Shopping for fertilizer can be a daunting experience, given the seemingly huge selection of fertilizers on the market. How do you know which type is right for your lawn and does the time of year make a difference? In an attempt to clear things up we’ll look at the four basic types available and explain when and where those types are bested suited.
Type 1 – Dry or Granular Fertilizer
Probably the most common type, this fertilizer comes in small dry grains that are spread over your grass by hand or using a mechanical rotating spreader. This type comes in both slow-release and fast-release varieties with a few basic mixtures of nutrients suitable for both spring and fall applications. It’s very easy to apply and economical, making it one of the most popular fertilizers out there.
Dry fertilizer can be purchased in large bags generally from 20 to 50 pounds, although some stores may carry even larger sizes. This product will last a decent amount of time and you can buy enough for this season and next without worrying about the fertilizer going bad.
Type 2 – Liquid Fertilizer
This type of fertilizer comes in a concentrated form that requires the use of your hose for application. Usually a bottle with a nozzle is attached to your hose and then the mixture is sprayed evenly onto the grass. Sometimes the application can get difficult, especially if you have a large lawn, but the effects of liquid fertilizer are fast and you don’t need to worry so much about whether it will rain in the near future. Using liquid fertilizer tends to result in less damage to the lawn, although it is more expensive than granular and usually requires more applications to have the same effect as a high quality, slow-release granular type.
Type 3 – Synthetic Fertilizer
This type refers to both granular and liquid fertilizers that are chemically-based and manmade. They usually deliver a noticeable effect quickly, but in many instances the change is short lived, requiring repeated applications of the fertilizer. Most often these products are well formulated using the latest in lawn and grass care research.
Type 4 – Organic Fertilizer
This type of fertilizer covers everything that is natural or derived through natural products. Things like composted manure, composted kitchen scraps and lake-bed sandy soil are all used on grass to provide a dense, healthy lawn naturally. The problem with these products is that they tend to be more difficult to apply. They could also be heavily weighted with one nutrient which causes burning and damage. It helps to apply natural fertilizers on one small area of the lawn first to see whether the product will react well on your grass.
Sometimes your grass is best treated with a combination of products. Research and a fair bit of trial and error are the most successful ways to find out which type of fertilizer is best for your lawn.