What Is Fast-Release Fertilizer?

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spraying fertilizer on a lawn

One of the most important decisions you'll need to make when choosing a fertilizer for your lawn is whether you should use fast-release or slow-release fertilizer. While slow-release fertilizer feeds nutrients to your lawn slowly over a long period of time, fast-release fertilizer will release the nutrients much more rapidly for a significant boost and quick results. Slow-release fertilizer is best applied in the spring and fall, but fast-release fertilizer may be needed in the summer to help your lawn survive the heat.

Fast-release fertilizers are typically made with water-soluble nutrients, such as ammonium nitrate, urea, and potassium nitrate. These nutrients are easily dissolved in water and quickly absorbed by plant roots.

Often used when plants need a quick boost of nutrients, such as newly planted seedlings or lawns that are recovering from damage, they can also be used to help plants recover from drought or other stresses.

However, fast-release fertilizers can also be harmful to plants if they are over-applied. Too much fertilizer can burn plant roots and damage the plant.

Pros Of Fast-Release Fertilizers

liquid fertilizer spreader

There are a lot of benefits to using fast-release fertilizers, especially when considering the health and needs of your lawn. Here are some examples:

  • Quick results: Fast-release fertilizers provide quick results, which can be helpful for plants that need a boost of nutrients. For example, if you have a newly planted tree or shrub, you can use a fast-release fertilizer to help it get off to a good start.
  • Easy to apply: Fast-release fertilizers are easy to apply, and they can be applied to the soil or as a foliar spray. This makes them a good option for people who don't have a lot of experience with fertilizing plants.
  • Inexpensive: Fast-release fertilizers are typically less expensive than slow-release fertilizers, making them a budget-friendly choice that allows you to give your lawn the boost it needs without compromising on price.

Fast-release fertilizers perform similar functions as slow-release types, just at a quicker rate. They are beneficial because plants receive nutrients immediately. The water-soluble nitrogen (WSN) contained in the compost opens up when broken down in the water. Rainfall or irrigation can both be used to achieve that process.

The pros of fast-release fertilizers are that they work quicker and are more affordable than slow or controlled-released fertilizers. Fast-release fertilizers are generally easily found at garden centers and show immediate results on your lawn and plants.

Cons Of Fast-Release Fertilizers

dry grass

Although there are many benefits to using fast-release fertilizers, there are some drawbacks that you should consider when using them.

  • Can burn plants: If over-applied, fast-release fertilizers can burn plant roots and damage the plant. It is important to follow the directions on the fertilizer label carefully to avoid over-applying.
  • Not as effective for long-term use: Fast-release fertilizers are not as effective for long-term use as slow-release fertilizers. This is because they release all their nutrients at once, so they must be applied more frequently.
  • Can leach out of the soil: Fast-release fertilizers can leach out if not applied correctly. This can be hazardous as it can contaminate waterways and pollute the environment.

Overall, fast-release fertilizers can be useful for providing plants with a quick boost of nutrients. However, it is important to use them carefully to avoid burning plants or leaching nutrients out of the soil.

Additional Tips For Using Fast-Release Fertilizer

fertilize your lawn sign

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when using fast-release fertilizer:

  • Read the label carefully: Fast-release fertilizers come in a variety of forms and release nutrients at different rates. It is important to read the label carefully to ensure you are using the right fertilizer for your plants.
  • Apply the fertilizer correctly: Fast-release fertilizers should be applied according to the directions on the label. Over-applying fertilizer can be harmful to plants.
  • Water the soil and plants thoroughly: After applying fast-release fertilizer, it is important to water the soil deeply. This will help the fertilizer to dissolve and release nutrients into the soil.

If you are considering using fast-release fertilizer, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. If you are looking for a fertilizer that will give your plants a quick boost of nutrients, then fast-release fertilizer may be a good option. However, if you are looking for a fertilizer that will provide your plants with a long-term supply of nutrients, consider using a slow-release fertilizer.