How toxic is lawn fertilizer really?


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With three to four portions of lawn fertilizer per year, a decorative lawn shows its most beautiful side. It starts as soon as the forsythia flower in March / April. Long-term lawn fertilizers are recommended because they deliver their nutrients evenly over several months. Ideal is a gift after the first mowing. A second fertilizer portion will be available at the end of June, and optionally in August for heavily used areas. In mid-October you should bring out a potassium-fertilized autumn fertilizer. He makes the grasses winter hardier. The most uniform way to distribute the granules is with a spreading cart.

A common question is: is lawn fertilizer toxic to children playing or pets? When answering, one should first differentiate what kind of lawn fertilizer it is, because there are mineral lawn fertilizers, organic lawn fertilizers and those with special active ingredients against lawn weeds and / or moss.

Mineral long-term fertilizer

Pure mineral lawn fertilizer without further additives against weeds or moss are about as toxic as common salt. With them you should wait after fertilizing, until the fertilizer pellets have completely drizzled through the lawn and rest on the grass. Experience has shown that this is the case after a thorough irrigation or a rich rain shower. To be on the safe side, you can wait for the next lawncut before the fresh green again becomes a playground. Tip: In dry weather, sprinkle the lawn for about 20 to 30 minutes immediately after applying a pure lawn fertilizer, so that the fertilizer is well infiltrated into the turf and can release its immediately effective nutrient content.

Dog and child cuddle on a lawn

When used properly, children and dogs can safely enter a freshly fertilized lawn

Organic lawn fertilizers

A purely organic lawn fertilizer is also harmless to normal and appropriate use for humans and animals and the lawn can be re-entered immediately after spreading. Organic Lawn Fertilizer, for example "Neetorff's Azet Lawn Fertilizer", contains sterilized, organic and natural raw materials according to the manufacturer. A risk to children and pets is not expected, because the manufacturer advertises on the packaging with the safety of his product. The fertilizer develops its effect as soon as its organic components are decomposed by microorganisms. Through this so-called mineralization, the plant nutrients are released and can be absorbed by the plant roots. Irrigation is not necessary because organic lawn fertilizer does not cause leaf burns, but accelerates the effect.

Problem case of castor meal

In the past, organic lawn fertilizers have fallen into disrepute because they contained castor meal. The nitrogen-rich press residues from castor oil production contain highly toxic ricin. The presscake must be heated to 80 degrees for at least 15 minutes prior to further processing as a fertilizer or cattle feed to decompose the toxin. Even so, a few years ago, dogs that had eaten organic fertilizers had severe signs of poisoning, sometimes even death. The reason is that individual castor meal batches did not appear to be heated long enough. In addition, it is known that the animals react very sensitively even to the smallest residual amounts of the poison. For this reason, the well-known brand manufacturers such as Oscorna and Neudorff use in their fertilizers for several years, no more castor meal.

Castor communis

The miracle tree (Castor communis) is popular with us as an ornamental plant. In India, it is mainly grown for its oily but highly toxic seeds

In Switzerland, the use of castor meal as a fertilizer about three years ago was even banned by law. If you are a dog owner and you want to buy organic lawn fertilizer, you should study the list of ingredients precisely for low-priced products and in case of doubt prefer to use a branded product.

Lawn fertilizer with weed killer

Weed killers with weed killers contain special growth substances that penetrate root and leaf into so-called dicotyledonous weeds, for example dandelion or plantain. Because they accelerate the growth of Rasenunkräuter rapidly, they go in. On the monocot lawn grasses themselves, these herbicides show no effect.

If a fertilizer is applied with weed killer, the lawn should be wet when it is used, so in this case you will be watering beforehand, because the best effect will be achieved if the weed killer sticks to the weeds for one to two days. After this period you should water again, if it has not rained in the meantime.As long as the herbicide is effective, neither children nor pets should enter the lawn.

Lawn fertilizer with moss killer

Lawn fertilizers with moss killers usually contain the active ingredient ferrous sulfate. It burns the existing moss with its caustic effect. It is best to use such lawn fertilizer on wet grass shortly after mowing to reach the moss well. Do not water the lawn for at least two days after use and wait another two days to mow it for the first time. After 10 to 14 days, you can get the dead and now brown-black discolored moss with a rake or a Vertikutierer from the turf. Again, keep children and pets away from freshly treated areas. The lawn should be re-entered only after thorough irrigation or heavy rain. Larger amounts of ferrous sulfate can cause mild burns on the bare skin, as the iron, when combined with water, oxidizes to ferric ions, releasing acid. The adhering to the shoes iron (II) sulfate can also leave stubborn rust marks on stone slabs, wooden floor or clothing.

One last tip: Store opened lawn fertilizers in a cool and dry place, which is inaccessible to children and pets.

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