Bob Vila Radio: Finding the Right Fertilizer

There are two main types of fertilizer on the market: organic and synthetic. As with any decision, there are pros and cons for either pick. Figure out which fertilizer suits your landscaping needs best.

Organic VS Synthetic Fertilizer




Organic versus synthetic fertilizers—here’s a quick primer:

Organic fertilizers are derived from plants, animals, or minerals. Most organics contain lower concentrations of nutrients than do synthetics, and they’re not water soluble. So they release their nutrients more slowly than synthetics and they’re less likely to build up in soil and contaminate local water sources via runoff. The downside, though, is their natural decomposition takes longer to improve your plants.

Synthetics, on the other hand, are made of chemically-processed compounds, such as ammonium nitrate or urea. Although they usually produce quicker results, that fast action comes at a cost: Synthetics won’t supply nutrients for as long as organics. That means more frequent application, which, if not monitored carefully, can result in fertilizer burn, contamination of local waters, and even destruction of beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

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