How do you know if a fertilizer is burned?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Fertilizer burn can be identified by several common symptoms that occur in plants. One of the most noticeable signs is a change in the color of the foliage. The leaves may turn yellow, brown, or even become completely withered. This discoloration is often concentrated around the edges of the leaves or along the veins.

In the case of grass, fertilizer burn can result in the formation of streaks. These streaks may appear white, yellow, or brown, depending on the severity of the burn. The streaks can be seen as patches on the lawn and are often more prominent in areas where the fertilizer was applied in excess.

Another symptom of fertilizer burn is wilting. Lightly damaged plants may show signs of wilting, but they have the ability to recover if the burn is not too severe. However, severely affected plants may appear completely scorched and may not be able to recover.

It is important to note that fertilizer burn can sometimes be mistaken for other plant diseases or issues. However, there are a few key indicators that can help differentiate fertilizer burn from other problems. Firstly, fertilizer burn typically affects the edges of the leaves or the areas where the fertilizer was applied directly. In contrast, diseases or pests may cause more random patterns of damage on the plant.

Furthermore, fertilizer burn is often more pronounced in areas where the fertilizer was applied in excess or not spread evenly. This can be seen as concentrated patches of damage or streaks on the foliage. In contrast, diseases or pests may cause more uniform damage throughout the plant.

Personal experience has taught me that it is important to carefully follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging and apply it evenly and at the recommended rate. Over-application of fertilizer can easily lead to burn and damage to the plants. It is also important to water the plants adequately after fertilizing to help dilute any excess fertilizer and prevent burn.

To sum up, the common symptoms of fertilizer burn include yellowing, browning, or withering of plant foliage, as well as the formation of streaks in grass. Wilting may also occur, with lighter damage being reversible but severe damage resulting in scorching of the plants. Careful application of fertilizer and proper watering can help prevent fertilizer burn.