Can You Use Organic Fertilizer for Lawns?

Discover if organic fertilizer is the right choice for your lawn, offering a natural, eco-friendly approach to lawn care.

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Most people are skeptical when it comes to using organic fertilizers on their lawns. They believe these fertilizers are more appropriate for farm crops and may not yield the desired results. Some even confuse them with the stinky compost. Leave your myths aside.

The right answer to whether you can use organic fertilizer for your lawn lies in this article. We will help you understand what are organic fertilizers, how they work, and know about their ingredients. This should give you ample reasons to use them. 

We are sure that before we finish, you will have already decided on an organic fertilizer for your lawn.

What are organic lawn fertilizers?

What are organic lawn fertilizers

Organic lawn fertilizers are fertilizers derived from natural organic substances from plants, animals, or fish. These may include animal manure, composted food, broken shells, and more. 

Their composition differentiates them from chemical-based fertilizers. The latter are loaded with inorganic or synthetic elements prepared from natural gas, nitrogen gas, or rock fragments. 

Organic fertilizers for lawns contain three main nutrients, namely, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, along with some trace elements. Each nutrient delivers a specific function in the growth and development of your lawn, making it look lush and green. 

Since they are not made up of any potentially harmful ingredients, these are safe for use in your lawns.

But what do these fertilizers contain?

Ingredients in organic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are available in various forms with different NPK ratios in each.

Cow manure 

Animal waste, such as cow manure, is relatively bulky and contains a decent NPK ratio. But note that fresh manure carries too much nutrition and may burn the plants; even regular manure can harm the plant. Therefore, use thoroughly composted cow manure in moderation. 

NPK content: 0.5-0.5-0.5

Chicken or Poultry Manure

This type of manure contains more nitrogen than cow manure. Therefore, it should be applied as an organic fall lawn fertilizer and irrigated immediately so that the nutrients dissolve quickly. It performs like an organic lawn starter fertilizer that helps soil organisms take up nutrients effectively. 

NPK content: 5-3-2

Earthworm castings

With a decent NPK ratio, earthworm castings are ideal for growing flowers and vegetable gardens. This organic fertilizer can enhance nutrient availability in the soil.

NPK content: 2-1-1

Soybean meal

Another high nitrogen fertilizer, soybean meal, contains low amounts of potassium and phosphorus. It releases nutrients at a moderate speed. However, the growing conditions of your area may impact how quickly they are absorbed into the soil. 

NPK content: 7-2-0

Blood meal

A blood meal is prepared from the powdered blood of butchered livestock. It is high in nitrogen content, whereas the other two essential nutrients (potassium and phosphorus) are present in low concentration. One must pay caution while applying blood meal as it is acidic and may burn the plants if applied more than needed. The best time to use it is a little right before planting, or you may also use it as a tonic for the ailing plants. 

NPK content: 12-1.5-0.5

Bone meal

Bone meal

Bone meal is the pulverized form of the cow bones. It is a high phosphorus fertilizer with a good amount of nitrogen in it. Mostly, it is applied as a soil amendment for plants that are burnt. Bone meal is useful for fruit trees, flowering plants, and bulbs as it releases nutrients at a moderate rate. 

NPK content: 4-20-0

Feather meal

It is an excellent all-natural lawn fertilizer. A high nitrogen fertilizer, feather meal delivers nutrients at a relatively decent rate. When using it, apply it just before planting or as a side dress fertilizer throughout the growing season. You may also conduct a soil test right before applying it to be sure of your plant’s requirements.

NPK content: 12-0-0

Seabird Guano

Seabird guano comes from islands that receive low amounts of rainfall or experience dry, arid climates. These climatic conditions make the fertilizer capable of retaining large amounts of nutrients. Apart from the three nutrients, seabird guano contains trace elements, including calcium. No wonder it is regarded as the world’s best organic fertilizer for lawns. 

NPK content: 10-10-2

Fish emulsion

Perfect for lawns, fish emulsion is prepared using partially decomposed fish. It is rich in nitrogen content but lacks calcium or potassium. But one must exercise caution as it is acidic and can burn plants. The best part is that fish emulsion is quickly absorbed and proves beneficial for plant species that require nitrogen immediately. Use it in early spring for best results. 

