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Many people are still determining which is better for their lawn; granular or liquid fertiliser. Fertilising is an essential aspect of lawn care, so it’s important to understand the benefits of each and the correct time to use them on your particular lawn variety, whether it’s Sir Walter DNA Certified Buffalo, Eureka Premium VG Kikuyu, Tiftuf Bermuda, or any other species.
Liquid fertiliser tends to work faster than granular fertiliser. The nutrients are applied directly to the lawn leaf, so it is absorbed more quickly, and you’ll see a response from your lawn sooner. However, the rapid onset of action is offset by a shorter duration: liquid fertiliser doesn’t last as long within the lawn as granular does.
Liquid fertiliser can be a great product if your lawn is struggling from frost, drought, or high traffic and needs a quick boost of nutrients. It’s also perfect to use directly after mowing to reduce foliage stress to the cut leaf. But it’s not necessarily the best choice for routine lawn maintenance.
How long does liquid fertiliser take to work?
The time it takes for liquid fertiliser to work can vary depending on various factors, including the specific formulation of the fertiliser, the type of plant being fertilised, environmental conditions, and the overall health and condition of the soil.
In general, liquid fertilisers are designed to be quickly absorbed by plants and provide nutrients more rapidly compared to solid fertilisers. The nutrients in liquid fertilisers are already in a dissolved or readily available form, which allows plants to take them up more readily through their roots or leaves.
How to apply liquid fertiliser
To apply liquid fertiliser, follow these steps:
- Dilute if necessary
- Choose the application method – options include using a watering can, sprayer, hose-end applicator, or drip irrigation system.
- Apply liquid fertiliser during a time when the plants are actively growing
- Apply evenly
- Follow recommended rates
- Avoid foliage contact
- Clean up spills
- Water after application
Granular fertilisers are extremely popular and easy to apply. Because plant roots can only take up nutrients in liquid form, granular fertilisers must break down and dissolve in water within the soil before they can be absorbed. This means they deliver nutrients so much more slowly than liquid fertilisers – but the flip side is that the nutrients will be delivered over a longer period of time.
Granulated fertiliser will provide consistent delivery of nutrients over about an 8-week period. This is its biggest benefit, as it sustains better lawn health in the long term. The long duration of action makes maintaining your fertiliser program easy: all you need to do is apply the correct amount of granular fertiliser for your lawn every 2–3 months.
How much granular fertiliser should I use?
The amount of granular fertiliser to use depends on various factors, including the type of fertiliser, the specific nutrient requirements of your plants, the size of the area being fertilised, and the soil conditions. It's important to read and follow the instructions provided by the fertiliser manufacturer for accurate application rates.
Can you dissolve granular fertiliser in water?
Generally, water-soluble granular fertiliser products are designed to dissolve readily in water, while some slow-release or coated granular fertilisers are intended for gradual release and may not dissolve completely. These slow-release fertilisers are typically designed for application directly to the soil surface.
Liquid or granular fertiliser: which is better?
Liquid fertilisers and granular fertilisers are two common forms of fertilisers used in gardening and agriculture. Neither is necessarily better than the other right out of the box. The better choice for your lawn will depends on a few elements including:
Liquid fertilisers are typically more quickly available to plants compared to granular fertilisers. The nutrients in liquid fertilisers are already dissolved, making them readily accessible to plants upon application. Granular fertilisers, on the other hand, need time to break down and release their nutrients into the soil, which may require microbial activity or water to activate.
Liquid fertilisers are generally easier to apply and offer more flexibility. They can be applied as foliar sprays or through irrigation systems, allowing efficient and targeted nutrient delivery. Granular fertilisers require spreading or incorporation into the soil, which can be more labour-intensive, especially for large areas.
Liquid fertilisers provide better control over nutrient concentrations and ratios. It is easier to adjust the nutrient composition of liquid fertilisers by mixing different products or adjusting dilution ratios. Granular fertilisers often come in pre-formulated blends, limiting the ability to customise nutrient ratios.
Longevity and release rate
Granular fertilisers commonly come in slow-release or controlled-release formulations, providing a gradual and extended release of nutrients over time. This can reduce the frequency of application compared to liquid fertilisers, which may require more frequent reapplication to maintain nutrient levels.
Storage and shelf life
Liquid fertilisers generally have a shorter shelf life and may require proper storage conditions to maintain efficacy. Granular fertilisers, if stored properly, can have a longer shelf life and retain their nutrient content for an extended period.
Granular fertilisers are often more cost-effective than liquid fertilisers, especially when considering the amount of nutrients per unit of product. However, the cost-effectiveness can vary depending on the specific product, nutrient composition, and application requirements.
Plant uptake efficiency
Liquid fertilisers applied as foliar sprays can be quickly absorbed by plants through their leaves, bypassing soil nutrient availability limitations. This makes them advantageous for foliar feeding or correcting specific nutrient deficiencies. Granular fertilisers, once properly incorporated into the soil, provide nutrients to plant roots for uptake over time.
Ultimately, the choice between liquid fertilisers and granular fertilisers depends on factors such as the specific needs of your lawn, ease of application, desired nutrient release rate, and personal preference. Some gardeners may even combine both types to achieve optimal results.