Dead or yellowing grass? Maybe it’s time to nourish your lawn! You’ve been hearing some great things about your neighbor’s results using organic fertilizer, but you’re still hesitant to try it for yourself. What’s the big difference between organic vs. conventional fertilizer anyways? Is this natural stuff really worth the extra cost?
We sure think so. Here are six darn-good reasons to make the switch to organic lawn fertilizer this season.
1. Organic lawn fertilizers are safe for your family, pets, neighborhood and the environment.
Organic fertilizers are made from plant and animal matter, by-products of naturally decomposable materials. That means they’re made up of a combination of manure, leaves, compost, etc.— not potentially harmful chemicals. (Here’s a peek at some common ingredients found in organic fertilizer from Oregon State University).
Chemical fertilizers are usually made from nonrenewable sources, including fossil fuels, and are manufactured artificially and synthetically. For instance, many synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are made from petroleum or natural gas!
Most non-organic fertilizers claim to not be “toxic” to humans or pets when dispersed across your lawn, Why is it then that most chemical lawn fertilizers caution you to keep pets off the turf immediately after application, then? Or why do dogs who have accidentally gotten into and ate non-natural fertilizers from the bags often suffer from vomiting or diarrhea, tremors or even seizures?
In addition, chemical fertilizers have been shown to pollute local waterways and surface water due to rain and runoff. Research by the University of Vermont has found that this chemical contamination can cause water to turn green or cloudy with algae blooms, take on an unusual odor and can deplete oxygen for fish and other species, suffocating them.
You can never be too safe when it comes to your family. With organic lawn fertilizers, there’s no need to worry. Kids can play in the yard and Fido can run free, without risk. Plus, your local neighborhood and surrounding ecosystems won’t suffer.
2. It’s hard to “over-fertilize” with organic grass fertilizers.
In addition to lasting longer than non-organic fertilizer, it’s hard to overdo it with natural fertilizer. Because the nutrients break down and decompose slowly into your soil with the help of water, it’s quite difficult to over-fertilize when choosing organic. Plus, it’s all things Mother Nature is accustomed to recycling, unlike the foreign, synthetic chemicals found in unnatural stuff.
Conventional fertilizers— when oversprayed or applied too heavily— can cause a thing called “root burn” too. It’s caused by the nitrogen salts found in many chemical fertilizers, which can dehydrate and dry up your plants.
3. Organic fertilizers release slowly for longer results.
Because chemical fertilizers don’t need to decompose over time, they’re absorbed more quickly into your grass. But that’s the caveat— into your grass, not into your soil. While these nutrients get absorbed more quickly through the blades rather than the soil, the benefits are short-term (see our next point for details!). You’ll need to reapply non-organic fertilizers more quickly to maintain a lush lawn.
Organic fertilizers break down slowly over many weeks, so while it might take some sunshine, water and time for a natural product to help your turf, they require fewer applications and offer longer-term results.
4. Organic fertilizers improve the quality of your soil.
Your soil contains millions of microorganisms. These natural microbes— like insects, fungus, bacteria, etc.— get their energy from eating decaying plant and animal matter. In nature, these organism obtains nutrients frequently, when animals desecrate or materials decompose. However, this rarely happens on your clean lawn.
Organic matter in natural fertilizer feeds these hungry microorganisms, who in turn help to build a strong soil structure. As if that wasn’t reason enough to go organic, use of chemical fertilizers can actually kill these microorganisms. Plus, conventional fertilizers rarely get absorbed into your soil, instead of absorbing into the grass blades. Again, it’s not really treating the “root” of the problem— pun fully intended!
5. Organic lawn fertilizers usually offer more diverse minerals and nutrients.
Whereas conventional fertilizers typically offer the “Three Big Minerals”— nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium— they often neglect to include other nutrients that your soil and grass need to fully prosper. Just like we need a diverse array of vitamins for our overall well-being, your lawn too needs a variety of nutrients to grown bright and green!
Organic lawn fertilizers also often include calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium, just to name a few. These important nutrients help your grass to absorb sunlight efficiently, improve soil structure and more. Instead of adding synthetic products to your lawn, create a robust nutrient profile, naturally, by opting for organic.
6. Organic fertilizers take no more effort to apply than traditional, non-organic lawn fertilizers.
Organic lawn fertilizers can be applied in the same way non-organic fertilizers are, so it’s not like you have to take any additional steps to go natural. Disperse granular nutrients using the same spreader, or organic liquid fertilizer through the same sprayer, that you would to lay down conventional fertilizer.
Considering Switching to Organic Lawn Fertilizer?
One of the biggest reasons homeowners hesitate to go organic is the increased cost over conventional fertilizer. However, after learning about all the benefits to going natural, many choose to do what’s best for their lawn’s long-term health. Additionally with advances in fertilization technology proven effective organic fertilizers have come down significantly in costs and aren’t cost-prohibitive like they used to be.
Even if you aren’t ready to go fully organic, many fertilization companies— like us at Swazy & Alexander— offer hybrid mixes, which combine natural and conventional products. This is often a great way to slowly improve your soil quality over time without a big hit on your wallet.
Rather do it yourself? Download our Ultimate Guide to Fertilization. It includes more tips on choosing the best fertilizer for your turf and recommendations for proper application.