NPK content: 2-4-0 to 5-1-1

Liquid Kelp fertilizer

This organic liquid lawn fertilizer works well for both warm and cool seasons, grass, trees, gardens, and plant beds and pots. It contains small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as large amounts of trace elements. Additionally, it contains hormones, which help in plant growth and proliferation. You can use it as a foliar spray or pour it around the plants for optimum growth. 

NPK content: 1-0.2-2

Other organic ingredients

  • Seaweed – NPK content: 1.5-0.75-5
  • Urea – NPK content: 46-0-0
  • Azomite – NPK content: 0-0-0.2
  • Grass clippings – NPK content: 1-0-1.2
  • Food Waste And Scraps – NPK content:
  • Shellfish meal – NPK content: 3-3-0
  • Fish meal – NPK content: 4-12-0
  • Bat Guano – NPK content: 7-3-1
  • Green sand – NPK content: 1-1-5
  • Rock phosphate – NPK Content: 0-3-0
  • Corn Gluten meal – NPK Content: 9-0-0

Pros and cons of using lawn fertilizers?

Like everything else, there are certain advantages as well as disadvantages of using lawn fertilizers

Pros 

Organic lawn fertilizers can transform your soil into a nutrient-rich haven for plants. Here’s how:

Improves soil structure

The organic matter present in organic fertilizers makes the soil particles come closer and form stable soil aggregates. This, in turn, reduces compaction and improves aeration in soil helping plants retain moisture and nutrients. 

Increases microbial activity

The organic lawn fertilizer is rich in organic matter, which is food for microbes. Carbon is an essential nutrient of organic fertilizer, along with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Microbes nourish themselves and thrive well with ample amounts of these nutrients in the soil.

Environment-friendly

The biggest issue with synthetic fertilizers is fertilizer runoff and harm to the water table and aquatic life. Organic fertilizer, on the other hand, diminishes this possibility to a great extent. Not only this but it has also been found to increase the biodiversity by almost 30% compared to synthetic fertilizers. 

No need for pesticides or fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are slow-release fertilizers, meaning they keep releasing nutrients into the soil slowly, fulfilling the requirements of the plants. Also, they minimize the need for pesticides and other fertilizers. 

Less risk of damage

Synthetic fertilizers can sometimes harm the leaves or roots of the plant. This is highly unlikely with organically prepared fertilizers.

No toxin buildup

Artificially prepared fertilizers release harmful substances into the soil, thus polluting it. Sometimes, they may also render the soil barren. However, organic fertilizers are prepared with natural and biodegradable ingredients and do not release harmful salts or chemicals. 

Cons

cons of using lawn fertilizers 1

Organic lawn fertilizers may leave your lawn with some harmful effects if you ignore the warnings listed below. 

Product quality varies widely

The quality of fertilizers may vary from one manufacturer to another. So, to make sure your lawn soil receives the best nutrition read the organic lawn fertilizer reviews before buying. Also, check the reputation of the company selling it. 

Complex nutrient levels 

The nutrients present in organic fertilizer are in complex form. They are made of several atoms and molecules interconnected in specific ways and thus may not be readily available for the plants. For them to be able to ingest the nutrients, these must be broken down. 

Slow 

As said earlier, organic fertilizers must be converted into simpler forms in the soil so that the plants can absorb them. This process may take several months with organic fertilizers and may test your patience. However, it may also prove beneficial when used as an organic lawn starter fertilizer. 

Expensive

Organic fertilizers are often costlier than synthetic fertilizers. The reason lies in their method of preparation. But one must not lose heart as compost is a low-cost organic fertilizer, and you can find it near you easily.

How does organic lawn fertilizer work?

The microbes absorb the organic lawn fertilizer. After digesting the organic matter, they return it to the soil in the form of soluble nutrients. The plants then take up these essential nutrients.

However, there is a downside. The soil must have enough microbes to take up the fertilizer to make it available for the plants. But, in the absence or low population of these microscopic creatures, the results may take time. In some cases, it may even become a never-ending game. 

Conclusion

With the information above, we are sure that you now know the answer to the question. So, use organic fertilizer on your lawn without a second thought. However, pick one as per the requirements of your lawn. The list above should help you in making a wise decision. Happy lawn care!

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