It’s not secret that fertilizer is key to a great lawn. It feeds soil the essential nutrients and balances out its chemicals in order to maximize its health and looks. Experts recommend that you fertilize 4-8 times per year, depending on your grass type. But there are many choices to make when it comes to picking your fertilizer: liquid vs granular, fast vs slow release, chemical vs organic. For this article, we’re going to focus on the differences between chemical and organic fertilizer.
Chemical vs Organic Fertilizer
According to Oregon State University Extension Service, “Processed fertilizers are manufactured or are refined from natural materials such as rock, animal or petroleum products. Nutrients are concentrated in industrial processes to make them more available to plants. Ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate and potassium sulfate are examples of processed fertilizers.”
Whereas, with organic fertilizer, the product is composed of natural materials like mined minerals, animal or plant material and have very little processing.
Take a product like Holganix.
Holganix is so safe you can literally take shots of it (don’t take shots of it). It is not toxic to humans, pets, livestock or wild life, and there are virtually no safety precautions you need to take when handling it. It rinses of the skin and won’t harm you at all if you get it on your hands. When it comes to your lawn, there’s no such thing as over-application like there is with chemical fertilizer.
Runoff and the environment
One of the most dangerous parts of chemical fertilizer is its potential damage to the environment, mainly in the form of runoff into water bodies. The excess nitrogen from fertilizer basically creates ‘dead zones’ in our nation’s rivers, streams, and lakes. It’s true, of course, that bacteria in the water removes excess nitrogen through a process known as denitrification. But this only eliminates about 16% of the nitrogen, leaving a large majority of it still in the water. The biggest culprit of this nitrate is fertilizer runoff from agricultural fields. When it comes to our own Ladybird Lake, we’ve got to keep it beautiful and clean. The way we do this may be to lessen our chemical fertilizer, but it may just as easily be that we switch to an organic model.
LawnStarter and Organic Fertilizer
Because of chemical fertilizer’s historically dangerous effects, LawnStarter has chosen to only work with parters who utilize organic and eco-friendly fertilizer products. This is our commitment to keeping Austin’s ecosystem health, keeping Ladybird Lake clean, and keeping Austin green.