Slow Release Fertilizers…Eco-Friendly and Affordable
t can be a bit overwhelming to shop for garden fertilizer these days. There are endless products to choose from that all seem to promise bigger and better results. When looking for the best buy, remember this basic gardening principle: you can’t rush Mother Nature. You’ll find that slow-release fertilizers are made with this in mind.
Slow-release fertilizers work in conjunction with processes in the soil. Rather than a quick overdose, these products release nutrients over a period of time, even for several months. This means that nutrients supply plant roots with a sustainable diet instead of a binge buffet. The plants benefit from a consistent supply of the elements they need throughout their growth.
This quality in slow-release fertilizers helps your garden and helps reduce water pollution. Unlike quick-release or fast-acting fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers aren’t water soluble. This quality plus the fact that nutrients are released in useful amounts means they aren’t washed away in stormwater runoff. Fertilizers, and other lawn and garden applications, that make their way into waterways can cause serious problems to wild animals, plants and ecosystems as well as pollute drinking water.
Slow-release fertilizers can be activated by temperature, moisture, bacterial activity in the soil or pH. The nutrient release is a reaction to changing soil conditions. In this way there work with the natural plant growth processes.
There are two types of slow-release fertilizers: synthetic organics and natural organics. Synthetic organics combine natural forms of nitrogen like urea with formaldehyde. This type of fertilizer is often a nitrogen fertilizer. The amount of nitrogen is labeled as a percentage that relays the the product’s make up, for instance 80% water insoluble nitrogen (WIN).
Even though synthetic organics contain chemicals they are still a better environmental choice than fast-acting fertilizers. Primarily because the chemicals are less likely to end up in stormwater run off.
Natural organic slow-release fertilizers are the optimal choice for organic gardens. The absence of harsh chemicals makes these products easier on the earth conscience. The nutrient release from natural organics is activated by bacteria activity in the soil. This direct relationship means that the release rate can be more variable and faster than synthetic organics.
Quick-release fertilizers are usually the cheapest and always synthetic. Slow-release fertilizers are more expensive than fast-acting products. However, they require less application so the small increase in upfront investment can be cost-effective and the all natural options boost the product’s environmental friendliness. They are much less likely to “burn” plants, they help establish sustainable growth and offer a significant way to reduce water pollution.