Much debate has been had on this subject and it really just boils down to this; at the most basic level, nutrients are nutrients. However, there are significant differences between organic and synthetic fertilizers in terms of nutrient availability and the long-term effects on soil and plants.
There are also lawn programs that are Organic-Based, or have added Soil Conditioners, Micro-Nutrients, Bio-Stimulants, Bio-Root Enhancers, Humeric Acid, Mycorrhizae, etc. These added enhancements create a middle ground between Synthetic and Organic Lawn Fertilizer Programs giving you the homeowner another option but beware, it also gives companies the chance to mislead you into thinking what they are doing is “safer” or better for the environment and worth paying more for. Let’s refer to these upgrades as “Organically Enhanced”.
Here’s what I have experienced over my 29 years in the lawncare industry ranked 1 star to 5 (best)
How do you choose?
There is no right answer. It comes down to what you want to accomplish, why do you want it done and how much are you willing to budget to achieve the desired results. What I can tell you is if you are concerned with the environmental impact and the safety of your family, which most of us are, there are a few questions I would ask a service provider before hiring them:
- How much experience does the person coming to treat my lawn have and what type of training has he had?
- Do you practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management) to minimize the use of pesticides when possible?
- Can you call or text me prior to services so that I can plan to keep my family off the lawn for the designated time before re-entry?
- Do you blow off granules from all areas other than my lawn when you’re done?
In conclusion, one of the big short comings of a Synthetic Fertilizer Program is that it does little for the soil. One of the ways to remedy this is to stop bagging; grass clippings are too valuable to waste! When left on the lawn, properly mowed grass clippings filter down to the soil and decompose rapidly, usually within a few weeks. During the breakdown process, the clippings feed soil organisms, recycle plant nutrients, and contribute organic matter to the soil. They can account for up to one pound of nitrogen per year which is equivalent to one “Free” application of fertilizer.