There are few things more important to your landscape than nutrients. These are the chemical compounds that act as energy for chemical processes that motivate growth in your plant material. Easy ones like oxygen and water are drawn from the environment every day by every single plant in existence. Without these nutrients, your landscape would quickly die out. Even we as human beings require all sorts of nutrients to sustain ourselves and must put food and drink into our bodies to make that happen. The same can be said for plants, they need to be fed to get these nutrients. Shrubs, turf, and trees can gather enough to survive, but to thrive they need to be fed with fertilizer. This is direct nutrient addition to your soil, so here are the five types of fertilizers and when to use them. Note that most of these fertilizer varieties come in forms fit for different types of plant material.

types of fertilizer

1. Organic Fertilizers

Starting with one of the healthiest fertilizers for your landscape, organic fertilizers are full of nutrients taken directly from living organisms. Chemical fertilizers are often criticized for the risks they impose on your landscape, such as nitrogen burn, and organic fertilizers avoid this issue entirely. Because they are composed of natural microorganisms, they can be applied at any time risk-free. Manure is a great example of organic fertilizer, although there are many types of organic lawn fertilizers that use compost as a primary ingredient.

2. Inorganic Fertilizers

These are the scary chemical fertilizers that you hear so much about on the news. The most common is composed of nutrients that plants have a hard time acquiring. Lawn fertilizers are usually inorganic, containing a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Each of these nutrients works on an individual part of the turf. Nitrogen for color, while phosphorus and potassium focus on long-term root development and energy for the plant.

3. Slow-Release Fertilizers

As we mentioned before, many people are scared of the effects that chemical fertilizers can have on their lawns. It is true that too much too soon can cause permanent damage to your landscape. Slow-release fertilizers control this by releasing over a longer period of time, which also saves you money by decreasing the frequency at which you need to fertilize.

4. Dry Fertilizer

Typically coming in the form of powder, dust, or the most common: granular, dry fertilizer is anything that is not liquid. This means that dry fertilizer can fall into any of the three previous categories, and is just the medium by which it is applied. The appeal is an easy application, simply needing to scatter dry fertilizer across the plant material in question. It is also best used when the turf is also dry, not wet, a common misconception.

5. Liquid Fertilizer

Also referred to as “water-soluble” fertilizer, this is any fertilizer that is mixed with water. The advantage of these fertilizers is the quick boost they can provide and the fact that they can be applied up to once a week. They also usually come in some sort of spraying can, which makes for easy application by most beginner gardeners. This also includes foliar feeding, which is spraying fertilizer directly onto the plant’s foliage for absorption.


Your landscaping is the first thing noticed by your visitors, friends, and customers. Let OakLawn Landscaping ensure that your first impressions are top-notch and have your guests in awe before they even reach the door. Visit our website, or contact us today at (301) 854-0684 for any of your landscaping needs, commercial or residential.

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