Foolproof Fall Fertilizers

September 25, 2008 · Print This Article

Fall Fertilizing

With fall in full swing, it is duration to starting think about fertilization…for your garden that is.  Why now? Fall fertilizing nourishes and strengthens your plants’ and lawn’s roots.  And stronger roots will give them a stronger base on which to thrive next spring.  Many of the fertilizers you find in the store are of the chemical variety and while they may force your plants to grow, they are actually quite harmful to the environment, particularly the waterways in which they will eventually runoff.  For help in finding organic fertilizers that are good for both my yard and the environement as a whole I turned to Harold Enger, franchise support director of training for Spring-Green Lawn Care, and Certified Turfgrass Professional.  Here are Harold’s fall fertilzing tips for green parents:

There are numerous choices now available to the average homeowner when it comes to selecting an organic fertilizer.  It is not as simple as going to the local hardware store and picking up the a bag or two of the most popular sort of fertilizer.  Part of the decision making process is determining the source of the organic part of the fertilizer.  You can purchase fertilizers that are derived from compost, humus compost, compost tea, fish, poultry waste, manures, bio solids, seaweed, molasses, fulvic acid, humic acid, etc.  Regardless of the type you choose, there are a few considerations you should think about before completing your purchase.

  1. Test your soil to determine what it needs. Soil tests can range in price for about $25.00 to several hundred dollars.  A basic analysis will supply a pH level and often the
    amount of amount of nutrients that are available in the soil.  The more complex tests will supply such things as the Cation Exchange Capacity, micronutrient amounts, per cent of organic matter, and the amount of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, molds and fungi present in your soil.  Understanding and interpreting the results is as complex as you think it is, so be certain to choose a lab that can supply recommendations based on the results.  There are many fine soil examining labs, so do an Web search on soil evaluating labs in your state.  Follow these recommendations when determining the amount and type of products to apply.
  2. Look for products that have the OMRI symbol.  According to their website, “The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a national nonprofit organization that determines which input products are allowed for use in organic production and processing.  OMRI Listed-or approved-products may be used on operations that are certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program.”
  3. Review the product label before purchasing.  Some organic products require a large quantity of material to be applied to meet soil analysis requirements, which can cost a lot more than you expect.  plus look for special application equipment that may be needed to apply the product.  Finally, check the odor.  Some products, particularly the manure and fish based products can be rather pungent.

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