Fertilizing your lawn can be the difference between a healthy, flourishing lawn and a sad, yellowed, and patchy lawn. So, many folks choose to fertilize their lawns (and gardens) to promote healthy growth and robust root systems. As you search for the perfect fertilizer, you’ll probably come across Milorganite.
But as you look, you find a couple of options, including a Professional-Grade and an original. So, which one should you use? Is there a difference? Let’s find out.
What Is Milorganite?
Milorganite is a fertilizer composed of heat-dried microbes, which are excellent for plant nourishment and nutrition. The microbes have digested organic matter from wastewater, giving it a high organic matter content. Because of this content, Milorganite is an excellent fertilizer to strengthen and support healthy plant growth, as it supplies essential nourishment to the plant and food for the soil microbes.
Milorganite is a staple for many lawns, including commercial settings like massive golf courses and business landscapes. It’s ideal for various soil types, including sandy soil, as it adds organic material and isn’t susceptible to leaching.
How Does It Work?
Milorganite functions by giving your plants what it needs when it needs them. A plant needs three things to flourish: sunlight, water, and nutrients. The plant will likely struggle to grow without these elements, causing it to die off.
With Milorganite, your plant has ready access to slow-release nutrients. The fertilizer has no immediate, over-the-top nutrient release right after fertilizing. The slow, even release of nutrients prevents the sudden flush of growth. Instead, it offers nutrition to the plant as it requires them, as 80% of the fertilizer’s nitrogen is insoluble nitrogen (water insoluble).
This means the nutrients are delivered to the roots via microbial activity in the soil, but conditions need to be right for this to happen. When these conditions are ideal, the microbes in the soil break down the nutrients, making them readily available to the plants around them. If the soil conditions aren’t ideal, the nutrients stay put until the conditions become favorable.
The slow release translates to fewer applications, uniform growth, stronger root systems, and an overall healthier lawn or garden.
Are There Different Types Of Milorganite?
As you browse for Milorganite for your lawn, you’ll see a few options, including the original Milogranite and Professional-Grade Milorganite. While the names are different, the actual differences between the two are minor.
According to Milorganite’s website, the original Milorganite, which comes in a 32-pound bag, is also available in a 50-pound Professional bag. The professional size is only available in specific markets, so your local stores might not carry it as an option. However, while the marketing on the bag is different, the nutrients in each option are the same.
What Is The Difference Between Milorganite and Milorganite Professional?
The only difference between Milorganite Professional and Original Milorganite? The size of the granules. So, with the Milorganite Professional bag, you get the Greens Grade product, which comes with smaller granules than the original option. Because of the shift, you’ll need to adjust your spreader settings to use Professional instead of Original.
You might even find a few bags of organic nitrogen fertilizer through Milorganite, although this label is no longer on Milorganite packaging. The change stems from the refined definition of “organic.” Although Milorganite’s nitrogen source has remained the same since 1926, the redefining of the term “organic” now prevents the company from using it. Instead, you’ll see it marketed as “slow-release” nitrogen, although it remains unchanged.
Which One Is Better: Milorganite Or Milorganite Professional?
As mentioned, the nutrient content in these two products mirrors the other. Since there aren’t any differences in the nutrient breakdown, neither option is better than the other. Of course, there’s a difference in granule size, but this doesn’t make a significant difference in the grand scheme of things.
If you have access to Milorganite Professional and have a massive lawn, you might find it more cost-effective to use the professional option due to its larger size. However, since Milorganite Professional isn’t widely available, the original option works just as well.
Be sure to adjust your spreader settings based on the option you use, as the smaller granules in Milorganite Professional demand a different setting. You can find the specific spreader setting on the fertilizer bag, plus other important information such as feeding schedules, watering instructions, mowing guidelines, and more.
What Happens If You Use Too Much Milorganite?
Although using too much Milorganite on your lawn shouldn’t harm anything, you don’t want to intentionally over-fertilize it. A lawn can only absorb so many nutrients, so over-feeding won’t benefit it at all. Of course, under-feeding can cause issues, but the opposite end of the spectrum won’t make your grass grow better.
According to Milorganite’s website, its application rates and schedules are based on university research, so they recommend homeowners follow these guidelines.
Will Milorganite Harm The Environment?
Since Milorganite utilizes a salt-free formula, using too much on your lawn won’t cause burns or damage. However, over-fertilizing your lawn can lead to nutrient runoff, where the fertilizer ends up in waterways.
Excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, both of which are standard in Milorganite fertilizer, can have far-reaching effects on public health. It causes algae in the water to grow too rapidly, far quicker than the ecosystem can handle.
Spikes in the algae population can have detrimental effects on water quality, food resources, and habitats and may even lead to drops in water oxygen concentrations. Since oxygen is vital for the survival of fish and other organisms in the water, this can cause mass die-offs.
In addition, some algal blooms are harmful to humans, potentially causing sickness if people come in contact with polluted water, drink the water, or consume tainted fish/shellfish. These blooms can produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth, which affect the water and organisms in it.
The effects of nutrient pollution can make waves in the waterways, so it’s essential to do your part by avoiding over-fertilization. Of course, accidents happen, so there may be some scenarios where you unintentionally over-fertilize your lawn, but do your best to follow Milorganite’s recommended schedules and time frames.