Cranberries are adapted to the relative lack of fertility in their native sandy soils. These soils are low in organic matter in the root zone and have relatively little clay, the two soil components that can hold nutrients available to the plants. Though the plant is adapted to low soil fertility, fertilizers are essential because nutrients are taken from the bog through the harvest of fruit. Nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) are the three elements most often added to the bog, since these are the elements removed in the largest quantities when the crop is harvested. Despite the necessity for N-P-K fertilizer in cranberry cultivation, fertilizer use is low in comparison to that in traditional agronomic crops such as corn or soybeans.
Learn more on nutrition in the fact sheet on Fertilizer Use in cranberries.