What Are the Dangers of Miracle Grow?

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Farmers and home gardeners rely on commercial fertilizers.
Farmers and home gardeners rely on commercial fertilizers. (Image: fertile farmland valley image by Yali Shi from Fotolia.com)

Miracle-Gro is a brand of garden products produced by the Scotts Company, LLC. The brand line includes water-soluble fertilizer, granular fertilizer, bagged soil, and garden hardware such as hose sprayers. The original Miracle-Gro product, first marketed in 1951, is a water-soluble fertilizer sold as a blue powder.

Salts

Using an inorganic fertilizer, like the standard Miracle-Gro product, over a long period of time can encourage salt buildup in the soil. This decreases a plant's ability to take up nutrients.

Consumer Error

Since the original Miracle-Gro product is sold as a water-soluble powder, the consumer must mix the solution according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the consumer makes an error, their plants may receive too much or too little fertilizer.

Pesticides

In 2008, the EPA ordered the Scotts company to recall two Miracle-Gro products. These products contained a commonly used herbicide, trifluralin. Because the herbicide was not listed on the Miracle-Gro label, consumers may have been unknowingly exposed and may not have followed safe handling or disposal practices. The company recalled the products; however, some consumers may have purchased the products before the recall took effect.

Environment

Many ingredients of inorganic fertilizers do not come from sustainable resources. The production of fixed nitrogen in the original Miracle-Gro and other fertilizers commonly involves energy produced by burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. Additionally, excess fertilizer can be washed into local water sources, creating algal blooms that consume oxygen in rivers, lakes, and even oceans. This oxygen starvation kills life in the affected waters, creating "dead zones."

Prevention

Do not use a fertilizer unless your soil requires additional nutrients. After fertilizing, water thoroughly but do not allow over-watering or runoff. Immediately clean up any spilled fertilizer.

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