Taking on lawn care projects can often be a confusing task. Alongside deciding what you want to accomplish and learning how to do it comes the subsequent research regarding what you need to shop for. Surprisingly, one of the most commonly misunderstood elements of lawn care is fertilization. In particular, the different types of fertilizer and how they affect your turf.

2 Primary Types of Fertilizer

There are tons of different fertilizers on the market. When selecting a fertilizer, you’ll be met with all sorts of terms – natural, organic, manufactured, synthetic, artificial, etc. etc. etc.

But what are the key differences between these fertilizers? Even more so, which ones are best for your plants, the soil, and your future lawn care projects? We have boiled the majority of fertilizers down into two simple categories that we will be discussing for the sake of this article:

Petroleum Fertilizers

Petroleum fertilizers, also referred to as synthetic, manufactured, artificial, or chemical fertilizers have strategically been made from a combination of various manufactured chemical fillers. In other words, each of the compounds present in a petroleum fertilizer is the byproduct of careful producing and refining of various chemicals, and precise measurements for the balance of each in the final product.

Carbon Fertilizers

A carbon fertilizer on the other hand (also known as natural or organic fertilizer) has endured a very low-degree of producing and manufacturing. They are rich in naturally carbon-heavy ingredients making them the most similar to standard soil. You can think of carbon fertilizers as a sample of what “perfect” naturally-occurring soil might look like – without the human altering, refining, and manufacturing of chemicals.

Which Is Better: Petroleum vs. Carbon Fertilizers

Selecting which fertilizer you should use will greatly depend on the type of project you are doing. As a general rule of thumb, petroleum-based fertilizers are not nearly as environmentally friendly as carbon-based fertilizers. When embarking on a lawncare project, keep the following in mind:

Petroleum Fertilizers: Petroleum fertilizers are not a very sustainable solution, and for a few reasons. Firstly, these fertilizers are mixtures of non-naturally occurring chemicals. Very quickly, the fertilizer disperses and looses its effectiveness. Secondly, the fertilizer can be harmful to your personal soil, making it difficult to grow crops later on as your soil essentially becomes “infected” by chemicals. And lastly, petroleum fertilizers can leak into waterways which causes all sorts of issues.

Essentially, petroleum fertilizers are quick “Band-Aid” fixes to soil-related problems that require much bigger answers.

Carbon Fertilizers: Carbon-based fertilizers on the other hand are not a “Band-Aid” fix to soil problems. Rather, they help by becoming a part of the soil structure to build healthier soil for current and future lawn care projects. Carbon fertilizers actually strengthen your ground and give it the nutrients your turf need, rather than offering a temporary burst of energy.

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