In the past, chemical fertilizers were not only widely used but also encouraged. Though often effective for growth, the disadvantages to chemical use were sometimes dangerous for the land as well as for the people.
The eco-friendly movement has gained momentum in recent years and organic fertilizers have grown in popularity. It is now possible to achieve sustainability in lawn care using organic products and practices while keeping the environment and its inhabitant’s safe.
What is organic fertilizer? The easiest definition is that of fertilizer which has been only slightly processed, the nutrients within remaining in their natural state. These nutrients are not removed or refined.
Organic fertilizers are often composed of the waste of animals or plants. Sometimes sold by retailers as “soil conditioner”, these fertilizers are processed in factories or farms.
There are a variety of benefits provided by this eco-friendly fertilizer, benefits that extend to the land, its surrounding environment, people, pets and wildlife.
Roots grow stronger due to organic care as nitrogen and phosphorous are gradually released into the soil, resulting in slower absorption. Soil texture improves with moisture retention and useful microbes are not damaged by chemicals.
No dangerous chemical residues are left as organic fertilizers are made from natural ingredients. Adults, children and pets experience no detrimental effects and the fertilizer is completely biodegradable.
Too much water or rain tends to wash away chemical fertilizers while organic treatments continue the soil’s improvement for a longer period. Although available pre-packaged, making organic fertilizer yourself is possible by composting or purchasing composted manure.
Though no disadvantages exist by employing organic lawn care treatments, there are things to be aware of for those new to the process. The breakdown of organic fertilizers occurs at a natural pace according to nature’s own timetable. Improvement is not immediate and plants may appear deficient until the complete breakdown of the initial application. Persevere and the rewards will be noticeable.
Chemical fertilizers, by contrast, contain a multitude of disadvantages. Often composed of sources that are not renewable, these fertilizers can be made from fossil fuels. While lawns and plants do grow from its use, soil is not enriched or sustained and can even develop permanent damage.
Due to a ready abundance of nutrients, there is a possibility of overfertilization, leading to negative effects to the surrounding ecosystem. Multiple applications are sometimes needed when using chemical fertilizers.
Unfortunately, the result of additional applications is a toxic accumulation of unpleasant chemicals in the soil, such as arsenic or uranium. If used on fruit trees or gardens, the toxins can enter the harvest of fruits and vegetables. Using chemical fertilizers for a long period of time can eventually change the pH balance in the soil, attract pests and add to greenhouse gas release.
With each passing day, more homeowners make the decision to switch to organic fertilizers. These eco-friendly fertilizers offer a wealth of benefits in comparison to chemical fertilizers. Plant improvement and a safe environment are excellent reasons to join this green movement.
James Richings is the author of this article
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