

Testing Soil 

If you’re applying sufficient potassium and your plants are still not responding, or to determine if a 0-0-60 fertilizer is actually needed, soil tests are convenient to use and can measure overall nutrient availability and pH levels.

Digital testing kits – tests for current pH levels and available amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium within the soil.

Chemical testing kits – measure nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, as well as soil pH. 

What is High Potassium Fertilizer Used For? 

The primary purpose of high potassium fertilizer is to increase tolerance, in crops and ornamentals, in extreme weather events. Be they severe drought or plummeting winter temperatures. 

Potassium expedites this by turning the dial way up on circulation efficiency when it comes to other nutrients and water. This helps to ensure continued growth and the proper formation of fruit, vegetables, grains, and seeds.

Under normal circumstances, annual and perennial flowering plants need a bit more phosphorus and potassium to produce abundant blooms. This dynamic duo also protects against blossom drop and bottom-rot. 

Vegetable Crops 

All edible crops require potassium for optimal plant growth, enzyme activation, glucose and calcium metabolism, and of course, photosynthesis processes.

Typically, flowering crops like tomatoes, squash, and melons require more potassium, as opposed to leafy vegetables, once buds are set. The addition of potassium will support phosphorus in its efforts to steer energy toward large and well-formed crops. 

Potassium not only effectively circulates water around vegetable crops but assists in conserving it when high temperatures are detected. 

Flowering Plants 

Potassium doesn’t directly influence flower production the way phosphorus does. But it creates an environment full of hydrating moisture and healthful nutrients to support that process.

Without potassium, phosphorus wouldn’t be able to generate flowers, or a bountiful harvest, at all. In flowering veg and fruit plants, potassium’s efforts also lead to sweeter, juicer berries, melons, and stone fruits. As well as beautifully formed, nutritious vegetables that may have a longer shelf life. 

Nutrient Deficiency 

The most common symptom of potassium deficiency is chlorosis, a yellowing of leaves, or browning and curling of leaf tips. In some plants, green foliage may take on a purple-ish hue. 

Stunted plant growth and substantially reduced the development of fruit and seeds. are most common in potatoes, tomatoes, apples, currents, and many berry varieties.

In commercial agriculture, an undetected potassium deficiency could result in lower yields and fewer options at the supermarket. 

Lawn and Grass 

Lawns and wild grasses utilize potassium for effective water and nutrient uptake. It also helps construct thick cell walls in grass blades. Creating a turf that’s resistant to environmental stresses and wear-and-tear. 

Too much potassium on these, however, may end up blocking access to much-needed nitrogen. 

Trees and Shrubs 

Evergreen and flowering trees and shrubs utilize a moderate amount of potassium to maintain a healthy and consistent flow of water and nutrients throughout their structures. Especially in extreme weather.

The only time such high amounts of potassium would be necessary for these is if they’re being planted in severely nutrient-deficient soil. 

Houseplants 

Houseplants and trees need potassium to form strong roots and healthy foliage. But would be overwhelmed by a 0-0-60 NPK. Just as with outdoor plants, too much can cause irreparable damage. 

To achieve well-balanced support, a 10-10-10 fertilizer will be more effective in providing adequate nutrients for healthy growth. 

0-0-60 Fertilizer Types 

Different forms of fertilizer offer flexible options for specific application methods:

  • Quick Release – these liquids typically come with potassium content between 25-62% and offer rapid plant improvement.
  • Slow Release – Concentrated granules are more common, with up to 62% potassium, and slowly improve nutrient and moisture absorption over time. 
  • Organic – Potash, a potassium-rich salt, is mined from evaporated seabed deposits. This form can nourish plants and improve soil quality and fertility.
  • Inorganic – Once potash is processed and amended to increase potency and speed of results, the final product is no longer considered ‘organic’ and can also potentially contaminate the soil.  

Liquid Fertilizer Spray 

Muriate of Potash comes in a pre-mixed, liquid option that delivers high doses of potassium. This form is typically used to stimulate root systems through the soil or directly through blades/leaves of lawns and oversized trees and shrubs. As it may be too strong for smaller plants. 

Slow-Release Granules 

Slow-releasing fertilizer granules, containing potassium sulfate, are easy to use and can provide consistent nourishment for up to nine months. With the first results showing in just a few weeks. 

Potassium is released from each granule as warming temperatures slowly melt their coating away. Providing a slow and consistent method of fertilizing. 

Water Soluble Powder 

Muriate of potash and potassium sulfate both come in water-soluble powder form that can be tilled directly into the soil or diluted as a “tea”. 

While one of the most economical options, 0-0-60 powders are better suited for larger applications such as in orchards or on farms. 

Fertilizer Spikes 

0-0-60 fertilizer comes in large, spike form for vastly increasing potassium around large trees and palms. The soil around these tends to be compacted, making it difficult to push spikes in. 

In this case, they can be broken up and evenly distributed around. Providing the same convenient nutrient flow, but without frustration. 

How and When to Use 0-0-60 

Given the high percentage of potassium (and nothing else), a 0-0-60 fertilizer should only be applied in very specific home-growing scenarios. When planting saplings in potassium-deficient soil, a handful of granular potash in the hole will encourage new roots, healthy growth, and protection against the elements. 

In new garden beds, work granules or powder into the top few inches of soil. Or water with a liquid option, just until soil fertility increases. 

Working in a small amount, just as vegetable buds set, will promote an abundant harvest. Scattered potash, prior to a good watering, will stimulate lawn roots to form a robust, green turf. 

0-0-60 Fertilizer Application Rate 

Application rates will depend on plant type. Using a push spreader, distribute 50lbs per 1000 sq ft. of granules across lawns. 

For ornamental beds, trees, and shrubs,1/2 lb per 100 sq. ft. For vegetable beds, 1/2 lb. for 100 ft. row of the crop. 

Can You Use Too Much 0-0-60 Fertilizer? 

A 0-0-60 fertilizer is an effective option for increasing the potassium levels around plants that require it. The downside is that it can easily be overused, leading to detrimental effects on your plants. As well as causing potential irritation and allergic reactions with skin exposure. 

0-0-60 Fertilizer FAQs