Does Fertilizer Go Bad? – An In-depth Look

Does fertilizer go bad or does it last forever without losing any of its nutrients all this time?  This is a question we seek to answer in this article.

Fertilizer is the most important part of the soil.  It helps to improve the quality and quantity of crop output.  It is the most expensive component of a farm.

Without fertilizer, it would be impossible to produce enough food for everyone.  So, if fertilizer goes bad, how can you know that the fertilizer you are using is good?  How long does it last?  Will it lose its nutrients over time?

We will answer some of these questions in this article. In the process of answering these questions, we will also learn more about fertilizers.

The purpose of this article is to educate people about the dangers of improperly used fertilizer, so that they may make better decisions about their use.  Also, we want to provide farmers with information on the benefits of proper fertilization.

General Hydroponic Nutrients for So... x
General Hydroponic Nutrients for Soil
Does Fertilizer Go Bad?

The answer is yes, but not immediately.  Fertilizer does degrade over time and it will change in color.  If you have a container with your fertilizer you should keep it closed and stored away from heat or sunlight.  The best way to store your fertilizer is in the shade.

Fertilizer that has been stored for an extended period will start to lose nitrogen content.  Nitrogen loss will begin after one year, but it takes approximately three years for the nitrogen to completely disappear.  When the nitrogen disappears, it will leave behind a different chemical compound.  This is what gives fertilizer its characteristic smell. If you have fertilizer with high nitrogen content, it may change color in the first few months.

If you are unsure about the fertilizer you purchased, ask the store where you bought it. They may be able to tell you the amount of time until you need to use the fertilizer.

What Is A Good Fertilizer For Plants?

You should use a fertilizer that is formulated for your specific plant.  Most fertilizer products are labeled with their nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) content.

Fertilizers typically contain these nutrients in the form of chemical compounds, which may be inorganic or organic.  The chemical composition of fertilizers varies widely and is often proprietary to the manufacturer.

As a general rule, plants prefer fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen.

Nitrogen-rich fertilizers can include urea, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, and ammonium phosphate plus micro-nutrients.  Plants do not use potassium, so potassium-rich fertilizers are not recommended.

Phosphorus-rich fertilizers include triple superphosphate, diammonium phosphate, and monoammonium phosphate. Plants do need magnesium, but magnesium-rich fertilizers are not recommended because they are not readily absorbed by the plant.

Magnesium-rich fertilizers include ground rock and seaweed meal.  If you have a fertilizer that is labeled with the nutrients you want to add, then it will be better for your plants.  If you have no idea what nutrient you want to add to your soil, then a general balanced fertilizer may be best.  There are many different types of general fertilizers, so you should choose one that includes the nutrients you want to add.

The Most Common General Fertilizers Are:

Organic fertilizers, such as compost, peat moss, and fish emulsion.

Inorganic fertilizers, such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, triple superphosphate, diammonium phosphate, and monoammonium phosphate

General fertilizers are usually labeled with their N, P, and K content.  You can use a general fertilizer with any nutrient content, but if you are adding a specific nutrient to your soil, then you should use a fertilizer that is labeled with that nutrient.

Home Jungle – Organic Indoor Houseplant Superfood Fertilizer

Does Fertilizer Lose Its Nutrients?

Does fertilizer go bad?  If you have bought fertilizer that has overstayed at the store, it is possible that it will not be as effective as it should. If you fertilize your lawn or garden every month, you might want to consider how long your fertilizer is available to your plants.

Some fertilizer products are formulated to be used for a specific period, and if the product is overstayed, the plant’s nutrient value will be affected.

Fertilizers are typically formulated to last about one year. However, some fertilizers can be used for more than one year. If you have overstayed your fertilizer, you might want to check with your store for more information.

How long does dry fertilizer last

Take-Home – Does Fertilizer Go Bad?

So does fertilizer go bad?  Fertilizer does not last forever!  It only lasts for as many years as the manufacturers have indicated on the package.  The moment you exceed this period, just knows that the fertilizer becomes less potent and might not give you the best results you expect.

Organic fertilizers are very similar to natural ones in terms of going bad.  Though it’s organic, you can’t keep it for far too long, it will not be potent or helpful to your plants as all the nutrients will be too weak to make an impact.

Read more about What Is The Best Fertilizer For Green Beans? Find Out Here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does dry fertilizer last?

Dry fertilizers are good for several years before they can be termed as poor quality.  Manufacturers should be able to advise on the shelf life of their fertilizers to farmers.

How long can fertilizer be stored?

Fertilizer is best stored in a cool, dry place.  The best option is to store fertilizer in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator.  In general, fertilizer can last for one to two years if kept in a cool, dry place.

Does fertilizer lose its potency over time?

Yes, fertilizer loses potency over time.  However, if the fertilizer is kept properly stored and used correctly, it will last longer than most other commodities.

Is old fertilizer useful?

Yes, old fertilizer is still good.  The only thing to consider is that the fertilizer may not be as potent as the new fertilizer.  Old fertilizer should be used to replenish nutrients in the soil.