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Inorganic Fertilizer

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The consumer should know how to read a bag of inorganic fertilizer. Generally, you will see three numbers on the bag. These numbers refer to the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer. If a bag has 10-10-10, there is 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus and 10 percent potassium in the fertilizer. That is on 30 percent worth of nutrients. The rest of the ingredients vary, depending on the manufacturer. Some of it may be trace amounts of nutrients, but most of it is filler material, which helps to apply the inorganic fertilizer more evenly.

Advantages of Inorganic Fertilizer:

When using inorganic fertilizers, the nutrients are immediately available to the plants, since they do not have to be broken down. When using organic fertilizers, the nutrients must be broken down and absorbed into the soil before they do any good. If the plant is not getting the proper nutrients, inorganic fertilizer is better, as it gets the much-needed nutrients to the plant much faster.

When using inorganic fertilizers, the plants get the exact amount of nutrients needed as the basic elements of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus are already broken down and ready to use and to create a neutral soil. Inorganic fertilizer is also cheap to use. Organic fertilizer can be cheap if one makes it him or herself, but it takes time to make it. Inorganic fertilizers are good for people who are short on time and money, but would like to have a healthy garden.

Disadvantages of Inorganic Fertilizer:

Inorganic nutrient salts require regular application and lots of watering. An inorganic fertilizer may cause rapid growth, which makes the plants or lawn susceptible to disease and pests. It can also stimulate growth that is not well-timed with environmental conditions. If a homeowner fertilizes in the fall, this will create new growth that will not have time to harden before the first frost of the season, and may damage the plant or grass.

Some inorganic fertilizers destroy the micro-organisms that are useful for healthy plants and can burn plant roots and otherwise ruin the soil structure. Inorganic fertilizers are also washed out and can pollute water courses. They can lead to large scale soil erosion and degradation of the land.

The best places to use inorganic fertilizer are in container gardens or hydroponics—inorganic nutrients play an important role when growing these types of gardens, though nutrients can still be washed away during normal irrigation or watering.

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