What Exactly is Synthetic Fertilizer?
Synthetic fertilizer is also known inorganic fertilizer, artificial fertilizer, chemical fertilizer, and other various names. The following is a short, but helpful, definition, of chemical fertilizers by California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Agency, which defines synthetic fertilizers as:
” . . . chemically manufactured materials containing one or more of the primary nutrients necessary for plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.”
Natural Organic Fertilizer
The following, on natural fertilizers, will help you understand artificial fertilizer Organic fertilizer, either manufactured or DIY, uses organic material like manure, lawn grass, etc., as plant food. An example of manufactured natural plant food is the Fox Farm Trio, which contains essential nutrients for all plant growth stages. DIY compost is an example of organic fertilizer that is made from organic material.
How Do Fertilizers Help?
You need to understand the general benefits of fertilizer to understand why you would or would not use chemical fertilizer. Both synthetic and natural fertilizers have the following benefits.
Promote Soil Structure (Soil pH, Soil Health, etc.)
The growing medium, like soil, is the most important factor in the success or failure of your crop Soil health involves many aspects, like the presence of soil microbes. Therefore, successful
Increased Crop Yield
Synthetic and organic fertilizers, when correctly applied, are essential in helping the world meet the global food demands and also help maximize your harvest potential.
Controversy Behind Artificial/Synthetic Fertilizers
Synthetic Fertilizers, for many, have a bad reputation. Synthetic fertilizers have a purpose in
This article is a wart and all review of the pros and cons of synthetic fertilizer. This evaluation only considers the proven scientific benefits and detriments of synthetic fertilizer. As such, ethical considerations that are either not scientifically driven or do not affect inorganic fertilizer’s user or effectiveness will not be factored into this evaluation.
This blog post will cover the following in this article:
- General Overview-I will, in layman’s terms, General Overview-I will Inexamine what synthetic fertilizers are and the different common types of chemical fertilizers.
- Organic Fertilizer-In order to understand chemical fertilizers, you should have at least basic knowledge of natural fertilizers.
- Pros and Cons-Synthetic fertilizers, advantages, and disadvantages will be compared to organic fertilizers.
FYI-You most likely already know that Nitrogen and Phosphorus are both essential plant nutrients. However, if you need a review or are wondering why this is so, CLICK HERE for the specific reasons why nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients for growing marijuana plants.
Common Synthetic Fertilizers
Ammonium phosphate and anhydrous Ammonia are two common chemical fertilizers.
NH43P04 fertilizer is manufactured by making the chemical AmmoniaAmmonia reacting with plain phosphorus acid or a mix of sulfuric and nitric acids. This reaction results in NH43P04 being an invaluable nitrogen and phosphorus plant nutrient resource.
Ammonium phosphate fertilizers are known for the following:
- Above Average Water Solubility-Water solubility helps with plant nutrient balance and allows plants to take in nutrients quicker.
- Eas of Use-Pellet or liquid fertilizers are easier to apply than almost all DIY organic matter.
- Cheap-Compared to organic fertilizer like Fox Farm, Trio, and Organic Plant Magic, inorganic plant food is significantly cheaper.
Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3)
Anhydrous Ammonia (AKA-“Synthetic Nitrogen”) is known for the following:
- Best Seller-popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. It does, though, mean that NH3 has been extensively testedtesteHowever, it does and is proven to get the job done.
- Ease of Use-Compared to most natural fertilizers, like compost, NH3 is easier to apply.
Danger Warning-NH3 is safe when used properly, which means that all safety precautions are followed However, NH3 is made from Ammonia, which is a toxic substance. According to its Material Safety Data Sheet, NH3 can cause damage if it comes in contact with your skin, eyes, or its toxic fumes are inhaled. Specifically, the following injuries can occur.
NH3 Health Concerns
1 Severe Skin Dehydration
2. Caustic Skin burns
3 Frost Bite
Pros and Cons of Synthetic Fertilizer (Comparison to Organic fertilizer)
- Quick Acting-Chemical fertilizers, water-solubility, work more quickly than other organic fertilizers. As a result, chemical fertilizers are the best for emergency situations when time is of the essence.
- Ease Of Use and Application-Whether you buy your synthetic fertilizer in pellet or liquid form, chemical fertilizer is simply easier to apply.
- More Precise-Chemical fertilizers can also be more precisely applied.
- Cheaper-It might seem surprising to some. But, chemical fertilizers, in comparison to manufactured organic fertilizers, are cheaper. The following example is based on different costs between organic and inorganic lawn fertilizer. It is applicable to a general cost comparison between organic and synthetic plant nutrients. This cost example is based upon fertilizing 8,000 sq feet of lawn. Per the article, synthetic fertilizer will cost around $50 to $95 to fertilize an 8,000 square feet lawn. On the other hand, organic fertilizer costs $25 to $80 to fertilize the 8,000 square foot lawn.
- Crop yields-At least according to this scientific study, organic fertilizers like manure work better to increase the overall soil fertility and soil health, which yields- Accordingleads to better crop yields.
- Decreased Soil Health-Chemical fertilizer, unlike organic fertilizers, likely will not help with long-term soil health, and synthetic fertilizer might actually hurt the soil in the long run.
- Fertilizer Runoff-Synthetic fertilizers, as they are more potent, are a significant cause of fertilizer runoff.
- Detrimental to Plant Root Health-Chemical fertilizers can result in excessive top plant growth. This excessive plant growth will result in your plant roots being stressed and damaged.
- Nutrient Burn-Chemical fertilizers are stronger than organic fertilizers. Therefore, it is easier for you to apply too many chemical fertilizers that cause damaging effects like plant nutrient burn.
- Less Beginner Friendly-Synthetic fertilizers work quicker and are more potent than natural fertilizers; However, the above also means that they are less forgiving. So, it can be harder to fix if you apply too much.