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What are examples of inorganic fertilizers?

Updated February 21, 2017

Inorganic fertiliser refers to manmade or chemical fertilisers or soil amendments. Soil rarely contains all the nutrients needed to support optimal plant growth. Organic or inorganic fertilisers must be added to improve soil quality. Inorganic fertilisers are quick-release formulas that make the necessary nutrients almost instantly available to the plants. Regardless of which fertiliser you choose, it is important to follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding application and amounts. Many inorganic fertilisers are available.

Sodium Nitrates

Sodium nitrates are also referred to as chilates or Chilean nitrate. These fertilisers contain amounts of nitrogen of up to 16 per cent. These fertilisers make nitrogen, the most important component in plant growth, immediately available to plants. Sodium nitrates are considered a valuable source of nitrogen and are commonly added to the soil as a top and side dressing, especially when fertilising younger plants and garden vegetables. Sodium nitrate fertilisers are especially useful in acidic soil. A careless or excessive use of sodium nitrate can lead to deflocculation, a process of soil breakdown or dispersion.

Rock Phosphate

Rock phosphate is an inorganic fertiliser type that provides phosphorus to the soil. When provided enough rainfall, rock phosphate fertilisers result in extended growing periods with enhanced crop growth. Rock phosphate is an ideal remedy for acidic soils, which are phosphorus-deficient. However, since rock phosphate is insoluble in water, it must be pulverised before it is added to the soil. Rock phosphate is the raw ingredient used in the manufacture of superphosphate or water-soluble phosphoric acid.

Sulphate of Potash

Sulphate of potash is the inorganic fertiliser which supplies the third-most needed nutrient, potassium, to the soil. Inorganic potassium fertilisers should only be used when there is an absolute potassium deficiency in the soil. Sulphate of potash is obtained by treating potassium chloride with magnesium sulphate. The resulting inorganic fertiliser is readily soluble in water and can be used in the soil at any time until sowing. Muriate of potash is another inorganic potassium fertiliser available in crystal form. However sulphate of potash is favoured over muriate of potash by many gardeners.

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About the Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over 20 years of nonfiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, and diplomas in nonfiction writing.