What is ARTIFICIAL FERTILISERS?

Their Use in the Garden.The term artificial manure is usually meant to include any manure that is prepared by some manufacturing process (such as is carried out in the case of superphosphate). Tfiis distinction iS unfortunately not as definite as might be desired; for instance, guano is merely dried dung, and yet is always referred to as an artificial. A further distinction between artificial and natural manures may be borrowed from the realm of chemistry. It is known that chemical infertility of a soil is usually due to deficiency in one or more of the most readily exhausted ingredients of the soil necessary for plant food, namely. Nitrogen (in compound form), Phosphates, or Potash. Artificial manures are usually applied for the purpose of supplying the deficiency of one or two of these ingredients ; the needs of a soil deficient in all three substances that make for fertiUty are best met by an application of a natural manure. Storage of Artificials.If any fertiliser is to be used with the greatest success it must be properly stored or it may lose much of its value. Natural manures such as dung may greatly improve by being stored, but this is never true in the case of artificials. They must be carefully stored in a perfectly dry place, preferably with a concrete floor if a satisfactory texture and chemical composition are to be preserved. Even when stored under the best conditions they may become lumpy and have to be crushed or sieved before appUcation. Manures most Uable to spoil when stored are :Dissolved Bones, Nitrate of Ammonia, Nitre Cake, Nitrate of Lime, Nitrolim (or Calcium Cyanamide), Superphosphate, and the higher grades of guano. What Not to Mix.To lessen the work of applying artificials they are often mixed, but there is usually a risk of loss if the components of the mixture react upon one another. Before mixing any artificials the following rules should be learnt : Firstly, Acid manures, such as Superphosphate of Lime or Dissolved Bones, should not be mixed with nitrates, since one spoils the other. Secondly, Lime, or other manures containing lime, such as Basic Slag, should not be mixed with Sulphate of Ammonia or any organic manure that may contain ammonia, for a similar reason. Thirdly, Superphosphate of Lime should not be mixed with Basic Slag or any other manure containing insoluble phosphates, for if it is the plants will less readily take up the phosphate contained in the former. Kainit and Nitrate of Soda should not be mixed, as the product wiU set hard. Any other artificials not mentioned above may be safely mixed. When to Apply.The time of appUcation greatly influences the effects of any artificial manure ; quick acting manures such as Nitrate of Ammonia, Nitrate of Lime, Nitrate of Potash, Nitrate of Soda, Phosphate of Ammonia, Phosphate of Potash, etc., are best appHed to growing crops, and if the land is dressed with them before planting much of their value is lost. Sulphate of Ammonia may be satisfactorily applied at the time of sowing seeds or planting tubers and sets, since it undergoes a process of nitrification in the soil before it is made use of by the plant. Salt, however, should not be applied at sowing time as it is apt to injure tiny seedlings. Basic Slag is usually applied in the autumn for the succeeding crop, and the same remark applies to Gaslime, which in the fresh state contains substances poisonous to plants. By applying the latter to the land in the autumn, the action of the air renders these substances harmless before the growing season comes on. Kainit also is more suitable for autumn and winter application on heavy or limestone soils, but on light soils (which are most benefited by this fertiUser) should be applied in the early spring. Granulated Nitrolim should also be put on in the winter or early spring to give it time to lose the power, possessed by some samples, of injuring growing crops. When fertilisers are applied to growing crops, care is necessary in the case of dusty compounds such as ground Nitrolim and Nitrate of Ammonia, which have a scorching action on the foliage and which may in the case of broad-leaved plants easUy kill them entirely. As the usual object for which artificial manures are applied is the benefiting of the immediately succeeding crop, the majority are spring sown. There is no objection, however, to applications at other seasons of the year except in so far as rapid-acting manures are concerned, and these are readily determinable by the fact of their containing readily soluble chemical substances, the amounts of which can be immediately ascertained by reference to the chemical analysis which the purchaser has always the right to claim from the vendor. Fertilisers! for |Various Soils. Certain artificials are specially suited to certain classes of soils. We give details of the best for the two chief classes of soil below : Artificials for Heavy Soils. Nitrate of Soda is especially suited for clay land which contains a sufficiency of potashj and this the dressing of Nitrate of Soda helps to bring into use Basic Slag gives pronounced results on heavy land, while on light land is often without apparent effect. Wool Waste and other artificials of a bulky nature are particularly valuable for improving the texture of heavy land. Artificials for Light Soils. Kainit and other potash manures (such as Carnallite, Muriate of Potash) are particularly valuable on light soils. Wood Ashes are of more value to light land than heavy landthe latter being less deficient in potash. Superphosphate is a better artificial than Basic Slag for the addition of phosphate to light land. Bone Meal and Dissolved Bones are also suitable. What to Avoid.Applications of artificials that may be expected to give unsatisfactory results are : Sulphate of Ammonia applied to a soil deficient in Lime. Superphosphate of Lime applied to a sour soilj particularly if the crop to be grown is susceptible to an acid condition of soil. (Turnips and Cabbages, for instance, are very Hable to become”clubbed”when so treated.) For gardening practice in the use of artificial fertilisers it is useful to remember that a dressing of i oz. per square yard represents a dressing of about 2j cwt. per acre. We give on p. 63 a table of Artificial Fertilisers in which brief details are set out as to their mode of application. P. H. F. (Further hints on the use of artificials will be found in our articles Lime Compounds, Potash and Potassium Compounds, Soda and Sodium Compounds, .c.Editor.)

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Definition of  ARTIFICIAL FERTILISERS