Lawn Fertilizer & Ammonium Nitrate


Nitrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the atmosphere and, in the right forms, can be the wake-up call your lawn needs. Ammonium nitrate is a concentrated form of nitrogen that can be combined with other chemicals in lawn fertilizer and is also sold by itself. Applying ammonium nitrate either by itself or in a combination fertilizer will help you get the most out of your yard this season.


  • Ammonium nitrate is a concentrated form of nitrogen that is readily usable by plants. This form of nitrogen features an average concentration of 34 percent. Plants use nitrogen to grow, and a deficiency can result in poor growth and discoloration.


  • Most lawn fertilizers are combination fertilizers that either contain more than one active ingredient or feature a combination of elements as an active ingredient. Commonly, ammonium nitrate is coupled with urea to form a liquid lawn fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate can also be paired with calcium, which can correct some lawn deficiencies better than if ammonium nitrate is used alone.


  • Using a chart like the one at (see Resources), you can search for the type of turf grass you have to determine how much ammonium nitrate (and other nutrients) your yard requires. Once you know how many pounds of nitrogen you need, apply a lawn fertilizer with ammonium nitrate accordingly. For example, if your fertilizer contains 34 percent nitrogen, divide 100 by 34 to get 2.94, which is the actual amount of fertilizer you have to apply per 1,000 square feet to get an actual rate of 1 lb. per application.

Prevent Over-Application Burn

  • As with any fertilizer, lawn fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate have the potential to burn your yard. To combat this, apply fertilizer on a cool day and water it in properly. Also, if your yard is stressed by heat or lack of water, wait to apply until it begins to recover to avoid any additional stress the fertilizer might cause.


  • Ammonium nitrate is highly explosive in its raw form. In fact, ammonium nitrate has been listed as a chemical that has been used by terrorists in the past to make bombs. If you are storing ammonium nitrate on a farm, for example, make sure that your store tanks are protected from physical damage, heat and pressure. Additionally, because ammonium nitrate is highly explosive, some states (Texas, for example) makes it difficult to purchase, especially in large quantities.

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