It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the fertilizer choices available, so we’re going to break it down for you. The three major types of organic fertilizer are dry, liquid, and growth enhancers. Dry fertilizers are either a single ingredient or a blend of ingredients, both designed to feed plants over a long period of time. Liquid fertilizers are nutrients in liquid form and are swiftly absorbed by the soil and plants. Growth enhancers aren’t necessarily fertilizers, but they help plants absorb nutrients from the soil more efficiently.
Organic Fertilizer: The Breakdown
Like individuals, every lawn or garden is unique. Whether you’re growing plants, vegetables, or just grass, one thing they all have in common is the need for fertilizer. Fertilizers are added to soil to supply essential nutrients and enhance plant growth. While all living things need an appropriate blend of numerous nutrients, the three components most important to have in fertilizer are:
- Nitrogen: develops nutrients to fuel new growth
- Phosphorus: promotes good root growth and blooms
- Potassium: builds protein and immunity to disease
When you’re looking at fertilizers, you’ll notice each bag has a different three number code printed on the front label. This code is a breakdown of the amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) contained in the fertilizer. They are always labeled in this order, so just remember the acronym NPK.
Fertilizers are labeled this way because different plants and vegetables need different amounts of NPK to flourish. Usually, the fertilizer bag will also tell you which organism it’s best suited for. If you look at the nutrition label, you’ll notice that fertilizers also contain other elements like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. These are extra ingredients that provide further support and stability to plant life. If you’re unsure about which fertilizer is best suited for your particular plant, call Go Green Lawn Services, your local neighborhood lawn service that serves Newtown, PA, and other areas, at (610) 285-7947.
Which fertilizer type should you buy?
Before you even begin thinking of fertilizer, you need to conduct a soil test. Soil testing kits are often inexpensive and reveal which nutrients are plentiful and which ones are lacking. That way, you know exactly what nutrients you need to have a flourishing garden.
Dry fertilizers are often made up of kelp, rock phosphate, or a blend of many natural ingredients. Blends are generally formulated to provide a balanced amount of essential nutrients, promoting healthy soil and plant growth. The most significant advantage of using a dry fertilizer is that it disperses said nutrients over a long period of time. This type of fertilizer is usually best suited for lawns suffering from dry weather because it will burn slowly. The best way to apply dry fertilizer is by dispersing it in the top 4-6 inches of soil.
Liquid fertilizers are a blend of essential nutrients that can give plants a quick boost. Due to its fluid nature, this type of fertilizer is absorbed quickly by the soil and can even be fed to the plants directly. Unlike dry fertilizer, liquid fertilizer requires regular application because it is used up so quickly. Administering this agent during growing season gives fast-growing plants an extra boost that you can quickly see. However, prolonged usage of liquid fertilizer could strip the soil of essential nutrients if not applying often enough.
If your plants aren’t getting enough nutrients from the soil, you can use growth enhancers! Growth enhancers do exactly what they advertise: they enhance growth by helping plants absorb nutrients in the soil more efficiently. This shouldn’t be used instead of fertilizer, but in addition to it.
Which fertilizer is best for your lawn or garden depends on what your gardening goals are. Always start with a soil test to determine the consistency of your soil, then take it from there. If you don’t know what your next steps should be, don’t worry! Go Green Lawn Services can provide a full, custom service to your lawn – from the soil test to the core aeration service, right in Wilmington, DE. Browse our website to learn more!