Why Use Organic Fertilizer?

This chart shows the benefits of using an organic fertilizer like Milorganite versus a synthetic fertilizer.

The nutrients in fertilizers come from many sources. Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured using mined minerals, gasses from the air, and other resources. The nutrients in organic fertilizers are obtained from natural sources, including microbes, waste, and other similar materials. There are many benefits to using organic fertilizers.

Soil is a Living Ecosystem

The key to a healthy lawn and garden is healthy soil—a living, breathing ecosystem.

The primary components of soil are minerals (non-organic materials), organic materials, water, and air. While the soil minerals and organic matter hold the nutrients, water makes it possible for the plants to absorb those nutrients.

The organic matter in soil improves the soil’s capacity to hold water and nutrients, releasing them as needed by plants. It also feeds the microorganisms, which in turn makes nutrients available to plants, as well as improves the soil structure. But that’s only the start.

A healthy soil ecosystem is teaming with beneficial bacteria, fungi, and countless microorganisms, as well as the critters we can see, like earthworms and insects.

Nutrients Released Slowly

Organic fertilizers feed the soil, which allows the nutrients to be released slowly at a rate consistent with what plants need. Plants receive a well-balanced diet, including a broad range of vital, naturally occurring trace minerals and micro-nutrients. Nutrients released slowly stimulate consistent growth and root development and don’t need to be applied as often. Synthetic fertilizers release nutrients quickly, which promotes rapid, excessive growth, which means you’re going to be fertilizing and cutting the lawn more often.

Organic Fertilizers Won’t Burn Your Lawn

You’ve seen lawns striped with brown, dead grass. That’s chemical burn resulting from synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers won’t burn plants and don’t need to be watered-in, which can help conserve water. Nutrients in organic fertilizers are also less likely to leach into groundwater or contaminate waterways.

Joe Lamp’l, the host of Growing a Greener World® and one of the country’s most trusted sustainable gardening personalities, offers additional organic lawn care solutions.

This video shows how to select a fertilizer, and the benefits of organic vs. synthetic fertilizer.