The Different Types of Fertilizers

December 12, 2018

A good gardener knows the importance of using the right fertilizer. By recognizing which fertilizer best fits the needs of your specific plants, then you will maximize vegetation health and growth. Move from novice to expert by mastering the different types of fertilizers.

Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are made from natural materials such as manure, compost, minerals, and crushed bone. These fertilizers are a great source of nutrients.  Organic fertilizers work slowly by feeding your vegetation over the long-term. Slowly feeding your lawn, plants, and gardens is the best way to deliver nutrients. You can create your own organic fertilizer at home!  Try using your own composter feed and grow your garden at home!

Nitrogen Fertilizers

Nitrogen is the nutrient most responsible for vegetation growth. This ingredient is useful, particularly during the middle stages of a plant’s lifespan as leaves and branching expand. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers have sources of nitrogen to help your vegetation grow.

Phosphate Fertilizers

Phosphorous is a nutrient that plants need continuously. Plants need stong stems and branching, so phosorus is used to build cellular strength. Also, flowering, seeding, and fruiting will improve by applying phosphorous.

Plants with a phosphorous deficiency will experience stunted growth, smaller flowering, and reduced fruiting. Phosphorous is long-lasting and slow acting. You can improve the size and strength of your plants and trees by apply phosphorus fertilizer to your soil.

Potassium Fertilizers

Potassium encourages deeper and stronger root growth. It also protects the cell walls of your plants. In addition, potassium is vital for photosynthesis and diseases prevention. Apply potassium ferilizers at the soil level or by amending it into the soil so that it is absorbed through the root zone.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency include yellowing of leaves, wilting, drooping, and stunted growth. Untreated potassium deficiency can eventually lead to plant death.  

Fertilizer Forms

There are three common forms of fertilizer; liquid, powder, and granular. Liquid fertilizers must be diluted with water before application. After diluting with water, then apply liquid fertilizer to your plants and trees. Also, powdered fertilizers must be mixed into water and then applied to your vegetation. Granular fertilizers are ready to apply without dilution and are  therefore easily spread over lawns, gardens, and flower beds. These nutrience packed granules slowly release into your soil over time with each watering.

The USU Extentsions Department has an in depth artical about cool season grass fertilizers to help you with your lawn this season!