Normally no. Usually, fertilizer does not go because the ingredients (N.P.K.) of any fertilizer does not change over time. Then, of course, it depends on how you store it and for how long.
So, there is no short answer to ‘does fertilizer go bad or not’. You need to see the full picture.
We apply lawn feed to our lawns and garden to give an extra boost of growth to the roots. Eventually, we get a lush greenery lawn in a short time. It won’t happen if you apply date expired fertilizer.
Does Lawn Fertilizer Go Bad?
Everything expires and goes bad eventually. But it’s not gonna happen quickly. Normally they last for years. It also depends on the type of them we are talking about.
For example, there are two types of lawn feeds. Granular and liquid. The expiry date differs accordingly. Normally, granular fertilizer has a very long expiry life if stored properly.
But how long is fertilizer good for if it’s in liquid form?
Well, liquid fertilizer also lasts for 8 to 10 years with proper storage. In all the case, you must check the expiry date on the label to stay safe.
The reason why the leftover does not go bad is mainly because it is basically made of N.P.K. (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium). These elements stay active for years and they don’t lose their effectiveness over time.
So, in addition to wondering does fertilizer expires, you should be asking how long does fertilizer last. Well in this article, I will try to explain all the information you need to clarify some most common confusion.
How To Store Lawn Fertilizer To Last Longer?
You will be wasting your fertilizer if you don’t preserve them properly. So, proper storage of your fertilizer is very important to maintain its effectiveness.
Do not store fertilizer that has pesticides and herbicides. So, read the ingredients of your fertilizer first. If they don’t contain those ingredients, then your fertilizer is made of natural nutrients and you can reuse them years after years.
With proper storage techniques, you can still apply the same fertilizer to your lawn season after season. Here are some professional storage tips that you should follow:
- Wherever you store the fertilizer, make sure the place is 100% shaded. It should be both dry and cool. The temperature should exceed 30 degrees. No rainwater or moisture should reach it to prevent it from being lumpy.
- Do not change the original bag or container of the fertilizer. This will avoid future confusion about a lot of things including the type of product and usage guidelines.
- Pay special attention
- You need to keep the moisture out. To do so, make sure to tightly seal the container. Closing the bag securely is the key!
- Keep it in the garage or shed (enclosed spaces). Only such places are protected from weather extremities and direct sunlight and ideal for storing fertilizer leftovers.
- Keep it away from any food and make sure to store it off the ground all the time. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Do not keep other chemicals next to it.
- The surroundings should be free of dust and dirt.
- Read the label of the original bag for any specific storage guideline and follow it.
Here is a video demonstration on how you can store your leftover fertilizer:
Does granular fertilizer go bad?
Granular fertilizer doesn’t go bad easily. But granular clumping may happen anyway no matter how hard you try to store it properly. Nothing to be worried about here. The effectiveness of your clumped fertilizer is still intact.
Most likely you have stored the fertilizer in a humid condition. And this happens naturally because the fertilizer absorbs moisture from the air and particles of your fertilizer will bond together.
All you have to do is just break up the clumps before applying them to your lawn. To prevent it from clumping, make sure to store the fertilizer by closing the bag and putting it in a sealed plastic container.
If it’s the liquid fertilizer in question, you may notice the sediments at the bottom of the container. Yes, it is still good to use and sediments in the liquid fertilizer happen naturally too.
Before you apply the liquid fertilizer to your lawn with sediments at the bottom, just shake the bottle or agitate it. You should be good to go!
Liquid fertilizer Vs. Dry Fertilizer: Which Is Better?
Most gardeners apply granular fertilizer depending on the rain or their sprinkler system. On the other hand, liquid fertilizer can achieve the same objective without needing any water.
Their expiry date varies too. So, I think you need to understand their basic differences before you decide which one is better than the other. Let’s check their basic distinctive points:
- Price Gap
Granular fertilizer is cheaper than their liquid counterparts. And this is not the only factor that leads to higher lawn maintenance costs. The equipment you use to spray the granular fertilizer will cost you a lot more too.
- Easy Access To Plant Roots
Out of the 3 most vital elements of the fertilizer, the phosphorus doesn’t get to the roots of the plants easily if you use the granular form. But liquid fertilizer works like a charm in this regard.
The soil of your lawn can easily absorb all the nutrients of your liquid fertilizer. So, the roots get access to such nutrients easily and grow stronger.
- Application Stages
It’s not wise to apply dry fertilizer at the initial stage of seed development. It can be too hot for them because of the higher concentration of potassium and nitrogen.
For the starter application of your lawn seed development, the liquid fertilizer is always good because of the uniform consistencies of N.P.K.
- Slow-release Benefits
Do you ever wonder how long does fertilizer last on grass or in soil?
Well, you are basically asking about the slow-release feature of any fertilizer.
Only dry fertilizer can offer these benefits. Many gardeners love the slow-release feature of the dry fertilizer to ensure the proper nourishment of their soil over a longer time. You don’t get that from its liquid counterpart.
- Lumpy Vs. Sedimentation
If by asking does fertilizer go bad if wet and you mean the dry one, I would say no.
If you store the dry fertilizer for a long time, a lumpy condition is usually expected. On the other hand, minerals will deposit at the bottom of the bottle for any liquid fertilizer if stored long enough.
Both conditions don’t sacrifice the quality of any of the fertilizers. Give the liquid fertilizer a hard shake to lose the sediment and break the lumpy dry fertilizer before you apply.
Why Should You Store Leftover Fertilizer?
There is no point discarding leftover fertilizer unless you are a seriously careless gardener or lawn owner. Here are 2 main benefits of storing your fertilizer:
- To Save Money
It definitely saves money. Lawn fertilizer is not cheap. If you have a medium to large lawn/garden, you will need a lot of it. Maintaining a lawn is a costly task. And spending on fertilizer is a big part of it.
You do not need to buy new lawn feed for your pant on every growing season. Store the leftover properly (which happens to be a lot!), and you will be good to use them for the next season.
- To Avoid Potential Environmental Hazard
Natural or organic fertilizer is no danger to the environment. But if you discard your chemical fertilizer, it will leave a bad impact on the environment. And it will affect the health and life of your family directly or indirectly.
So, throwing leftover fertilizer is always a bad idea. Even if you don’t plan to use it for the next season, you should give it away to your neighbors instead of discarding it.
If for some reason (improper storage), the fertilizer goes bad or you don’t want to reuse it, read the labels on how to dispose of it properly. Only this way, you ensure you are not harming the environment.
So, does fertilizer go bad? As you have seen from the above discussion why I said no to that question. In fact, every professional and experienced gardener will tell you so. Store them properly and they will last for years!