A fertiliser can be organic or synthetic. This section will focus on synthetic fertilisers, which helped create modern agriculture and one factor in population growth, as it is one factor that allowed for more crop yields and more people to be fed. Synthetic fertilisers are also widely available for gardening. The main aim of a fertiliser is to assist a plant in growing by providing nutrients to it via the soil.
- A synthetic fertiliser provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to the plant, helping growth. (ref)
- The use of them can correct issues with soil deficiency. (ref)
- They can help growth even in bad soil. (ref)
- They are inexpensive. (ref)
- Their impacts can be seen in days. (ref)
- Whilst synthetic fertilisers provide key nutrients and elements to a plant, they often neglect other secondary nutrients like magnesium, which plants need too. (ref)
- Fertilisers can have such a high saturation of only the key three chemicals that it over-saturates the soil, blocking the plant from absorbing other key nutrients. These oversaturated soils can become too toxic for micro-organisms to live in, or make them thrive and devour the plant being fertilised. (ref)
- Over application of fertiliser can lead to it being washed away, making its way into water systems and becoming a pollutant, leading to unwanted growth (ref) and impacting the entire ecosystem. (ref)
Fertilisers can help plant growth, however, over application of synthetic fertilisers can lead to them leaking into the environment and causing issues for local wildlife as plants begin to grow uncontrollably. Along with this, in order to be made, synthetic fertilisers require minerals to be mined and made, cause many environmental issues in the process. There are many alternatives available, and examples can be found in the "Alternatives" section of this page.