A healthy lawn is the desire of every house owner that enhances the beauty of the property and aids the well-being of residents and the environment. The lawn will need adequate nutrients from the soil but will also need a bit of push from the external elements. Fertilizers are the supplements that will aid in keeping the lawn healthy, promote root and leaf development, decrease the growth of weeds, help in discovering lost nutrients while also pushing the lawn to achieve overall health. But there is a significant debate on the use of fertilizers on the lawn and their effect on individual health and the environment. Before selecting a specific kind of fertilizer, it is important to understand the pros and cons of lawn fertilizers that will help in making proper decisions.
Pros of using fertilizers:
- Fertilizer is often called plant food, but it’s more like a supplement than a meal for plants. Plants create their food through photosynthesis, harnessing the sun’s energy to create sugar from carbon dioxide and water, whereas fertilizers provide certain nutrients that are typically already present in most soils. Fertilizers provide naturally occurring elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is only when your soil’s nutrient levels become depleted that fertilizing becomes necessary.
- As the plants grow, they will absorb essential nutrients from the soil as it will offer an ideal setting for the plants to develop with more health. But due to many reasons, the soil gets depleted of essential nutrients after many years of plant growth. In such cases, an additional push is needed from supplements to add richness to the soil. But the selection of fertilizers should be done only after adequate testing of the soil which tells about the deprived soil nutrients.
- If the grass is grown from the seed, this budding lawn will require various types of nutrients at various stages. Some of the essential nutrients like phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium in altered quantities are key for healthy growth. Choosing a correct fertilizer will aid in ensuring that grass gets the proper nutrients and develop ideally. Testing the soil and making sure that you chose the correct type of nutrients will aid in helping inadequate lawn growth.
- If the lawn is budding, then it will be waiting to get nutrients with the right hydration levels. The right quality of fertilizers will aid in improving the soil strength and make it hold the water and help the lawn to drink it when needed.
- There are different types of chemical and organic fertilizers available in the market. Some organic fertilizers work by speeding up the growth of the lawns while organic ones are helpful in their way to improve long-term health. The choice of fertilizers is dependent on the requirement of the lawn owner, property color, structure, and soil quality.
- Choice of the right fertilizer will add the right pH nutrients to the soil. It will help in building healthy soil with the right mixture of strength, texture, and composition. A lot goes into the selection of types of fertilizers depending on the included factors.
Cons of fertilizer usage:
- Improper usage of fertilizers without the right knowledge of the soil, plants can lead to adverse effects. For instance, adding more nitrogen to healthy plants will make them grow with more speed requiring you to trim them more often than needed. Mowing will be needed more frequently as there will be extra vigorous growth that will also negatively impact the overall health of the soil and plants in the long run.
- Some of the fast-release fertilizers spoil the health of the lawn easily with adverse effects. Hence the proper choice of timely release fertilizers must be done to address the deficiency of specific plants. Some issues may be due to a specific disease and some may also be due to the attack of pests. If you do not properly address the underlying issues then it can make a big jolt on the health of the soil and lawn.
- Some of the fertilizers will only include fillers in specific quantities that will not have an impact on improving the soil quality or health of the plants. It is key to include fertilizers to have nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium, etc in adequate quantities.
- Overfertilization will also lead to the killing of plants that can cause a burn on the plant leaves. These chemicals could be in concentrated forms and if sprayed over the landscape, can lead to reaction on the lawn causing imbalance. Issues like root burn and leaf damage can emerge due to improper usage. There may also be an imbalance in the Ph levels of the soil and the build-up of toxic chemicals.
- Waterways are one of the easily susceptible elements that can be impacted due to the run-off of fertilizers especially nitrogen. Some chemicals are not meant for extended contact with human beings and can lead to adverse effects. It can be absorbed via the skin, inhaled through the nose, and can lead to other unwanted issues. Groundwater can be contaminated with extended use of fertilizers reaching them after prolonged usage on the surface soil. Water life including animals and plants can have an ill effect and also cause an impact on pets who may drink these waters. Algae blooms can be affected with chemical fertilizers showing signs of changes in color, odor, and depleted oxygen levels. This can cause serious damage to fish and other types of living beings present in the water bodies.
Healthy lawns will not only aid the environment, by creating oxygen and soothing the air, they also help you with relaxed and healthy living. Having 20 years of experience working with landscapes along the Wasatch Front, Affordable Lawn Care and Landscape LLC understands the ins and outs of lawns. We employ a 65 percent slow-release granular fertilizer and are made from naturally occurring ingredients including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.