This post and the next two posts following this one discuss more detail about the types of fertilizers for your lawn available on the market for consumers. A little shopping in a garden store reveals an abundance of lawn fertilizers. You see labels proclaiming fast acting, slow-release, and so on. But if they all contain the same basic minerals, what is the difference? Here is a description of these products.
Organic fertilizers: a chemist might argue that some manufactured fertilizers are technically organic. Here organic refers to a fertilizer derived from plant or animal waste.
The variety of organic fertilizers is endless. There are manures of all kinds, sewage sludge, blood meals, and seed meals. They all share advantages and disadvantages. In some areas, they may be inexpensive and easy to obtain, yet the reverse is often true. Most have distinctly beneficial soil-building properties,.
Since the action of organic’s is slow, over-fertilizing is usually not a problem. This is the major difference between organic fertilizers and soluble synthetic fertilizers, their nutrients are released slowly. Organic fertilizers are bulkier, heavier, and more difficult to handle than other types of fertilizer. They have a low percentage of nitrogen, so it is necessary to apply a much greater quantity at one time. They may also have an unpleasant smell.
The release of nutrients from organic fertilizers depends on the weather and is, therefore, unpredictable. Soil microbes must digest the organic material to release its nutrients. Because the activity of micros depends on soil temperature, nutrients may not be available in early spring or in late fall when cool-season grasses are growing actively, but be abundant in summer when cool-season grass should not be fertilized heavily.
Our next post will talk about soluble synthetic fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers, water-insoluble nitrogen, complete fertilizers, and fertilizer and pesticide combinations. For more posts about lawn care, fertilizers and much more, click here.