Fertilizers enhance the nutritional properties of soil by supplementing it with elements that are necessary for plant growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three main ingredients of common fertilizer. These three elements are the building blocks of plant nutrition. Other essential mineral elements are also present in fertilizers in smaller quantities. Fertilizer is essential for lawns, which are made up of thousands of small grass plants grouped together. Plants are regularly fed with fertilizer, but lawns are often overlooked. Grass needs nutrients from fertilizer to grow well and maintain a healthy green color.
Granular Lawn Fertilizers
Granular lawn fertilizers are sold in dry bags. Their form makes them the easiest type of fertilizer to use. Granular fertilizers come in slow-release or quick-release formulas. This type of fertilizer can also be stored for a long time, and its efficacy also lasts for a long time after application. Slow-release granular fertilizers depend on heat and water to work properly. Granular lawn fertilizers can release nutrients for anywhere between two and six months. Quick-release granular fertilizers act more instantaneously and react best with the application of cold water.
Liquid fertilizers are sold as concentrated liquids. These fertilizers are applied by spraying. Some liquid fertilizers may be applied as is, but the majority should be diluted with water before application. Liquid fertilizers can be applied with a hose, making them very convenient. These are quick-release fertilizers and affect roots and leaves almost immediately after application. But the effects also wear off quickly, and the fertilizer needs to be reapplied periodically. This, and the fact that liquid fertilizers tend to be more expensive, makes them somewhat cost-prohibitive.
Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured chemically. They act very quickly by penetrating the soil immediately upon application. Similar to liquid fertilizers, the effects of synthetic fertilizers tend to be short lived, and they need to be applied frequently. Synthetic fertilizer can also burn the lawn if applied inappropriately, so proper care must be taken in their administration.
Organic fertilizers contain organic compounds. Many natural elements contribute to the formation of organic fertilizers, including both animal and plant matter. Examples are animal manure, rotten produce, bone meal and other decomposing matter. Any natural substance that can decompose is a rich candidate for organic fertilizers. These fertilizers tend to be slow-release, as they decompose naturally and release nutrients over a long period of time. They also help improve the texture of lawns. The downside is that they emanate a foul smell from the decaying and decomposing matter.