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Laidback Gardener

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Weed and Feed products: expiry date

When Fertilizer Turns to Rock

When fertilizer turns rock hard, just crush it back into shape. Source: clipground.com, http://www.moa.gov.jm & laidbackgardener.blog

You open a bag or container of fertilizer in the spring and you’re in for a shock: it’s as hard as a rock! It can’t be still good … but in fact, it is.

You may not have noticed, but there is no expiry date on most fertilizers. That’s because they’re made of minerals and the minerals don’t decompose … well, not over a normal human lifespan, at least. So, to turn your lump of fertilizer into something useable again, just crush it up with a hammer or some sort of pestle (a piece of wood, for example). It’s then good to go again.

Theoretically, liquid organic fertilizers could decompose and some manufacturers include do an expiry date: quite a long one, usually 8 to 10 years. In fact, though, if they decompose, they still only become simpler minerals that plants can use … and therefore, they remain useful.

Even so, some liquid fertilizers can settle over time and form deposits on the bottom or the sides of their container. If so, just shake them thoroughly to remix the deposits with the liquid.

Weed and Feeds

Weed & feed products with chemical herbicides have been banned in most countries. Source: www.walmart.com.

The exception to the rule that there is no expiry date on fertilizers is “weed and feed” type fertilizer, that is, one that combines fertilizer and herbicide in the same product. Usually, these products have an expiry date of 3 or 4 years, but it’s the herbicide that loses its effectiveness, not the fertilizer.

Note that weed and feed products containing synthetic herbicides have been banned in most countries other than the United States. Only fertilizers that contain organic herbicides, usually corn gluten, remain on the market in Canada, Australia, and most of Europe. There is no expiry date on these. Just reduce these “organic weed and feeds” to powder if ever they harden.

Keeping Dry Fertilizers Dray

If dry fertilizers harden, it’s because they’ve come into contact with moisture. You can usually keep them dry and in top shape by storing them indoors in a dry spot over the winter.

Fertilizers left outdoors, in a tool shed, for example, can easily be affected by condensation as temperatures drop. To prevent this, attach a pack or two of silica gel to the inside of the container to absorb excess moisture.

Fertilizers: even if their structure changes, you can still use them, right to the very last molecule!

Posts about Weed and Feed products: expiry date written by Laidback Gardener

Does Lawn Fertilizer Go Bad? (4 Tips for Storing)

Have you ever asked yourself does your fertilizer can go bad? In general, the answer is usually NO except in a few cases.

However, there is a catch. Your fertilizer won’t go bad only if you store it properly. That means that you need to appropriately manage leftover fertilizer at the end of the summer season. Let’s see what to expect.

Table of Contents

The Shelf Life of Different Kinds of Fertilizers

You can purchase two types of lawn fertilizer, dry and liquid ones. Both of them can be organic or contain herbicides or pesticides. Their composition will determine whether its efficiency will decrease over time.

1. Dry fertilizer

Basically, organic dry fertilizer is a set of nutrients (usually nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in different proportions) necessary for the soil. These minerals are stable, won’t degrade no matter how long you keep them, and can’t expire over time. You can count that this type of fertilizer has an indefinite shelf life without losing its potency.

2. Weed and feeds fertilizer

These particular type of dry fertilizers contain pesticides or/and herbicides along with manure, and they have a limited time of use. The shelf life of these products is usually up to four years, but the reason is not the fertilizer but herbicide because it loses the effectiveness over time.

Granular fertilizers containing any type of weed or insect control components also expire in four years.

I need to add here that ‘weed and feed’ fertilizers containing synthetic herbicides freely used in the US are banned in most countries including Canada, most of Europe, and Australia.

3. Liquid fertilizer

In general, the shelf life of liquid fertilizer will depend on the type of solution it is made of.

  • Liquid mineral fertilizer – If it contains minerals diluted in liquid, you don’t need to worry. This fertilizer won’t expire quickly, and its shelf life is approximately eight to ten years. You just need to shake the bottle before using it. That’s it.
  • Organic liquid fertilizer – If it contains dissolved organic matter, you need to check its expiring date since it is different from the manufacturer and the specific brand of fertilizer.

Even though liquid fertilizer can’t last as long as a dry one, you should use it since it will benefit your plants more quickly.

4. Compost

As for the compost, this organic matter won’t go bad as long as you store it properly. You can expect your pile decomposes to tiny pieces and lose its volume over time since it is basically a natural material. However, you don’t need to worry about losing nutrients.

Except for the way of storing, how long your compost will last primarily depends on the climate in the region where you live. Be prepared that your compost will break down faster when the weather is hot and humid.

Noticing a stinky smell of your compost is an indicator that the pile is wet and has become anaerobic. The possible reasons are a high level of moisture, lack of aeration, and an imbalance of carbon to nitrogen. Prevent these issues by using an excellent compost tumbler, and you will have great compost for a long time.

How to Storage Fertilizer Appropriately?

Unlike pesticides and herbicides which have a shelf life of only one to the maximum of four years since they lose their potency over time, natural fertilizers are made up of natural minerals and you can storage unused supplies from year to year.

As I have already said, the only way to keep fertilizer active from the one season to the next one is to store it adequately. I will give you a few tips on how to do it in home conditions:

  1. A place for storing – Store unused fertilizer in dry, cold, and shaded locations far away from snow, rain, and high moisture. That way, you will keep it safe for the next season. Keep the product in a protected area, especially if you have kids and pets. For storing compost, you can use a practical indoor compost binfor kitchen, and it will be adequately prepared for the next season.
  2. Freezing protection – If it is about liquid fertilizer, there is always a possibility of freezing during the cold winter nights. Put the bottle in your garage or the other place where the temperature won’t go under the freezing point of the product.
  3. The original package – The best option is to keep fertilizer in the original container/bag to avoid confusion about the product type, its use, and possible cautionary concerns.
  4. Close it safely – Take care that the package is securely closed and store it in the plastic bag or a container to protect it from moisture.

If you have any doubt about the way of storing your fertilizer, you should check the product label and read storage instructions carefully.

Possible Issues with Stored Fertilizer

  • Granular clumping

The only way to keep your fertilizer usable for the next season is to store it appropriately in cold and dry conditions. If you leave it on the open air, you can expect fertilizer to absorb moisture and form clumps. Don’t worry when you notice these changes.

The fertilizer won’t actually lose its effectiveness. When it makes clumps, it just means that tiny particles have bonded together due to higher humidity in the air.

You can solve the problem quickly by breaking up the clumps and start using the fertilizer as usual. The way to prevent granular clumping is storing manure in the plastic container during winter.

  • Sediments in liquid fertilizer

Since liquid fertilizer contains the solids parts, you can expect them to settle to the bottom while you don’t use it. It won’t affect the quality of the product. Just shake the bottle or agitate the content of the plastic bucket, and your fertilizer will be ready to use for the new season.

Conclusion

Taking into account all the above, don’t throw the old bag with fertilizer in the trash. Even though you have forgotten it in the garage for a season or more, it probably won’t go bad. Since minerals your fertilizer contains won’t break down over time, it will stay effective as before, and you can use it without any limitation for years.

Your only concern should be fertilizers which contain herbicides and pesticides since they have a limited time of use. Their shelf life is usually up to four years, but you should read storage instructions carefully because it can vary depending on the particular brand of fertilizer.

Does Lawn Fertilizer Go Bad? (4 Tips for Storing) Have you ever asked yourself does your fertilizer can go bad? In general, the answer is usually NO except in a few cases. However, there is a