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Fertilizer Types - Different Types of Fertilizers

Author : Doctor Liu Date : 4/17/2012 12:06:42 AM
Fertilizer Types - Different Types of Fertilizers
Different types of fertilizers of diverse formulations are used in plants. This is because each plant has different nutritional requirements and the fertility of the soil also varies from one place to another. Read on to know more about some variety of fertilizers…
Fertilizers are complex chemical compounds that are necessary for proper growth and development of plants. It is either added to the soil or applied on the leaves of the plants in the liquidated form. Fertilizers can be broadly categorized into two different types - organic fertilizers and inorganic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers include - cow manure, green manure, organic compost, etc. The inorganic fertilizers are chemical substances that are prepared specifically to suit a particular purpose. They are also known as chemical fertilizers and are usually available in powdered and granular form. Some of them are found in the form of liquid also.

Fertilizers primarily supply three major nutrients to the soil. They are - Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). That is why they are commonly referred to as NPK fertilizers.

Fertilizers with Nitrogen Content

In each type of nitrogen fertilizer, the nitrogen present in it combines with other elements in a definite manner. Here are two examples of nitrogen fertilizers:

Urea: It is rich in nitrogen content. On application, the nitrogen present in it gets converted into ammonia. It readily dissolves in water and is capable of showing quick results. It is found in the form of granules or pellets and is white in color. Due to its tendency to absorb moisture from the air, it is often coated with a thin layer of non-hygroscopic material. Normally, it is applied during sowing time. However, care should be taken that it does not make physical contact with the seeds.

Organic Fertilizer with Nitrogen Content: Blood meal, oil cakes and fish manure are some examples of the fertilizers of this type. Nitrogen present in the fertilizers need to be converted into a usable form through bacterial action. It is a slow process and hence used along with some quick action fertilizers. The benefit of these fertilizers are that they also contain some other elements that are required by the plants. For instance, oil cakes have traces of phosphorus and potash, and also organic matter in large amounts.

Fertilizers with Phosphorus Content

The main ingredient of phosphorus fertilizers is either naturally occurring phosphates or artificially synthesized phosphates. Here are two examples:

Bone Meal: There are two kinds of this phosphate fertilizer - raw and steamed. Raw bone meal contains phosphorus and little nitrogen, and is insoluble in water. On the other hand, nitrogen is absent in steamed bone meal due to high pressure steaming. It is quite brittle and can be grounded to powder. It is good for those soils which are acidic in nature. It is applied to the soil either during sowing or few days before sowing.

Superphosphate: In this fertilizer, phosphorus is present in the form of phosphoric acid. Based on the manufacturing process, superphosphate has three different grades - single, triple and dicalcium. When added to the soil, its phosphoric acid changes to water soluble phosphate. It is suitable for all types of soils and is used during the time of sowing or transplantation.

Fertilizers with Potassium Content

The two most widely used variety of potassium fertilizers are - sulfate of potash and muriate of potash. Both of them are highly soluble in water and are added before or during sowing. Potassium fertilizers are good for sandy soil. It helps to improve the quality of the crops. It is used for some particular crops like chilies, potato, fruit trees, etc. It should be applied only if the potassium content of the soil is inadequate.

The basic advantage of inorganic fertilizers as compared to organic fertilizers is that they are far less bulky. As a result, it becomes easier for the plants to carry them from the soil to its different parts. On the other hand, the upside of organic fertilizers is that they do not cause burns to the roots of the plants, they do not mix up with ground water and cause water pollution, nor do they adversely affect the growth of surrounding plants.