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Organic vs. Synthetic fertilizer: When to Choose Each?

Plants need nutrients to grow and be healthy. They get these nutrients mostly from the soil. Hence, the soil has to contain all the essential nutrients in ample amounts to serve plants’ needs. That said, soil characteristics aren’t the same everywhere. Some places might have potassium rich soil while the neighboring regions might be deficient of it. Fertilizers help tackle this issue.

Fertilizers have three main components – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), collectively known as NPK. These three elements are necessary to ensure proper growth and development of any flora, grass included. Good results have been observed when fertilized rich in these three elements have been applied for Bermuda grass care.

When going for fertilizers, one question you might be torn between organic and synthetic fertilizer. Although both do the same job, i.e. provide nutrients to the plants via soil, they differ in their characteristics and sources. Let’s look into it.

Organic fertilizer : What is it actually?

organic vs inorganic fertilizer for lawnLike the name denotes, organic fertilizers are derived from natural or living matter. It can be made from plants and animal waste or by-products. Because of this, organic fertilizer feels very soil friendly. Also, they have a natural slow release mechanism, which means nutrients get utilized when needed without the risk of burns.

There are two types of organic fertilizer: plant-based and waste-based.

Plant-based fertilizer

plant based fertilizerPlant-based organic fertilizers are made from plants. The ingredients for the fertilizer are sourced directly from plants and processed into manufacturing of the fertilizer. Because there’s some choice in what goes into the product (constituents), you can prepare plant-based organic fertilizers in various ratios according to the requirements and demands.

Waste-based fertilizerwaste based fertilizer image

Waste-based organic fertilizers are made from the wastes of animals and plants. Unlike their plant-based counterparts, the only source for waste-based fertilizer is the waste from living beings. This aspect is somewhat of a drawback, mainly because you cannot control individual elements that make the fertilizer. Where in plant-based fertilizer you could refine the ratios, you do not have that luxury of customizing nutrient ratios in wasted-based fertilizers. The fertilizers are most likely to contain the same nutrient ratios as of their sources, i.e. the waste from which they are derived.

Organic fertilizers are an option if you want to be more environmentally friendly.

What is Synthetic fertilizer

Synthetic fertilizers are strictly human-made. They are composed of various chemicals and minerals. Companies rely on numerous chemicals which are mixed in variable proportions to manufacture fertilizer that favors different soil types. This variable element ratio is an undeniable strength of synthetic fertilizers. With the help of synthetic fertilizers, for example, you can selectively replenish the depleted nitrogen or potassium levels without providing additional phosphorus for the nitrogen-potassium deficient soil. Because one can afford to select the individual elements that go into the product, synthetic fertilizers make sense to professional lawn-keepers with specific needs. But that does not mean it is not for consumers. It is just the fact that synthetic fertilizers tend to custom needs better than organic products.

The verdict : Organic vs. Synthetic fertilizer

There’s no clear winner in this regard. It is more about your choice, what do you prefer.

Some prefer slow release options while the rest might prefer quick release ones. Some might have an environment-friendly mindset, and hence, opt for organic fertilizers. Some will have specific needs that would not be fulfilled by general options in the market, therefore, go for customized synthetic fertilizers.

Remember, at the end of the day, it is about providing growing and maintaining the grass in your lawn by replenishing its nutrient reserves. It does not matter ‘how’ you accomplish the task of replenishing the nutrients in the soil, it is more about the ‘result’ of having them in the soil for your lawn grass to utilize when needed.

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