Plants need the best conditions to thrive. The right amount of sunlight and water can encourage the growth of them. Not only that, but you also need to grow them in the best soil type. Sometimes, you have to add fertilizers, especially if the soil lacks the nutrients plants need to survive. There are different types of fertilizers, and we’re here to help you learn more about them. We’re also here to answer the question that most beginners in gardening ask, “Does fertilizer expire?”
What is Fertilizer?
Fertilizers refer to the chemical substances that you need to supply to the crops to increase their productivity. Usually, they are used by farmers to increase crop yield. Fertilizers contain the essential nutrients required by the plants, such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Using fertilizers enhances the water retention capacity of the soil and increases its fertility. When buying lawn fertilizer, make sure to check the bag for a set of three numbers showing the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Expert gardeners recommended buying a bag with a “0” in the middle.
Different Types of Fertilizers
As mentioned, there are several types of fertilizers, and we’re here to differentiate them. Take a look at the following kind of fertilizers:
- Liquid Fertilizers
Liquid fertilizers refer to the water-soluble fertilizers that should be diluted in water. Once done, you can apply them to the soil with a hose-end sprayer or watering pot. Liquid fertilizers can release nutrients to the soil and improve plant growth within a few days of application. Since liquid fertilizers supply nutrients to the soil for only two to three weeks, they require frequent reapplication.
- Nitrogen Fertilizers
Nitrogen fertilizers are needed because they are responsible for plant growth. Nitrogen is an ingredient that encourages plants to continue to grow large and stem new leaves. Take note that both organic and inorganic fertilizers have sources of nitrogen in them.
- Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are made from natural and organic materials, including manure, compost, or other animal and plant products. They are a great source of nutrients, and they tend to work slowly and over the long term. Organic fertilizers are ideal because They can help to build up your soil over time. On the other hand, inorganic fertilizers are made up of chemical components that contain necessary nutrients. They are recommended for successful short-term growth.
- Phosphate Fertilizers
Phosphorus is a nutrient that plants need because it strengthens the root system and stems of a plant. If you want to improve flowering, seeding, and fruiting, you may give your plants phosphorus fertilizers.
- Potassium Fertilizers
Potassium fertilizers can help your plants grow deeper and stronger roots. Not only that, but they can also help protect your plants from harm when they are deprived of other nutrients. Potassium is vital for photosynthesis because it slows down any diseases that may infect your garden.
Does Fertilizer Expire?
Now that you already know the different types of fertilizers, one question that could pop into your mind is, “Do fertilizers expire?” The answer is yes because each type of fertilizer has its one shelf life. But the good news is fertilizer won’t go bad if you store it properly. Therefore, you need to manage leftover fertilizer appropriately. Doing so can help you prolong the shelf life of fertilizers.
All liquid fertilizers tend to have the most effective date or expiration date on the products. That’s why check the products and ensure that they are still within the best by date. Supposedly, the solutions are made from organic materials; they will break down quicker than the chemical varieties. Remember that both organic liquid fertilizers and chemical liquid fertilizers are known to settle over time.
To help you, here’s a list of fertilizers and their shelf life.
- Dry crystallized fertilizer: Lasts indefinitely
- Dry granular fertilizer: Lasts indefinitely
- Liquid mineral fertilizer: Up to 10 years
- Liquid organic fertilizer: 5-8 years
- Microbial Inoculants: 2 years
- Weed and feed fertilizer: 4 years
Fertilizers do expire, but you can prolong their shelf life if you store them properly. Don’t forget to learn more about the fertilizer you want to use or use right now. Check their shelf life and keep them properly to prevent them from expiring.