The results were unanimous, natural and organic products are not only better for the environment, they're better for your lawn!

New Study: Organic and Natural Lawn Fertilizers

Kent Swanson | ecohouseplan

Organic and Natural Lawn Fertilizers
The results were unanimous, natural and organic products are not only better for the environment, they're better for your lawn! 
New Study: Organic and Natural Lawn Fertilizers
Outperform Chemical Fertilizers!

by Kent Swanson

Need another reason to go organic?  How about a greener, more attractive lawn?  If you've stuck with chemical fertilizers over the years because you're convinced that they work better than natural, organic products, a new study by Texas A&M University may surprise you.

Recently, the folks at Austin's Watershed Protection and Development Review Department were concerned about how quickly nitrogen, a primary component of common fertilizers, is passing through layers of soil to contaminate the city's groundwater sources.  So, they called up the Aggies at Texas A&M to test nine different lawn fertilizers, both organic and chemical, to see which ones had the least risk of contaminating groundwater sources. 

The data helped to prove what many organic gardeners have known all along:  natural and certified organic fertilizers are far superior to man-made synthetic fertilizers in terms of reducing pollution and producing overall attractive lawns. 


In the study, the following fertilizers were used:

Chemical Fertilizers:

  • 21-0-0 ammonium sulfate

  • 41-0-0 100% sulfur coated urea

  • 13-13-13

  • 15-5-10

Natural and Organic Fertilizers:

  • Certified Organic: 8-2-4

  • Uncertified Natural:  2" incorporated DilloDirt

  • Uncertified Natural: DilloDirt at N rate

  • Uncertified Natural: ½" DilloDirt-surface application

  • Uncertified Natural: 9-1-1

Texas A&M also set up a control, with no fertilizer or grass plantings.

Lysimeter boxes were specially fabricated to test the rate that nitrogen passes through the soil.  Additionally, the researches tested the health of the grass by using what's known as "Clipping Data," a typical way of measuring grass health, to determine which fertilizer produced the healthiest grass. 

The results were unanimous, natural and organic products are not only better for the environment, they're better for your lawn!  See the complete study here:

In addition to now promoting organic fertilizers, the city of Austin and Texas A&M came up with a series of recommendations that they hope will help the average homeowner reduce contamination of precious groundwater resources, regardless of whether they choose to use organic products.  For example:

  • If you still want to use inorganic fertilizers, use smaller quantities, more frequently.  This will help keep the fertilizer from reaching groundwater.  

  • Keep your clippings on your lawn.  This helps return nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to the soil, naturally!  This reel mower is ideal for keeping grass clippings where they should be, on your lawn.

  • Test your soil frequently to determine what it needs.  Why add fertilizer if you don't need it?

  • If you choose not the test your soil, apply very small quantities of nitrogen and fertilize only once a year.

  • Avoid fertilizing if you're expecting rain.  The fertilizer may simply wash off and will not do your lawn any good. 

While this study has proven to be a great boost for gardeners and home owners who want to protect the environment and their families, many people continue to use potentially harmful chemicals on their lawns and gardens.  That's where you come in!

The Internet provides a wonderful way to quickly inform your friends and neighbors of the benefits of going organic.  Sit down to write a quick email to your gardening friends about this study and help us spread the word!



Kent Swanson is a freelance writer specializing in gardening, environmental issues, and Mexican culture.  You can see more of his writing at the following websites:

The Practical Environmentalist:

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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