Nutrients in the soil must be in the proper balance for optimal growth and production of lawn and garden plants. Soil macronutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are needed in high amounts and are essential to the plant life cycle. Other nutrients are needed in trace amounts and include iron, cooper, and zinc.  With best practices, landscapers and growers can make sound decisions on soil management strategies including fertilizer application. It is also important to be mindful of soil pH and the surrounding environment when treating your soil. Obtaining a balanced equilibrium may take years but you can get started by testing your soil at the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory.