Many gardeners in the UK have asked, “How does the concentration of fertilizer affect plant growth?” Several factors influence the growth of your plants. The answer depends on the amount of fertiliser you give to your plants.
You must carefully read and follow the labels because too much fertiliser can damage your plants by creating a high salt concentration which could hurt helpful soil microorganisms. Excess fertiliser causes rapid plant growth with an underdeveloped root system. Underdeveloped root system limits the supply of water and nutrients to sustain the entire plant, reducing the number of flowers and fruit production.
Can Over-Fertilizing Kill Plants?
As we’ve already established, using too much fertiliser can permanently damage and even kill your plants. It can also cause fertiliser burn.
What is Fertilizer Burn?
Fertiliser burn results in foliage scorch caused by over-fertilisation. Over-fertilisation happens when British gardeners over fertilise plants or apply fertiliser to wet leaves. Fertilisers contain sodium, which can dry out your plants—excess fertiliser results in the yellowing or browning of the leaves, as well as root damage.
Symptoms of fertiliser burn usually appear within a day or two. For slow-release fertilisers, it may take a few weeks before symptoms manifest. You’ll be able to notice yellowing, browning, and withering. You’ll see white, brown, and yellow streaks from where you applied the fertiliser for lawns and gardens in the UK.
How to Prevent Fertilizer Burns
Fortunately, you can easily prevent fertiliser burns. Here are some of the tips you need to keep in mind:
Avoid fertilising wet lawns, or make sure not to let fertiliser come in contact with wet leaves.
Fertilise according to the needs of your plants. Contrary to what most people think, you won’t get better results if you use more fertiliser. It’s only going to do more harm than good.
After applying granular fertiliser, make sure to water your plants thoroughly to rinse off any residue and allow the salts to go deep into the soil.
Choosing to fertilise plants with compost reduces the risk of fertiliser burn because it slowly releases the nutrients into the soil rather than all at once. You can add one to two inches of compost at least once a year.
Plants are more vulnerable to fertiliser burn during drought as the fertiliser becomes more concentrated. Avoid adding fertiliser during hot seasons and wait until moisture conditions have improved.
The Benefits of Mini Polytunnel Gardening
Investing in a mini polytunnel is a great way to prevent fertiliser burn. Since you can control the indoor climate of your greenhouse and the temperature, humidity, and other essential factors, you may not need to fertilise your plants. Other than that, here are some of the benefits of having a greenhouse:
Keep your plants safe from harmful insects that’ll eat your produce
Aphids, cabbage worms, flea beetles, and other insects love to eat your leaves and produce. When this happens, your plants become more susceptible to other diseases. It could also affect plant growth and harvest. Keeping them inside a polytunnel lowers the risk of attracting these pesky critters.
Perfect for the UK gardeners with small spaces
Want to start gardening in the UK, but you don’t have enough space? Small greenhouses are the perfect solution. You can plant almost anything inside a mini-greenhouse, and you can place them anywhere, too – on balconies, decks, patios, and even indoors. The standard size of small greenhouses are around six square feet, but there are other smaller options for those looking for more compact greenhouses.
Great for UK gardeners who want to know more about polytunnel gardening
If you want to know more about polytunnel gardening, a mini-greenhouse functions similarly to regular-sized greenhouses. Before you invest in a more giant, more permanent greenhouse, you can use small polytunnel kits to learn the ropes and know more about the growing conditions of different plants.
Start plant growth early
You can use a mini polytunnel to start planting even before the cold season begins in your UK area. Once the weather gets warmer, you can transplant the crops from your polytunnel and into your UK garden. Planting earlier means you’ll be able to harvest your crops earlier than you intended.
Protect your plants from erratic weather
Most plants cannot survive during cold winter months, especially the more tender variants—a mini polytunnel protects your plants from snow, frost, high winds, and storms. You can keep them safe inside the enclosure until spring rolls in again.
The Bottom Line: How Does the Concentration of Fertilizer Affect Plant Growth?
If you’re not careful, too much fertiliser can permanently damage your plants. To prevent this from happening, test your soil to see if it lacks any nutrients. It’s best to improve the quality of your soil and forego using fertiliser. You can do so by adding amendments like organic compost, cover crops, alfalfa, bone meal emulsions, or cured manures.
If you need to use fertiliser, natural organic ones work best because they slowly release the nutrients for plant growth. On the other hand, commercial fertilisers are more concentrated, increasing the risk of fertiliser burn and permanent plant damage. Hopefully, this article answers the question, “How does the concentration of fertilizer affect plant growth?”