As many human beings desire good food and nutrients to provide us with strength, which increases our productivity, plants need nutrients. Fertilizers can supply these nutrients. A baby or a toddler deprived of food and essential nutrients will suffer some deficiencies; the child may start to look very sickly and appear weak. Similarly, when a plant is deprived of its nutrients, there will be little to no productivity from that plant. This goes to show that as much as humans need food, plants need their fertilizers.
Fertilizers can be natural or artificial substances containing the chemical elements that improve growth and productiveness of plants. They help enhance the soil’s natural fertility or replace the chemical elements taken from the soil by other crops. What we mean by natural substances is animal manure, crop residues and slurries. Animal manures and slurries cover a wide range of nutrient sources with different physical properties and nutrient contents. Furthermore, their nutrient content varies regionally and depends on livestock and the farm management system. The artificial substances include Organo-mineral fertilizer, mineral fertilizer including inhibitors, liming material, growing media, plant biostimulants etc.
The importance of fertilizers cannot be overemphasized. They play an essential role in providing plants with the nutrients they need to grow and produce nutritious food for all. The manure from animals can be used as fertilizers that help plants grow and invariably have food that man and animals can eat. Manure is produced again by said animals, and thus the cycle continues. In this way, we are all beneficiaries to the relevance fertilizers pose on plants. A class of fertilizers called micronutrient fertilizers is engineered to enrich crops with vital nutrients that help support human health. For example, micronutrients such as zinc are essential to human nutrition, especially children.
As much as fertilizers are essential and necessary for plant growth, it is even more important to get suitable fertilizers for the right plants. This is especially with regards to artificial substances. The wrong fertilizers given to plants may do more harm than good, in that regard it is relevant we talk about what kind of fertilizers would be helpful to the different types of plants.
Best Fertilizer for Green Grass
Many fertilizers can be used to keep your green grass green and look rich. These fertilizers help prevent the dead, yellowed or sparse grass from growing amongst the green grass. Some of them are: Scotts green max fertilizer, Miracle-Gro lawn food, safer brand 933 ringer fertilizers, Milorganite 0636 fertilizer and Scott’s turf builder. In choosing These fertilizers, it is essential to consider your budget, the grass needs and your level of commitment in taking care of the grass.
SCOTTS GREEN MAX FERTILIZER
The effect of this type of fertilizer is felt just three days after its application. This shows that it is effective, quick and easy on grass. Green Max will provide your grass with a boost of iron that will make it greener and make it thicker and more vital. It can help promote grass growth while simultaneously weeding out weeds.
MIRACLE-GRO LAWN FOOD
This is one of the most popular lawn fertilizers for a reason. It’s an easy-to-use and long-lasting product that is formulated with the right nutrients to help your lawn’s health. The dispenser that comes with the product makes it easy to apply the fertilizer evenly across your whole yard. The amount of product you get alongside the price makes this product cost-effective and affordable. However, over-application can cause damage, but the directions and the dispenser make it easy to apply the proper amount.
SAFER BRAND 933 RINGER FERTILIZERS
Safer Brand fertilizer is a unique product because it contains no phosphorus. Most fertilizers do contain phosphorus, which is a nutrient that can help roots develop and grass grow. The lack of phosphorus does not, however, reduce this fertilizer’s effectiveness. Potassium and other plant-based nutrients give your lawn the same growth and health benefits of various fertilizers. This fertilizer also works well in gardens.
MILORGANITE 0636 FERTILIZER
This type of fertilizer is safe for both children and pets to walk on after application. This fertilizer uses nitrogen and microbes to promote growth and provide nutrients to the soil. The smell of this product can also help keep pests like rabbits and deer away from your yard. The downside is that you will also have to perceive the odour that keeps other animals out.
As stated earlier, the best type of fertilizer would depend on your soil type and budget and your level of dedication in applying these fertilizers. Having weighed the pros and cons of these fertilizers, I would say that the best type for green grass is Scott Green Max Fertilizer, which makes your grass greener by providing irons and eradicating weeds, i.e. unwanted plants.
SCOTTS TURF BUILDER FERTILIZER
Lastly, there is another Scotts brand product. This helps to thicken grass to help crowd out new weeds.
It is also penny-wise, phosphorus-free fertilizer that provides your fresh grass with the nutrients it needs to build strong roots. It can also help lawns survive through droughts or dry seasons.
This product can be used on many grass types, and it helps to have a perfect lawn without putting too much effort.
These are some of the best lawn fertilizers you can get. They’re all efficient, whichever one you choose will depend on your budget, your yard’s needs, your level of commitment and how willing you’re to care for your lawn.
How To Apply Fertilizers To Your Lawn
There are two different ways to apply fertilizers to the lawn; either by grains or liquid applications. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Liquid fertilizer is diluted in water and spread over your lawn with a liquid fertilizer applicator. These types of fertilizers work faster and give visible results within a few weeks. Liquid fertilizers are mostly cheaper to purchase than granular fertilizers although, they both work very well. A few disadvantages of liquid fertilizers include;
• Higher chance of leaching when applied in high doses.
