Chemical Versus Organic Fertilizer


Both organic and chemical fertilizers have their pros and cons. Organic fertilizer users might find organic fertilizers more environmentally friendly, while chemical fertilizer users might find chemical fertilizers to be more reliable.


Organic fertilizer is made out of natural materials such as manure and compost. Chemical fertilizers are manufactured and create nutrients that are beneficial to plant growth.


Nitrogen is necessary for plant growth. However, excessive nitrogen can poison waterways. While the fast-release chemical fertilizers can encourage fast plant growth, they also release excess nitrogen into the water. Organic fertilizer is almost always slow-release.

Nutrient Guarantee

Not all organic fertilizers have nutrient guarantee, such as manures and sludges. Chemical fertilizers guarantee the nutrients found within them.


Organic fertilizers must be broken down by microorganisms and might not work if the soil isn't moist and if the surface temperature is not warm enough. Chemical fertilizers do not need to be broken down.


Organic fertilizer releases 40 percent to 50 percent of its nitrogen content, while chemical fertilizer releases almost all of its nitrogen content.


  • University of California: Fertilizers Versus Soil Amendments
  • University of Arizona: Soil and Fertilizers
  • International Society for Horticultural Science: Characteristics of Organic Fertilizers
Keywords: organic fertilizer, chemical fertilizer, natural materials

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.