Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Fertilizer vs No Fertilizer: Pros and Cons

Gardening and maintaining a healthy lawn pot comes with a long to-do list, including mowing, weeding, watering, and fertilizing. Fertilization is not always the answer. Many plants, including most perennial plants, as well as shrubs, trees and shrubs, do not need fertilizer at all. However, in some cases, the soil lacks important nutrients and does not have sufficient levels to allow plants to grow and reach their full potential. In this case, it is essential to fertilize your soil. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

In this article, we will discuss fertilization and explain when it is needed and when it is not. We outline different types of fertilizers, explain the difference between organic fertilizers and organic fertilizers Synthetic fertilizers, define N-P-K ratios (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), and reveal the purpose of direct fertilization of soil, such as leaf feeding technology. If you want to take a crash course fertilizer, you've come to the right place.

raised garden bed

Is fertilizer really necessary?

Fertilizer is usually called plant food, but it is more like a supplement than a meal of plants. Plants create their own food through photosynthesis, use solar energy to produce sugar from carbon dioxide and water, and plant fertilizers provide some nutrients that usually exist in most soils. Fertilizers provide naturally occurring elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Fertilization becomes necessary only when your soil lacks nutrients.

With the growth and development of plants, they absorb nutrients from the soil. The nutrient rich and healthy soil provides a beneficial environment to help plants thrive. In gardens and farms where plants are planted purposefully, the necessary nutrients in the soil will be exhausted with the growing season. In these cases, we may need to provide additional nutrients for some plants by adding fertilizer or other modifiers to the soil, but this is not always the case.

Fertilization when it is not needed can have a negative impact, which will actually lead gardeners to do more work. Adding more nitrogen to the soil of hedges, trees and shrubs pushed the stems and leaves. This means that you need to trim them more frequently. Overfertilizing your lawn will make the grass grow more vigorously, resulting in more frequent mowing. Er, no, thanks.

Sometimes, new plants may need to apply slow release fertilizers in the second or third year. If your plant is struggling and disease or pests are not the cause, you may need to address nutrient levels in the soil. Testing your soil will give you valuable information about whether you need fertilizer and what kind of fertilizer you need.

Why fertilize?

Now we have determined whether fertilizer is to plant food as most fertilizer companies believe, but more accurately described as a plant supplement. You may ask yourself why you completely need to fertilize your plants.

To thrive, plants need 16 minerals that are critical to their growth and function. In the face of the shortage of any of these 16 elements, your plant will become less productive. If the shortage is especially obvious, you may even get sick.

At least every 16 mineral compounds are always present in the soil. However, sometimes one or more essential elements may not be available in sufficient quantities for plants to grow and function at optimum levels. This is when fertilizer is needed.

Working principle of fertilizer

Three of the 16 elements, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, are supplied by water and carbon dioxide and can always be grown in large quantities under almost all environmental conditions. The remaining 13 essential elements are absorbed from the soil through the roots of plants. These 13 mineral elements are divided into three categories and grouped based on the amount of plant use.

The use of trace elements or micronutrients is very small, and each is very rare. They include: boron, zinc, manganese, chlorine, copper, iron and molybdenum.

The amount of secondary nutrients used in large quantities is large. These include: calcium, sulfur and magnesium. Low pH scores for acid soils generally have low calcium content. Lime is often used to raise pH levels and provide calcium storage, and dolomite lime is used instead when magnesium levels are insufficient.

Major nutrients or major elements are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (the cornerstone of most fertilizers), which are used more by plants than any other nutrient, so the supply usually exceeds the demand. Although these three nutrients no longer exist, they are more important than any other nutrient elements in the soil. They are widely used by plants, so they are the main components of most fertilizers.

Most fertilizer labels on the analysis, or nutrient ratio, are the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, in that order, included in the fertilizer. To correct the lack of nutrient soil, gardeners use fertilizers to ensure that sufficient amounts of each essential element are available for plants to use to their full potential.

Learn about N-P-K

Any fertilizer you buy in the garden center will include information about its nutrient elements. The N-P-K ratio is the percentage by volume of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. For example, a balanced 16-16-16 fertilizer contains 16% of each of the three elements. The 25-4-2 fertilizer formula contains 25% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus and 2% potassium.

All fertilizers contain at least one of these materials. If one is missing, the ratio displays zero in its place. For example, only 12% of the nitrogen solution is labeled 12-0-0. All fertilizers will show the N-P-K ratio somewhere on the label. If the fertilizer is in bulk, be sure to write down the proportion of fertilizer on the container used for carrying.

2 different types of fertilizers: organic and synthetic

Synthetic (chemical) and organic fertilizers provide nutrients to plants in different ways. Synthetic fertilizers are made from chemically processed materials, while organic fertilizers are made from naturally occurring organic materials and mineral deposits, such as bone meal or plant meal or compost manure.

Nutrients in organic or natural fertilizers are insoluble in water and will be released in months or even years. Therefore, they should be applied in autumn so that nutrients can be kept at hand in spring. Organic fertilizers stimulate beneficial soil microorganisms and improve soil structure and quality. These microorganisms help transform fertilizer into soluble nutrients, which can be absorbed enough by the plants in the garden. In most cases, organic fertilizers are combined with compost to provide all micronutrients and secondary nutrients required by plants.

