Fertilizers are an essential part of any landscaping or gardening plan, as they provide essential nutrients to your plant life and allow your plants to flourish and grow at rates that would not be attainable if they were allowed to grow on their own. However, there are two main types of fertilizers available on the market: organic and chemical. Both of these types of fertilizers, while working to perform the same function in similar ways, possess a distinct set of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding what the differences between organic and chemical fertilizers are can help you choose the best one for your gardening needs.
As their name would suggest, organic fertilizers are made up of organic matter - usually broken-down plant and animal matter that is then broken down when placed in your garden. This slow process of biodegradation allows the nutrients trapped in the organic matter to be released in a "slow burn" over time. This means that organic fertilizers only need to be applied periodically and are much less likely to cause over-fertilization which can harm and damage plant growth in your yard.
However, organic fertilizers also often come with an extremely unpleasant smell which can permeate your entire yard after application, largely because they are made up of dead and decaying plant and animal matter. Further, the slow release of nutrients means that organic fertilizers will not have overnight success in promoting plant growth in your yard.
Chemical fertilizers are not made up of organic matter and instead consist of pure nutrients (like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus) that can be quickly and easily applied to your yard. Since the nutrients are directly applied to the soil, they have a much faster response time, and chemical fertilizers can cause rapid plant growth in a shorter time period when compared to their organic counterparts. They also do not come with the same smell that organic fertilizer does.
However, care must be taken when using chemical fertilizers, as they can cause chemical burns and over-fertilization that can damage and even kill plants if overapplied. Furthermore, chemical fertilizers carry the risk of entering the runoff in the event of heavy storms, which can allow the chemicals to enter streams and rivers where they prove toxic to wildlife and are a serious environmental concern. Further, chemical fertilizers can cause the quality of your soil to degrade over time with repeat applications, as they can cause salts to build up within the soil itself and result in the depletion of essential nutrients.
For more information, contact your local lawn fertilizer service.