8-8-8 Fertilizer: When and How to Use It

No matter what kind of plants you are growing and for what purpose, if you’re going to take care of them, you have to give them the nutrients they need in order to thrive.

young Amish man plowing the field with 4 horses

This means you’ll need fertilizers to feed your plants directly and to restore nutrients to the soil between plantings.

But every kind of plant has its own needs, and your unique soil requirements will further complicate this seemingly simple task.

That is where different kinds of fertilizer come in, ones with differing levels of nutrients. Picking the right one can be tricky, but I’m here to simplify that task.

Today we’ll be looking at 8-8-8, commonly referred to as triple 8. This is a superb, mild, general-purpose fertilizer. Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know…

What Does 8-8-8 Fertilizer Mean?

When you look at a bag of 8-8-8, or any other fertilizer, you might have wondered what those numbers mean.

Simply enough, that is informing you about the ratio of primary nutrients in the fertilizer formula, expressed as percentages.

So for 8-8-8 we know that it has 8% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus and 8% potassium, a lineup that is typically referred to as NPK for the atomic symbol of each element.

Knowing that, you can more easily make sense of various fertilizer offerings on the market.

8-8-8 Fertilizer Benefits

Because 8-8-8 has a balanced ratio and relatively low amounts of each of the major nutrients that plants need, this makes it a truly tremendous all-purpose fertilizer.

It’s likely one that you’ll reach for time and time again whenever you need to give your plants a little shot of nutrients or help them prepare for harsh conditions. It also works wonders to replenish soil generally.

Triple 8 will help all facets of a plant’s growth, from leaves and stems to flowers and fruits, and it will even improve overall root health and reach.

You really can’t go wrong with triple 8 for any plant that’s in pretty good shape so long as you don’t give it too much of.

What Are the Ingredients in 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

As described above, 8-8-8 contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in equal amounts, but besides these primary nutrients, you’ll also find trace elements like magnesium, iron, and more, along with other add-ins depending on the manufacturer, things like soil conditioners, and so forth.

Triple 8 is an extremely common formulation that is made by many manufacturers, so if you have special requirements for your plants or soil make sure you double-check the ingredients list to see what all is included.

How Should You Apply 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

8-8-8 comes in many different forms, including granules, solid pellets, and liquid. You should apply it based on the package instructions for your fertilizer, because they can all be a little bit different.

Also, precisely how much you apply depends on the device you’re using to apply it, so make sure you’re familiar with it because, if you put too much, it could potentially harm your plants.

When in doubt, set all broadcaster settings or apertures to no more than one-third of full open. If you are diluting liquid, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What Plants Benefit From 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

8-8-8 is a wonderful choice for pretty much every plant there is, assuming it’s not suffering from a pronounced nutritional imbalance.

Triple 8 can help young plants get established quickly and grow fast and strong.

It works wonderfully on lawns, too, as a general fertilizer, and is a perennially good choice in your garden for all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

Because it’s so mild, it’s definitely one to reach for for herbs and other sensitive plants.

Also, if you are unsure of exactly what your plants need 8-8-8 is one of the best choices because it covers all of your bases and isn’t so strong that it risks serious harm as long as you pay attention to what you are doing.

In this way, it works as sort of a “band-aid” to give an ailing plant a little bit of nutrition until you can figure out precisely what’s wrong.

Is 8-8-8 Good for Gardens?

Yes, very good. 8-8-8 is great for all kinds of plants; highly versatile, mild and dependable.

It’s one you will reach for over and over again in your own garden, especially if you are pretty good about keeping soil levels relatively balanced. Flowers, fruits, veggies and herbs, triple 8 can take care of it all.

Is 8-8-8 Good for Trees?

Yes, generally, although it might be a little bit weak to give it some trees enough of everything they need unless you are going to use tons of the stuff.

Is 8-8-8 Fertilizer Good for Your Lawn?

Yes, 8-8-8 is a great choice for your lawn. It’s a go-to choice for all kinds of grasses and cold season grasses in particular.

But as with all fertilizers and particularly ones with nitrogen, make sure you apply it sparingly to see how your lawn reacts. It is possible to overdo it, despite how mild it is compared to others, and crisp your grass!

Is 8-8-8 Good for Your Houseplants?

Yes, it is. 8-8-8 is one of the very best all-purpose fertilizers and is particularly mild compared to most others.

This makes it a good choice for houseplants that need general nutrition.

How And When Should You Use 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

You can use 8-8-8 anytime your plants need a little boost of balanced nutrition. For established plants that are starting to struggle or slow down a little bit, or new plants that need to get off on the right foot.

Also, use it with confidence anytime you just aren’t sure exactly what a plant needs.

At the beginning of the season and every 3 months thereafter, use a little bit of 8-8-8 to keep your plants going strong all year.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Apply 8-8-8?

You should apply your 8-8-8 early in the morning or late in the evening, and never during the middle of the day.

Even though it is mild, the nitrogen in your 888 in conjunction with high temperatures and direct UV can potentially result in scorching of your plants.

If your plants are in shade during the hottest part of the day, or you’ve got an overcast day for fertilizing, you can use it cautiously in the middle part of the day.

And as detailed above, you should always follow the package instructions for your 8-8-8 when it comes to the method of application.

How Much 8-8-8 Fertilizer Do You Need per Acre?

A good rule of thumb for 8-8-8 per acre is about 1 pound per 1000 square feet for general purpose use, lawns and gardens.

But, I highly recommend that you perform whatever soil tests are required to zero in precisely on what the soil is lacking and what your plants will need.

If you have any concerns, back off on the amount of fertilizer you use as too much can be harmful, even when using something as mild as triple 8.

Who Makes the Best 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

Purely Organic Products makes a tremendously good 8-8-8 fertilizer that they call Triple Play. It is a long-running favorite for tomatoes and other garden veggies.

Where Can You Find 8-8-8 Fertilizer?

Pretty much everywhere. This is one of the most ubiquitous and most commonly used fertilizers there is, and I mean absolutely everybody that takes care of plants has a use for this stuff.

You can find it at home improvement centers, garden stores, farm stores, online, and almost everywhere else.

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