Are you looking to fertilize your lawn this spring to help it grow luscious and green? With so many different brands of fertilizers out there, it can be challenging to know which one is best for your lawn. Narrow down the search by choosing to use an organic fertilizer or a chemical fertilizer. This guide will give you the information you need to help you make the decision that is best for your lawn.
What is an Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizers are materials received from byproducts of natural organisms. These organisms contain essential nutrients for plant growth. Examples of these fertilizers include materials such as fish emulsion, manure and sewage sludge, blood meal, etc. Organic fertilizers are naturally prepared, and you can find them at your local store.
Advantages of Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers break down and release nutrients over time due to natural microorganisms in your soil under normal seasonal conditions. Some people argue that the gradual release of nutrients in an organic fertilizer is a disadvantage because that release isn’t as predictable as synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers provide valuable micronutrients and aid in soil health adding water-holding capacity of the soil, stimulating microbial activity, and improving the structure of your soil.
They’re also natural, environmentally friendly, and safe for children and animals.
Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers
The greatest disadvantage of organic fertilizer is its inability to equally distribute nutrients. The nutrients per weight of chemical fertilizers are higher than organic. In other words, it takes more pounds of organic fertilizer to provide equal nutrient levels to a single pound of chemical fertilizer. Compared to synthetic or chemical fertilizers, nutrients are not as readily available. This is because when organic materials such as manure or compost are applied to the soil, the matter has to be broken down by microorganisms to release nutrients into the soil. This allows the grassroots to absorb the nutrients.
The issue is that not all soil has a healthy amount of microbial activity. Therefore rendering the breakdown of the organic compound unpredictable and dependent on existing microbial activity in the soil.
What is a Chemical Fertilizer
Chemical fertilizers are inorganic granules and liquids made from synthetic compounds. Chemical fertilizers include Ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, ammonium nitrate, urea, ammonium chloride, etc. These are artificially prepared and manufactured from synthetic materials. Synthetic fertilizers contain essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen just like organic fertilizers. The difference between them is that synthetic has a higher concentration of those nutrients.
Advantages of Chemical Fertilizers
Many folks favor chemical fertilizers because they are reliable and predictable. They contain a balance of a lawn’s three essential nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (just like organic), and can be custom-made to fit most lawn’s soil requirements. Unlike organic fertilizers, chemical fertilizers have both immediate and slow-release brands. Slow-release fertilizers are similar to organic fertilizers but don’t require microbial activity to break down. This gives the customer the option to decide if their lawn needs a rapid or more gradual release of nutrients.
Disadvantages of Chemical Fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers contain high levels of acid. The acidity of this fertilizer can affect the soil pH and the micro-organisms living in the soil if not monitored or planned for correctly.
Cost of Organic Fertilizers vs Chemical Fertilizers
As many farmers do, you can make your own organic fertilizers. However, you are exchanging time and labor instead of money. Organic fertilizers tend to be more expensive than chemical fertilizers due to an unrefined manufacturing process and the need for more organic fertilizers to compensate for the effectiveness of chemical products.
Which is Better?
The debate of chemical vs. organic is never-ending. It depends on what goals you’ve set for your lawn for lawn fertilizer. If you are looking to be environmentally conscious or want the assurance that your dogs and kids are safe playing in your yard, you should consider an organic fertilizer. If your goal is to have your grass grow quicker and remain cost-effective, chemical fertilizers may be the best choice for your lawn.
If you are still having trouble deciding or would like to set up a professional fertilization service for your lawn, contact us at Stork Landscaping. Our professionals use a custom five-step fertilization process to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive throughout the seasons. Visit our fertilization page for more information.