• They require more applications than granular.
• There is a greater chance of damaging your lawn with too much fertilizer.
Granular fertilizers are applied using a rotary spreader. These fertilizers take longer to show than liquid fertilizers but do not have to be applied frequently. There is a lesser chance of fertilizer leaching out of the soil and, because of its time-release formula, less of a chance that you will damage your lawn by using too much fertilizer.
These fertilizers are more expensive than liquid fertilizers, but the margin of error they offer homeowners makes up for the higher cost.
When Should I Fertilize Your Lawn?
This depends on the amount of time and money you want to spend on your lawn. Purdue University’s Department of Agronomy recommends light fertilization in spring and early summer and a heavy fall application.
A Few Tips For Applying Fertilizers
• Amounts: Most lawns require somewhere between four and six fertilizer applications annually, depending on the fertilizer, grass type and soil. Cool-season grasses generally require a minimum of four applications while warm-season grasses usually require monthly applications to sustain growth.
• Timing: Warm-season grasses need one last application to carry their colour and growth throughout the fall. Cool-season grasses rely on this application to develop root systems and store nutrients for the growing season ahead. Cool-season fertilization is more important than warm-season fertilization.
• Weed control opportunities: Fertilizing provides a chance to apply some weed control. In the cool-season, fertilizers can be joined with pesticides to kill weed seedlings. In the warm-season, when combined with a pesticide, fertilizing can keep weeds under control.
• Know your numbers. Three prominent numbers on a fertilizer bag, for example; (10-10-10 or 20-10-5) represent the amount in percentage by weight of the three primary nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and Potassium. A soil test can determine the amount of phosphorus and potassium your lawn needs. Soil tests do not determine nitrogen levels as they fluctuate rapidly in the soil to have any practical meaning.
Organic vs Non-organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers need biological action in the soil for the nutrients to become available to plants, making them a relatively slow-working type of fertilizer. Non-organic fertilizers, also called conventional fertilizers, may be triggered to become known by water, temperature or another mechanism.
They run the gamut from immediate to slow release. It is, either way, it is important to follow the application instructions and avoid damaging your plants or wasting fertilizer.
The Role Of PH
Soil acidity is a consideration that is extremely important to fertilization. All plants have their soil pH range preferences. Some plants have a low pH range while others require a balanced pH, and some like an alkaline situation (high pH). Within that range, they use nutrients to their full benefit. Outside that range, it is extremely difficult for them to get what they need, even if it’s already in the soil. The most commonly used products that affect soil pH are lime (to raise pH), sulfur and aluminium sulfate (lower pH).
A good example is the lawns in the neighbourhood: the soil is acidic (pH 5- 5.5), but most lawn grasses need a higher pH (6-6.5). Homeowners who do not address the pH are destined to have yellow-green grass no matter how much they fertilize. As soon as they add lime to raise the ph, the grass turns deep green without adding fertilizer.
How to know what type of fertilizer you need is by taking a soil test. Soil test results give the most reliable information regarding your existing soil fertility. This can be done by obtaining a soil sample with a soil sampling kit, run the model, and the results on the current condition as well as recommendations for fertilizer and pH adjustments that are needed will be received. If you are unsure how to proceed upon getting results, a local master gardener will be glad to assist you for no charge.
In recent years, fertilizers have gotten a bad reputation in some places, because of the misuse and misunderstanding. Seeking to understand the available options will give you the knowledge to make good buying decisions for your soil or grass.
Every fertilizer product will include a “guaranteed analysis” depicted as three hyphenated numbers (10-10-10, 14-7-7, 34-0-0). These numbers represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous and Potassium, or N-P-K, in the container. In some cases, there are other nutrients that make up smaller percentages, and in nearly all cases there will be inert ingredients that help to carry, bond or otherwise make the fertilizer work the way it is supposed to. The percentages of N-P-K in the package are significant because each of these nutrients plays a unique role for the plant. Nitrogen is used to create lush leafy growth; Phosphorous is used to produce roots and fruits, and Potassium builds strong stems, resistance to pests and overall vigour. The amount of each nutrient required by a plant will depend on a broad range of variables, including nutrient levels that already exist in the soil.
Overall, Fertilizers replace the nutrients that crops remove from the soil. Despite the apparent success of current agricultural production systems, overuse of fertilizers has led to severe environmental problems and increasing health concerns.
Ecological and human health concerns associated with fertilizer overapplications are the result of two main issues:
• the disruption of the natural N and phosphorus nutrient cycles because of the massive infusion of N and phosphorus (P) fertilizers
• the inadvertent release of heavy metals and radionuclides from mineral fertilizers and pathogens, veterinary pharmaceuticals, and endocrine disrupters from organic fertilizers.
So we’ve come to the end of fertilizers. What a great experience!