19 Jul What is a Fertilizer?
Even if you’re new to gardening or lawn care, chances are you have at least heard of fertilizer. It’s a vital nutrient mix that keeps plant life healthy. Nature itself creates fertilizer simply through the circle of life; decaying plant matter boosts the beneficial elements in the soil, making it easier for plants to grow. However, the key to truly plush green lawns is the use of carefully formulated fertilizers custom-designed to aid growth and health.
Why is fertilizer so important?
We humans need food to keep our bodies healthy. It gives us the energy to grow as children and stay energetic as adults. Fertilizer is food for our plants. The elements in fertilizer work much like vitamins and minerals do for us! They encourage seedlings to grow and keep mature plants strong. The quality of the fertilizer, much like the quality of our own food, makes a huge difference in the overall health of your lawn and garden.
Which elements are important for fertilizer?
There are a lot of varieties of fertilizer to choose from! However, the best fertilizers will contain the most important nutrients plants need. The elements to look for in a good fertilizer include Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Nitrogen, and Sulphur. Here are the reasons why these five nutrients are so important:
- Calcium – Fosters the growth of roots and aids in the absorption of Nitrogen
- Phosphorous – Strengthens roots and helps them grow
- Potassium – Makes grass more resilient to the elements, temperature, and foot traffic
- Nitrogen – The most important element, boosts growth and keeps grass green
- Sulphur – Aids in growth, keeps grass green and protects from cold
Can fertilizer have too many nutrients?
Yes, it can! When we consume too many vitamins we can get sick. Likewise, too much of certain elements can really damage your grass. The most common culprit for “nutrient overdose” in lawn care is nitrogen.
It’s very easy to add too much nitrogen to the soil simply because it has a reputation for depleting so quickly. Because it is “flushed” out fast, some gardeners add more nitrogen to their fertilizer. If you aren’t careful to maintain the right balance, too much nitrogen can weaken roots, effectively suffocating grass and plants!
This is why understanding the natural nutrient composition of your soil is important. Using fertilizers specially formulated for your particular region and grass type will keep your soil at an ideal nutrient balance.
Should I supplement my fertilizer with other nutrients?
Supplementing fertilizer with additional nutrients can be an excellent idea. It all depends on your personal lawn care needs.
One of the most popular gardening supplements today is seaweed or kelp. Seaweed contains important elements that may not typically be found in common fertilizers, such as borine, maganese, and zinc. While these nutrients aren’t as vital as those listed above, they still aid wonderfully in growth and health for plant materials. It also keeps soil hydrated, which means you will save on watering and maintenance.
Depending on your region and the plants you care for, you could also benefit from supplements designed for anything from preventing weeds to warding off insects. Make sure you do your research and choose carefully to avoid accidentally poisoning the plants you want to protect. When in doubt, consult with a lawn care or gardening professional!