What Fertilizer Should Be Put Away in Spring

Whether you’re beginning a new garden or enriching veteran soil, keep in mind that putting fluid down too soon may be a waste of time, energy and money. Without plants to absorb its benefits, fertilizer can be washed off or leached out of the ground by rain or ice melt. Applying compost or all-purpose fluid after plant growth is under way assures it will remain in place and do what it is intended to do.


Compost is a rich mixture of decomposed organic materials which are readily found in nature. Early spring is the perfect time to spread compost on the lawn and then blend it in the soil. It is virtually impossible to use too much, provided it is aged and completely broken, as materials which are still from the decomposition stage produce excessive levels of heat which may prove harmful to tender plant roots and seedlings. Compost continues to break down in a significantly slower rate when it is integrated into garden soil, in which bacteria along with other creatures like insects and ground worms help the process along by aerating the soil and creating pathways for water to flow through, thereby increasing the soil’s drainage rate. Spreading a thick layer of aged compost on the lawn at the spring sets the stage for robust plant growth and a good harvest.

Chemical Fertilizers

Commercial all-purpose chemical fertilizer mixtures are composed of macronutrients, substances that most plants need the most of grow, and micronutrients, which are needed in smaller amounts. The numbers on the bundle refer to the amounts of the three most important nutrients present in a specific mix. Blends labelled as N-P-K reflect nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium content, and each is represented by a number that indicates its portion. General all-purpose fertilizers which can be utilized by most plants may examine 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Both reflect equal levels of all three macronutrients from the mixture, while a mixture of 10-15-10 indicates equal levels of potassium and nitrogen but a large quantity of phosphorous. All mixtures include varying trace levels of other nutrients like iron, boron, calcium and manganese. Chemical fertilizers should be added to the garden a few days before planting to allow it time to disperse in the soil and not build to dangerous concentrations.


Farmers routinely utilize animal manure in their gardens with wonderful results. Like compost, manure ought to be well-aged, as the heat given off during decomposition can be lethal to tender plants if applied as soon. A way around this is to put fresh manure around the lawn in the fall, making it ample time to decompose in the ground throughout the winter months and won’t pose a threat to developing plants. Otherwise, working lots of old manure into the top 6 inches of garden soil in the spring provides the majority of the nutrients required for good plant development.


Even within the confines of an uncontested lawn, soil quality may vary considerably and is best determined by analyzing the soil to determine which nutrients are lacking. Unlike a lot of vegetables and flowers that manufacture their own nitrogen, grass takes it straight from the ground. The ideal fertilizer to put down at the spring includes a high degree of nitrogen, along with smaller amounts of phosphorous and potassium. The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension suggests a blend rated as 32-3-4, 18-0-3 or even 26-4-12 in the event you have not completed a soil test, as these mixtures provide small amounts of phosphorous, a mineral that’s ordinarily found in adequate amounts in most soil.


There is much documentation regarding the dangers of using chemical fertilizers. Synthetic substances added to the ground may actually do more harm than good, destroying precious organic substances in addition to the microorganisms that do the majority of the work of breaking the soil down. 1 compromise is to choose organic blends of commercial fertilizers made from natural materials. They break down more slowly in the ground, are not harmful to plants, and do not promote the increasing amounts of pollution found in rivers, streams and lakes caused by the use of chemical fertilizers.

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