If you want to know about the advantages and disadvantages of urea fertilizer, you will love this detailed guide.
Here’s something interesting.
Because of its high nitrogen content, urea fertilizer is one of the most concentrated nitrogenous fertilizers.
Now, let me introduce urea to you.
What is Urea Fertilizer?
Urea (a crystalline and colourless substance) is a nitrogenous fertilizer.
I have a question for you. Why is it called a nitrogen fertilizer?
The NPK ratio of urea is 46-0-0. Note that NPK refers to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in a fertilizer.
So, the urea fertilizer contains:
- Nitrogen: 46%
- Phosphorus: 0%
- Potassium: 0%
You should know that nitrogen is the “backbone” of your plants.
This is because plants use nitrogen to make amino acids, proteins, and DNA.
Now, here’s something interesting.
Urea is a synthetic-organic fertilizer. This means that it is created from both organic and inorganic substances.
This takes us straight to the next topic.
Advantages of Urea Fertilizer:
Here are some advantages of the urea (46-0-0) fertilizer.
Overview: The high nitrogen content (46%) promotes green leafy growth. Moreover, the process of photosynthesis is favoured. If I talk about the disadvantages of urea fertilizer, over-fertilizing can kill your plant. Plus, nitrogen can be lost through volatilization.
- The percentage of nitrogen is high (46%).
Nitrogen is important for plants as it is a core component of many structures.
For example, nitrogen is a component of the chlorophyll molecule. This molecule allows the plant to capture sunlight and make food through photosynthesis.
Moreover, plants use nitrogen to make complex molecules like DNA, nucleic acid, proteins, and amino acids.
Plus, nitrogen promotes green leafy growth. This simply means that nitrogen in urea promotes beautiful deep green colour in plants.
- It is non-flammable. This makes its storage risk-free.
This simply means that the urea fertilizer does not catch fire easily. Here’s some quick math to help you understand this.
Urea melts around 132.7° C (271° F). Plus, it decomposes before boiling. This is the reason why urea-based fertilizers melt around 535° Fahrenheit.
- The process of photosynthesis is favoured.
Can you recall what exactly is photosynthesis?
As mentioned earlier, plants use sunlight to create energy in the form of sugar. Now, here’s the thing.
Chlorophyll (a green pigment) uses nitrogen to carry out this process.
- It is a good choice for water-demanding crops such as rice.
Let me explain.
Nitrogen is an important nutrient that affects rice yield. So, a proper application of urea can improve rice yield (production).
In rain-fed areas, it is applied just before the rain to prevent loss through volatilization.
Note that the volatilization process refers to the loss of nitrogen from the soil as ammonia gas.
With this, let’s move on to the next topic.
Disadvantages of Urea Fertilizer:
Now, let me share some drawbacks of using urea fertilizer.
- Excess urea can damage your plant.
As I mentioned above, the nitrogen content in this fertilizer is high.
So, you have to be extremely careful with the application process. This is because excess urea can disturb the pH of your soil.
This can further lead to stunted (poor) growth of your plant and growing pests as well.
- The process of volatilization can take place.
In simple words, volatilization is the loss of nitrogen.
This happens due to the conversion of ammonium to ammonia gas, which is released into the atmosphere.
You should know that this process is favoured by a higher soil pH and conditions that favour evaporation (hot and wind).
But why does this happen?
This can happen due to moisture. It typically happens in the first seven to fourteen days after the fertilizer application.
Note that when the pH (acidity or alkalinity) increases from 6.5 to 7.5, the volatilization loss doubles. Pretty interesting, isn’t it?
Volatilization can be prevented if urea is applied when the soil and air temperatures are cool.
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So, here’s the summary:
|1. The high nitrogen content (46%) promotes green leafy growth.||1. Nitrogen can be lost through volatilization.|
|2. The process of photosynthesis is favoured.||2. Excess urea can damage your plant.|
With this, let’s move on to the next topic.
How and When to Apply Urea fertilizer?
The application process can be a bit tricky. But, let me make it simpler for you.
There are two ways to apply urea to your lawn:
- Broadcast application
- Foliar application
You can use a broadcast spreader to uniformly spread the urea granules to your lawn. You can also distribute the pellets by hand.
Note: For most plants, add the urea granules close to the plant’s root.
When you are done, water the lawn.
Remember that the top half inch (1.3 cm) of the soil should be wet. This will “trap” ammonia in the soil, preventing the loss of nitrogen.
This takes us straight to the next method.
You should know that urea is soluble in water.
For this method, you should use a pump sprayer. To make a solution, you should add one tablespoon of urea to one gallon of water.
If your grass needs more nitrogen, add four tablespoons of urea to one gallon of water.
Now, shake the liquid and add it to the pump sprayer. Finally, you can spray your plants until you see the mixture dripping from the leaves.
Now, let’s talk about potted plants as well.
To use the urea fertilizer, mix it with water in a 1:10 ratio (1 part urea to 10 parts water).
Now, you can apply this mixture around your plants.
The amount of urea you will need depends on multiple factors. For example, the size and age of the plant.
Generally, you should add 1-2 tablespoons of urea per gallon of soil.
Note that you should be extremely careful with the application process. This is because over-fertilizing can kill your plant as well.
I have a question for you. When to apply the urea fertilizer?
It is extremely important to apply urea fertilizer at the right time.
Note that the applications depend on several factors such as soil temperature, pH, moisture, and the amount of residue.
- The ideal time to fertilize cool-season grasses with urea is late fall (early October to early December) and late summer.
- If I talk about warm-season grasses, apply urea in spring.
This is because warm-season grasses emerge from winter dormancy. So, they need a nitrogen fertilizer as they are developing
Now, let’s talk about the application process in detail.
The urea fertilizer should not be added when the temperature is too high. The ideal time to apply urea is when the temperature is between 32°F and 60°F (cold days).
Note: You should apply the fertilizer when there are no forecasted periods of heavy rain.
If brief showers are forecasted for the next two days, you should apply the urea fertilizer.
- If I talk about potted plants, you should fertilize them when they are actively growing.
This is because fertilization during periods of dormancy can damage your plant.
Tip: The best way to estimate the application rate is to observe your plant carefully.
It would be best if you started with a small application. You can also increase the frequency (slightly) if you see positive results.
FAQ’s About The Uses Of Urea Fertilizer:
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
What are the three common uses of urea?
The high nitrogen content promotes the green leafy growth of the plant.
Moreover, the process of photosynthesis is also favoured that allows plants to create energy in the form of sugar.
How many times to apply the urea fertilizer?
You should not apply more than once every two weeks during the growing season.
The best way to estimate the application rate is to observe your plant carefully. It would be best if you started with a small application.
You can also increase the frequency (slightly) if you see positive results.
Can you use the urea fertilizer on the lawn?
Yes, you can! Due to its high nitrogen content, it can work perfectly for your lawn. But, you should be careful with the amount that you apply to your lawn.
Roughly, one pound of this fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn should be added.
With this, our topic about the advantages and disadvantages of urea fertilizer has come to an end.
To recap, urea fertilizer is a good source of nitrogen. You have to be careful with the application process as over-fertilization can kill your plant.
So, I recommend you follow the instructions given on the package.
Thank you for reading and staying with me till the end.
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