With 82% of U.S. households buying organic products, according to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizers are going to be an important tool for fertilizer users to consider when building programs. Here are 8 advantages and disadvantages to consider when using organic fertilizers in your program.
What is an organic fertilizer?
Organic fertilizer is usually made from plant or animal waste – think manure or compost. They can also be highly processed products with a compost or manure base.
What are the advantages of using organic fertilizer?
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Because of the organic matter present in organic fertilizer, soil structure is improved and as a result the soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients increases.
>>For additional information on organic matter, read our blog: What is Humus?
2. Microbes Thrive
Synthetic fertilizer consists of chemical molecules without carbon. These molecules can sometimes be disruptive and are not accessible to microbes. On the other hand, organic fertilizer is rich in organic matter, which helps microbes thrive. Organic fertilizer contains carbon as part of its chemical makeup; and it is the carbon, along with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that feeds microbes and enables them to make nutrients available for plants in a naturally occurring biological process.
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3. Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly
Synthetic fertilizers runoff into our waterways harming marine life and water quality. Organic fertilizers do not run off as easily (if at all) and are associated with soil structure. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizer also increases species biodiversity by 30% compared with synthetic fertilizer.
>>To learn more about fertilizer run off, check out this article: What Are Marine Dead Zones?
4. Reduce Fertilizers and Pesticides
Although organic fertilizer can be more costly than synthetic, it can reduce the need for pesticides and the overall nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium requirements. Because of the reductions, organic fertilizer can be cost neutral and sometimes a cost savings.
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5. Plant Damage Threat Avoided
Some synthetic fertilizers can cause plant damage to leaves and roots. This is less likely with organic fertilizers.
What are the disadvantages of using organic fertilizers?
1. Not All Products Are Created Equally
Not all products are created equally and many organic products produce inconsistent results. Make sure you are selecting a product that is industry vetted by reviewing any university studies or case studies.
2. Nutrient Levels Are Low
The level of nutrients present in organic fertilizer is often low. In addition, the nutrients are usually complexed in organic chemical structure; this means using organic fertilizer may not produce the pop of color seen with a chemical fertilizer. Using an organic fertilizer is a process, not an event.
3. DIY Compost is a Complicated Procedure
While you can produce your own compost, it’s a messy and complicated process that often leads to an inconsistent product and end-result.
Interested in going organic without the hassle?
Holganix Bio 800⁺ products are 100% organic and allow contractors to reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticides by 50 - 75% while still providing results at par or better than traditional chemical fertilizers and pesticides alone. Bio 800⁺ products are plant probiotics filled with over 800 species of beneficial soil microbes that are microscopic fertilizer factories - converting nutrients that are unavailable, increasing the soil’s ability to hold onto nutrients longer and protecting the plant from stress caused by weather, disease and traffic.
By utilizing a Holganix Bio 800⁺ product with reduced fertilizer and pesticides, you balance the need for a quick result seen with a chemical fertilizer and a safe, environmentally friendly result seen with an organic.
Further, Holganix spends over six figures on university trials to vet out product claims and has over 70 case studies recorded with Holganix products.