Lets have a quick look at the three different basic fertilizers.
Firstly ORGANIC FERTILIZER:
This type of fertilizer is obtained from plants and animal, or human waste (actually sewage sludge). It is a "balanced fertilizer" but it has a drawback in that it is slow-acting and it does not have a lot of kick. It usually has a formulation of 1-1-1. This slow action actually can be beneficial since you usually can't burn out the grass with too much nitrogen.
Prices of organic fertilizers are generally lower than the man-made materials, which can be an advantage if you have time for the slow organic reaction. Organics work best in warm weather; unfortunately, warm weather is not the time most lawns should be fertilized.
Secondly SLOW RELEASE FERTILIZER:
These fertilizers can be recognized by the label: "WIN," which stands for water insoluble nitrogen. They have a very high percentage of nitrogen-enough to burn grass. However, since the chemical is slowly released, it is really not a problem (if properly applied, of course) since the nitrogen doesn't release into the plant in one sudden surge.
The big advantage of slow release fertilizer is that you can cover your lawn with a large amount of the fertilizer at one time so you don't have to come back often for re-application. WIN, in spite of its high nitrogen content, does not green grass fast, because of its slow-release feature. So remember that we you go out and by fertilizer.
Lastly SOLUBLE SYNTHETIC FERTILIZER:
There is a lot to like about this type of fertilizer. But first lets look at the negative points: You will most probably have to apply the fertilizer more often because a normal lawn requires a certain amount of nitrogen annually so you have to spread more to meet requirements. Now the positives of this type of fertilizer is, if applied properly there is no fertilizer burn; if the fertilizer is overlapped when applied, there is danger of fertilizer burn. Make sure the lawn is dry during the application, and watered well after the application, otherwise there can be trouble with fertilizer burn.
Fortunately these fertilizers are not cost prohibitive-in fact, they are competitive among manufacturers. The fertilizers are predictable in that you know before you apply them what the results will be. They are easier to handle than other fertilizer types. They can be applied with a spreader or they can be sprayed on the turf grass.
I have been in the Garden Maintenance Service Industry for a couple of years and have worked with all these types of fertilizers. My advice is to consider what you need from the fertilizer before you go out and buy it.
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