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The Garden Fertilizer Dissolver

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

fertilizer, garden fertilizer
Garden Fertilizer

Regulating fertilizer and getting it evenly distributed across your garden can be a challenge. Luckily, there are garden fertilizer devices that fit directly into your water supply making fertilizing as easy as watering. One of those devices is a dissolver.
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What is the best way to distribute drip, or water based, fertilizer to your lawn and garden?

Improve Your Fertilizer Distribution

Some gardeners, for good reason, are suspicious of conventional fertilizing techniques. You can't spread granular fertilizer because it would reach roots only where water emitters wash it into the soil.

Controlled-release garden fertilizers, worked into the ground at planting time, only last so long and their effects are hard to predict. You could walk from plant to plant, giving each a dose of diluted liquid fertilizer, but that would defeat the laborsaving benefits of a garden drip system.

The easiest way to feed plants or a lawn on drip is to slowly introduce nutrients directly into the water line. Happily, there are devices that let you do just that, including the fertilizer dissolver.

The Garden Fertilizer Dissolver

Dissolvers work much the same way as the flush disinfectants you hook inside a toilet. A dissolvable bar of fertilizer is loaded into a dissolver that is attached to your water source or attached just before your filter. Water flows through the unit and slowly dissolves the tablets, releasing nutrients into the drip system.

The number and type of tablets you insert depends on the system; follow the manufacturer's guidelines that come with the unit. Most dissolvers cost less than $10 and hook up in minutes.

Beware of Back Flow

Fertilizer back flow can be an issue. You don't want fertilizer working its way into your home's water supply. Some units have a built-in backflow device. If yours doesn't, you'll have to position a backflow device between the water source and the dissolver. Check local plumbing codes for requirements.

Drawbacks

The main drawback with dissolvers is that you're forced to use the manufacturer's tablets (think Gillette razors or Hewlett Packard printer ink), which are expensive for the amount of nutrients in them (about $3.50 for 10 tablets). Also, you can't increase fertilizer concentration. To increase fertilizer dosage you have to water more, which can obviously create over watering problems.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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