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The gardener is often confronted with a broad array of different types of fertilizers. One important thing to remember about fertilizers, in general, is that more is not necessarily better. Less, more often, is preferable to large doses all at once. Let's look at some of the various types.
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General-purpose fertilizers are the most readily found and economical. They are usually quickly available to the plants soon after they are applied and watered in. They typically do not last very long, so they must be reapplied several times during the growing season. If carelessly used, they can burn the plants. Never apply to dry soil.
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low-release fertilizers are an effective way to fertilize plants. These materials release fertilizer over a long period of time, generally several months or more. The speed at which they release nutrients is mostly dependent upon soil temperature. These fertilizers are very useful for gardeners who only want to fertilize once in a growing season. They rarely burn the plants. Their only disadvantage is that they can be relatively expensive.
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Water-soluble fertilizers are instantly available to the plant. They are frequently applied with a sprinkling can and are absorbed by both the roots and leaves. They're most useful when a quick effect is desired. Water-soluble fertilizers are rapidly used up by plants, so in turn they must be applied on a regular basis.
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Natural organic fertilizers are usually slow-release so they do not burn plants. The plant will only use as much of an organic fertilizer as it needs, so they are safe. On a pound-per-pound basis they are generally more expensive than the inorganic fertilizers.
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Fertilizers combined with herbicides or insecticides are most commonly found with lawn care products. They can be labor saving but also can be wasteful and not very effective because the best times to fertilize plants and to apply weed control or insect control may not be the same.