What Is Slow-Release Lawn Fertilizer?

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The vibrant green lawn of your dreams can only be achieved by adding fertilization to your lawn care routine. Given the abundant types of fertilizers available, you should acquaint yourself with the primary types. Among them is slow-release fertilizer, a type of fertilizer that releases nutrients slowly over time. This is in contrast to fast-release fertilizers, which release their nutrients quickly. Slow-release fertilizers are often used in gardening and landscaping because they can help to prevent nutrient burn and leaching.

Two Main Types Of Slow-Release Lawn Fertilizers

organic fertilizer

Though there are a variety of slow-release fertilizers, the two most common ones you will encounter are:

  • Slowly soluble or coated slow-release fertilizers are usually found in pellet form for farmers and sometimes for lawn care experts. This type of fertilizer releases nutrients depending on the soil moisture and temperature and sometimes can take up to a year or more to fully release.
  • Organic slow-release fertilizers are made from natural materials that break down slowly in the soil, releasing nutrients as they do. Examples of organic slow-release fertilizers include manure, bone meal, and fish emulsion.

Choosing which type of slow-release fertilizer works best for you and your lawn depends on various factors, including your budget and the time you have to dedicate to the job. Also, things like smell are a consideration, as organic fertilizers tend to have a pungent odor.

Benefits Of Slow-Release Lawn Fertilizer

Scaled Granular fertilizer example
  • Prevents nutrient burn: Because the nutrients are released slowly, there is less risk of nutrient burn.
  • Reduces leaching: Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to leach out of the soil, which can help to protect the environment.
  • Provides a steady supply of nutrients: Slow-release fertilizers provide a steady supply of nutrients to plants, which can help to promote healthy growth.
  • Lasts longer: Slow-release fertilizers typically last longer than water-soluble fertilizers, so you don't have to apply them as often.
  • Good for established plants: Slow-release fertilizers are a good choice for established plants, as they can help to prevent the need for frequent fertilizing.

Drawbacks Of Slow-Release Lawn Fertilizers

granular fertilizer in lawn
  • More expensive: Slow-release fertilizers are typically more expensive than water-soluble fertilizers.
  • Less convenient: Slow-release fertilizers need to be applied less often than water-soluble fertilizers, but they can be tricky to apply. When not applied correctly, they either don’t produce desirable results or do more harm than good.
  • May not be as effective in sandy soils: Slow-release fertilizers may not be as effective in sandy soils, as the nutrients can leach out more easily.
  • Not as effective for immediate results: Slow-release fertilizers do not provide an immediate boost of nutrients, so they may not be as effective for plants that need a quick growth boost.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use slow-release fertilizer depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a fertilizer less likely to cause a nutrient burn or leach out of the soil, then slow-release fertilizer may be a good option. However, if you are looking for a more convenient fertilizer that provides immediate results, you may want to consider using a water-soluble fast-release fertilizer.

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