Differences And Effects Of Natural And Synthetic

Fertilizers Essay, Research Paper

Differences and Effects of Natural and Synthetic Fertilizers

At the core of the growth and germination of plants lie the nutrients they

receive from the soil. The nutrients required for growth are classified into

two groupings, macronutirents and micronutrients. Macronutrients are those that

are needed in very large amounts, and whose absence can do a great harm to the

development of the plant life. These nutrients include calcium, nitrogen,

phosphorus, and potassium, and are very sparse in most soils, making them the

primary ingredients in most fertilizers. The other, more common macronutrients

are called secondary nutrients, as they are not of as much importance.

Micronutrients, the other classification, consist of all the other elements and

compounds required for sufficient growth, such as iron, boron, manganese, copper,

zinc, molybdenum and chlorine. In some cases, these nutrients are found to be

missing in soils, but it is extremely uncommon.

As plants need to retrieve all of their nutrients from the soil, many

methods have been developed in order to find ways to improve or change the soil

to suit the plant’s needs. Soil, in science as well as in common gardening,

must undergo detailed inspection, to detect such things as the pH of the soil.

A soil with a pH above 7.0 is called an alkaline soil, and will commonly kill

plants. Mineral content, as mentioned above, is also a concern, and must be

clearly monitored. After inspection, it is common for minor organic materials

outside fertilizers to be applied, such as peat moss, ground bark, or leaf mold.

It is after these steps that fertilization must occur, leading to a debate which

has plagued gardeners and scientists alike: organic or chemical?

Fertilizers, in both natural and synthetic breeds, are carriers of the

primary and secondary nutrients that are found less often in even the most

fertile soils. Fertilizers are mixtures that are mixed or applied to soil, thus

greatly increasing its potency and maximizing plant growth. As mentioned before,

however, there are both natural and inorganic fertilizers, all with varying

effects. The compositional differences of these types are great, indeed.

Natural fertilizers, as one would expect, are totally organic, and usually come

from the manure of animals. These are the fertilizers that produced the forests

of the world, among much other plant life in ecosystems, and have been used

since ancient times. Chemical fertilizers are a more recent invention,

consisting of carefully concentrated mixtures of nutrients, formulated for quick

growth. These can take many forms, from powder, to “dirt”, to even tablets!

Natural fertilizers, as mentioned above, include the various types of

manure and other animal waste products, as well as compost, which is a mixture

of various decaying plant and animal products mixed together to form a variable

“feast” of nutrients and minerals. Uncountable types of these nutrient boosters

have been developed by agriculturists, involving such oddities as kelp parts,

dish meal, blood meal, and even ground gypsum! These different fertilizers tend

to work well with plants, and many scientific agricultural experiments have

shown them to be very effective in long term stages, with the only drawback

being a slow growth process. Crops grown this way have shown to become, in the

long run, larger, healthier, and above all, 100% non-toxic.

The other method of fertilization that of chemicals offers major

advantages over organic, but just as undesirable complications. Chemical

fertilizers have the major advantage of containing a near perfect mixture of all

the nutrients necessary for growth, as well as being time-released to give the

plant a steady flow of mineral supply. This causes extremely fast growth, with

an initially healthy stock. Unfortunately these chemicals, which all their

benefit, can easily cause what is called “fertilizer burn”. This state is where

fertilizer produces too many nutrients: this overloads the plants biological

systems, and effectively kills the plant. Also, the chemicals often harm plants

over time, causing ill health and quicker death than natural fertilizers, as

soil organisms die out form over exposure, reducing the soil quality. Plants

grown with chemical fertilizers have a greater chance of disease and toxicity,

but the initial growth usually offsets these complications


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