Fertilizing Lawns and Landscapes
Understand your Fertilizer
The three main components consist of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
The types of fertilizer
Now that you know the chemical formula needed for your plants, we need to discuss the different types of fertilizers and their differences. There are several types and they all break down differently, have different application frequencies and come in different forms.
- the most common type of fertilizer.
- Easy to apply and easy to absorb; it is recommended this type be tilled or worked into the soil for optimal benefit but can be used as top dressing as well.
- It may take a few days of watering to see the benefits. The granules need to break down before releasing the nutrients and allowing the plants to absorb them.
- These are water-soluble powders or concentrated mixtures with water.
- The solution is usually applied using a hose and sprayer.
- The solution will only last for 1 to 2 weeks so it is important to reapply frequently.
- Plants will absorb the nutrients from liquid fertilizers right away so it can be great to jump-start the growth of new plants or for a boost at the start of a growing season.
There are different types of granular fertilizers which will determine the rate in which one must reapply.
- time-released granules can last anywhere from 2 to 9 months depending on the rate of runoff and how much is applied.
- The more inexpensive types of formulas tend to last from 2 to 4 weeks and are not time-released.
- It is recommended using the time-released formulas to provide the nutrients in small amounts as the roots demand for growth.
- They are more efficient and will be more cost effective in the long run. In South Florida, the growing season lasts all year and should only require 2 to 3 applications to keep the plants looking healthy and growing quickly. When applied correctly, there is less runoff into the local water system.
- there are different fertilizers available like manure, compost and other options.
- This type requires the different microbes and earthworms in the soil to break down the fertilizer to release the benefits because it is does not have the help of added acids and salts.
- To keep the breakdown at an optimum level it is important to keep the soil above 50 degrees.
- Applying too much organic material can cause greater nutrition than the plants can absorb causing run-off and the waste of costly material. This can cause a miscalculation in the timing of the next feeding, leaving the plants needing more when there isn’t more to give. There is nothing worse than doing all the work necessary to keep plants growing only to find they didn’t grow enough to produce fruit.
The type of fertilizer that is right for you will depend on the soil’s chemical makeup and condition. It is always recommended to get the soil tested and the right fertilizer be used. This is an investment in your property that should be made right the first time around. Put in the due diligence in the beginning in order to save time, money and aggravation in the future.