Advantages & Disadvantages of Fertilizers

Many farmers and gardeners rely on fertilizers to help them grow plants, flowers or crops. Given the demand for food crops across the globe, it is no surprise that there are many forms of fertilizers available. Although fertilizers have many benefits, they also have disadvantages that are worth considering prior to their use.

  1. Effective Growth

    • Plants need the necessary nutrients to grow properly. They can generally feed on nutrients available to them naturally, but fertilizers can help plants grow faster by providing nutrients directly. Fertilizers also help plants become more resilient to negative factors affecting their growth, including pests and diseases.

    Organic or Chemical?

    • Many environmentalists claim that organic fertilizers are safer since they don't release any harmful chemicals or unnatural products, which are associated with many chemical fertilizers. Many farmers and gardeners prefer to use organic fertilizers because they have very few side effects. How and when a fertilizer is applied is considered to be even more important than the type of fertilizer used by many farmers.


    • It can be difficult to determine the correct amount of fertilizer to apply. Too little can deprive plants of needed nutrients and stunt their growth, while too much can dry them out or burn them--especially when chemical fertilizers are used.


    • Timing is a key factor to fertilizer success. Both the season and the weather must be considered, since air temperature, soil temperature, rain and lack of rain can affect how effective fertilizers are. Unlike the chemical form, which makes nutrients instantly available to plants, some organic fertilizers are slower to act, so the timing of application depends on how soon the nutrients will be available to be absorbed by the plants.


    • Fertilizers don't lessen the hard work in gardening and farming; plants still require constant maintenance. Fertilizers are not always effective.

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  • Photo Credit crops in rows image by david hughes from

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