As you start to prepare your garden for new growth, you will likely need the aid of a fertilizer. However, different plants benefit from different fertilizers. There are many different types of fertilizers that provide nutrients and benefits to plants. Before you apply your next round of fertilizer, read on to learn a bit more about what these different nutrients and fertilizers can offer.
Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are made from natural and organic materials, primarily manure, compost, or other animal and plant products. These fertilizers generally provide both macro and micronutrients. Organic fertilizers work slowly over the long-term and can help build up soil organic matter over time. You can also use your compost to create DIY organic fertilizers.
Inorganic fertilizers consist of mineral components. Depending on the sources of raw ingredients, inorganic fertilizers provide measurable nutrients and are listed on the fertilizer container. If your garden needs a quick boost, these types of fertilizers will help. It is important to note that the nutrients taken up by plant roots are the same whether they are released by organic or inorganic components.
Nitrogen is a nutrient that assists plant growth. This fertilizer element is especially beneficial during the middle stages of a plant’s lifespan when it needs to continue development and grow new leaves. You can find organic and inorganic fertilizers with nitrogen.
Plants need phosphorus continuously. Throughout a plant’s life cycle, phosphorus helps strengthen the root system and stems of a plant. Phosphorus can help improve flowering, seeding, and fruiting.
If your plants have a phosphorus deficiency, they will experience stunted growth. Phosphorus is long-lasting and slow-acting, so applying fertilizer to your soil before planting is often best.
Potassium helps your plants grow deeper and stronger roots and helps your plants from harm when they are deprived of other nutrients. Potassium plays an essential role in making your plants more resistant to stressful conditions. Potassium is vital for photosynthesis and can slow down diseases that may infect your garden. You can spot potassium deficiency in your plants if you notice yellowing or browning on the edges of leaves.
The “when and how” of potassium fertilizers depends on what you are planting. However, when using these types of fertilizers, place them as close to the roots as possible.
You can find types of fertilizers in various forms. Fertilizers can be liquid, powder, or granular. Liquid fertilizers are often diluted with water and are applied to the garden in a way similar to how you would water your garden. Powder fertilizers also often require water and are spread by hand and watered until absorbed into the soil. Granular fertilizer can be applied to the top of the soil and soaked into your garden over time.
Test Your Soil for Nutrients and pH
The best way to determine your soil’s nutrient and pH levels is to send a soil sample to a reputable soil testing lab. A qualified agronomist can take the soil test results and determine an appropriate nutrient and pH plan.
Understanding the different types of fertilizers and the various benefits they provide is essential for creating the best garden you can. When in doubt, you can consult with a professional lawn and landscape expert for guidance on the best fertilizer options.
Scientific Plant Service Is Your Go-To Source In Landscape Healthcare
Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
We offer services in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia, including: Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Calvert counties in MD, as well as Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church in VA. For more information, contact us online, or call us at 410-321-0970. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!