Lawns prefer fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. Nitrogen fertilizers are available in fast and slow release forms. In fast release fertilizer, all the nitrogen is available immediately. Slow release fertilizers release nitrogen throughout a duration of time, gradually. This article will compare fast release fertilizer with slow release fertilizer, and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Fast release fertilizer advantages: A fast release fertilizer provides the needed nutrients immediately, which is useful especially when lawns are deficient or depleted. Fast release fertilizers are inexpensive, and they can be used at any time of the year that is good to apply fertilizer. Temperature does not impact the availability of the nutrients.
Fast release fertilizer disadvantages: The effectiveness of fast release fertilizers is short in duration, generally under a month. Plants absorb what they can and then the fertilizer is gone. What happens is a large flush of growth, followed by a crash as there is no supply of nutrients to maintain that growth. Inconsistent growth patterns can compromise the turf. Application must be more frequent. Fast release fertilizers are more susceptible to leaching, can impact the soil adversely, and generally need to be watered in to prevent burning the plants.
Slow release fertilizer advantages: Slow release fertilizers provide a consistent, gradual release of fertilizer into the lawn. This allows steady growth of the turf, and leads to stronger plants. Slow release fertilizers require less frequency of application, leach less, and have less risk of burning the foliage.
Slow release fertilizer disadvantages: Slow release fertilizers do not provide an immediate response when plants are deficient in nitrogen or other nutrients. It can be dependent on temperature to release the fertilizer, and be ineffective during colder periods. Slow release fertilizers generally cost more.
Mixed fertilizers: There are some lawn fertilizers that are a mix of fast and slow release fertilizers. These are mixed in order to overcome the disadvantages of each type and combine the advantages. If one type of fertilizer does not meet the needs of the situation, a mix may be better.
These are the advantages and disadvantages of fast-release and slow-release lawn fertilizer, and how they compare with each other. By knowing the pros and cons of each, homeowners can determine what type of lawn fertilizer is best.