Synthetic fertilizers can be absorbed almost immediately after application in the plant because they are water-soluble. Applying excessive amounts of synthetic fertilizer can burn leaves and damage your plants.

Although synthetic fertilizers can rapidly increase plant nutrients, they have little effect on stimulating soil life, improving soil texture and structure, or improving soil long-term fertility. Because they are water-soluble fertilizers, they will leach into streams and ponds, polluting water and having a negative impact on the environment.

In early spring, synthetic fertilizers have some significant advantages because they can be used for plants, even though the soil is still cold before the soil microorganisms become active. Because of this, some organic fertilizers also contain a small amount of synthetic fertilizer, which can keep nutrients available before the ground warms.

Long term use, organic fertilizer compost is the best fertilizer for your garden health. This will provide you with soil rich in organic matter and microbial life.

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Complete and incomplete fertilizers

The fertilizer containing all three main nutrients is called complete fertilizer, while the product of only one fertilizer or two fertilizers are considered incomplete. It seems a good idea to choose a complete fertilizer for every garden task, but it is not always the best pick. If your soil contains a lot of phosphorus and potassium, and only lacks its nitrogen level (which is very common), you can save money by choosing incomplete fertilizers with only nitrogen, such as ammonium sulfate. In some cases, complete fertilizers can actually damage plants. Some plants, such as foreign protease, will not tolerate excessive phosphorus and will die if given too much.

The family soil test kit you can buy in the garden center or nursery can give you a good understanding of the nutrient level in the garden soil, or you can get a more comprehensive assessment by paying professional analysis fees. Either way, once you know what nutrients are lacking in the garden soil, you will be better able to choose the right fertilizer for the task.

General and special purpose fertilizers

The fertilizer marked "universal" consists of equal amounts of each major nutrient (e.g. 12-12-12), or slightly higher nitrogen content (e.g. 12-8-6). These fertilizers are designed to meet the needs of most plants throughout the growing season.

In contrast, special-purpose fertilizers are formulated to meet specific needs. These fertilizers are specific combinations of plants or soils made for gardeners who want a certain amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. There are three different types of special-purpose fertilizers.

A special fertilizer designed for use during active growth, containing a large amount of nitrogen for spring use. This type is designed to help gardeners encourage lush growth or help the lawn become vibrant.

Another special purpose fertilizer has a low nitrogen level and a higher level of phosphorus and potassium to stimulate root growth, stem vitality, and flower and fruit production. These possible ratios are 3-20-20. These special purpose fertilizers are used at different times and in different ways according to different goals. When preparing for new planting areas, you will work deeply like this dry granular fertilizer into the soil to make the roots absorb phosphorus and potassium. This nutrient will help strengthen the growth of new plant stems and encourage the vigorous development of dense roots.

In order to promote the production of flowers or fruits, you can apply the same kind of fertilizer to help plants establish their first growth after they are owned. Either use dry particles, or gently mix them into the soil, or use a watering can or a garden to apply liquid formula hose.

The third special fertilizer is formulated for specific plants. These have N-P-K ratios that can be customized to promote the best performance of a particular plant and other elements that have proven valuable to the plant. The title of these fertilizers is based on plants, which are made for nourishment.

Foliar feeding

Most fertilizers are applied directly, however, and the soil can more easily absorb nutrients 8 to 20 times through the surface of the leaves rather than through the roots. For this reason, we recommend spraying leaves with liquid nutrients to produce incredible yields. Spraying plants at key growth stages of plants, such as transplanting time, flowering time, just after fruit setting, to obtain the best effect.

Importance of soil PH value

If the soil pH is too high or too low, some even appropriate nutrients are available in the soil. Most plants prefer soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Please contact your local promotion service to obtain a low-cost soil test kit to measure the pH value of soil. Send samples to the lab or buy home kits and make one yourself.

It is better to slowly reduce or increase the soil pH value within one to two years, because severe adjustment may lead to the opposite extreme, which may be more problematic than you did at the beginning. Lime or wood ash can be added to the soil to increase the pH value, and sulfur or aluminum sulfate can be added to reduce the pH value. Another useful solution to make the pH closer to neutral is to add compost, which can adjust the pH and help you maintain the ideal level of 6.5

Fertilizer selection

If the soil test shows deficiencies in specific nutrients, or if you want to customize specific plants for fertilizer according to the following requirements, you can choose a special formula. However, in most cases, the general 5-5-5 fertilizer provides nutrition for all plants that need to grow healthily. Your choice will depend on your current soil, as well as the preferences of the plants you are planting.

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The three numeric labels on the fertilizer tell you the specific proportion of each macro nutrient. The fertilizer contains and reflects the available nutrients by weight. A 100 pound bag of fertilizer with a N-P-K ratio of 5-7-4 contains 5 pounds of nitrate, 7 pounds of phosphate (containing phosphorus), 4 pounds of potassium (containing potassium), and 84 pounds of filler.

The N-P-K ratio of organic fertilizer is almost always lower than that of synthetic fertilizer. This is due to the fact that the proportion can only express immediately available nutrients according to law. Most organic fertilizers have nutrients that are slowly released. These nutrients will gradually become available over time and contain many trace elements that may not be available through synthetic fertilizers.

We recommend using granular organic fertilizers and supplementing water-soluble fertilizers. The use of granular fertilizers will help to establish the long-term health and fertility of the soil, while supplementing water-soluble fertilizers will ensure that your plants get the nutrients they need for active growth.