Liquid Organic Fertilizer

May 1, 2014
  • Liquid Organics Fertilizer bottles

What are Liquid Fertilizers?

Liquid fertilizers are water-soluble powders or liquid concentrates that mix with water to make a fertilizer solution. They can be messier than granular types because of the mixing, and some contain a blue or green dye that makes for easy identification but can stain. There are liquid synthetic fertilizers and liquid organics available at most hardware stores. They usually require a hose-end sprayer, watering can, backpack sprayer or large tanks. The liquid organic nutrients generally last 1 to 2 weeks, so you need to reapply often. Liquid fertilizers are quickly absorbed, so plants get their benefits soon after you apply them. Quickly absorbed may not be a good thing, if treating a lawn, depending on the time of year. They are great as a starter solution and for a quick boost during the growing season but not throughout the year or as a whole program. Liquid fertilizers are also useful to supplement granular fertilizers for potted plants because frequent watering of containers leaches nutrients.  A granular program is always recommend for turf care and about 90% of all fertilizers are applied as solids.

Fish Emulsion

Fish emulsion is a popular liquid organic concentrate fertilizer that is great for gardens, but be forewarned that if raccoons and other critters are a problem in your garden, you might find some digging around fresh applications until the fishy aroma is gone. You can apply it regularly through the growing season, or use it as a supplement. You can buy them in several different forms. Fish emulsion is a liquid organic fertilizer that is produced from the fluid remains of fish processed for fish oil and fish meal industrially. Essentially it’s the fermented remains of the fish so it might not be the right product for everyone.

Compost Tea

Gardeners and turf professionals all know compost is terrific stuff. But there’s something even better than plain old compost, and that’s liquid organic compost tea. As the name implies, compost tea is made by steeping compost in water. It’s used as either a foliar spray or a soil drench, depending on where your plant has problems or what you are trying to achieve.

Why brew, straining, and spraying a tea rather than just working compost into the soil? There are several reasons. First, compost tea makes the benefits of compost go farther. What’s more, when sprayed on the leaves, compost tea helps suppress foliar diseases, increases the amount of nutrients available to the plant, and speeds the breakdown of toxins. Using compost tea has even been shown to increase the nutritional quality and improve turf. Applying compost to your soil the traditional way with bulk product or granular compost topdressing is always beneficial for the long term health of the soil. You may not get the full benefit of raising the organic matter with liquid organics or compost teas.

Downside of Liquid Organic Fertilizer

The main drawback to commercial fish emulsion is the the smell. All fish emulsions are good organic nitrogen suppliers, but they also supply phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, proteins and trace elements or micronutrients that are really needed to provide deep nutrition to your soil community and plants. Another down side to liquid fertilizer is that they are substantially water so when one looks too long term soil fertility building, liquids would take more doses then granular and take a lot longer to really get a measurable change in the soil. Liquids are applied as a foliar spray and it’s important to use recommended rates because these extracts can be potent.



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