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Fertilizing: Different types and how to use them

Updated: Apr 30

A good gardener knows the importance of a good fertilizer. Recognizing which fertilizer best fits the needs of your specific plants will help you to maximize your gardens’ growth. Become a fertilizing expert as you learn about the different options and nutrients that can impact your plants.

Organic and Inorganic fertilizers:

Organic fertilizers are made from natural and organic materials—mainly manure, compost, or other animal and plant products. These fertilizers are a great source of nutrients, though there isn’t a measurable amount of any specific nutrients—some bags will print estimates. Organic fertilizers tend to work slowly and over the long-term and can help to build up your soil over time. One of the best benefits of organic fertilizers is that is can be made at home. Using your own compost can help grow your garden!

Inorganic fertilizers are made of up chemical components that contain necessary nutrients. If you’re looking to give your garden a quick boost, this is likely the best option for you. For successful short-term growth, determine what nutrient your plant needs and use an inorganic fertilizer with nutrient.

Nitrogen fertilizers:

Nitrogen is a plan nutrient responsible for growth. This ingredient is useful in fertilizers, particularly during the middle stages of a plant’s lifespan, when it needs encouragement to continue to grow large and stem new leaves. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers have sources of nitrogen in them.

Phosphate fertilizers:

Phosphorous is a nutrient that plants need continuously. Throughout their lifecycle, phosphorous help to strengthen the root system and stems of a plant. Flowering, seeding, and fruiting can all be improved with phosphorous.

Plants with a phosphorous deficiency will experience stunted growth. Phosphorous is long-lasting and slow acting. Using fertilizer in your soil before planting is generally a good idea.

Potassium fertilizers:

Potassium will help your plants to grow deeper and stronger roots. It can also help protect your plants from harm when they are deprived of other nutrients. This nutrient is vital for photosynthesis and has the ability to slow down any diseases that may infect your garden. Potassium fertilizer has a lot of benefits. The when and how of planting this fertilizer will depend on what you’re are planting. When you are using this fertilizer, place it as close to the roots as possible.

If there is a potassium deficiency in your plant, you may see yellowing or browning on the edges of leaves. Leaves will eventually die off if the deficiency continues.

Fertilizer forms:

Fertilizer comes in a few different forms. There is liquid, powder, and granular. Liquid fertilizers are often diluted with water. Spreading them is similar to watering your garden, usually done with a hose attachment. Powdered fertilizers also need water to be productive. Usually they are spread by hand and watered to complete absorption. Granular lawn fertilizers can easily be spread on top of soil. These nutrient pack granules will be soaked into your garden over time as you water it.

If you are in the Maryland area and considering hiring a local business to handle your lawn and landscaping needs, including fertilization, consider chatting with Rooted In Nature by email at or call at 443-846-0199. We are happy to assist you!

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