Fertilizers used in gardens and on lawns provide nutrients for your plants and they are great for enhancing the quality of your soil, but if you have kids or pets around, there are some special safety measures that you should have in mind when choosing and applying your fertilizer. Here are some.
“Organic” and “Safe for Pets and Kids” are Not Synonyms
While choosing an organic lawn fertilizer is a great decision that nourishes your plants and enhances the quality of your soil in a way that is safe for nature, some organic products do contain substances that are not for being inhaled or ingested by humans and pets. This means that whatever type of fertilizer you use, whether it is synthetic or organic, you should always follow the instructions on the label and make sure it says “safe for pets and children” before you let your little ones or your furry pals around them.
Always Know Your Fertilizer
Some fertilizers are developed to provide your plants with essential nutrients, while others can serve multiple roles, including killing or preventing the appearance of weeds. The more complex your fertilizer, the more likely that the product comes with special handling and storage instructions that you should always read and follow.
Pay Special Attention to Runoffs and Spills
Fertilizers come either in solid form, the treated soil requiring watering right after the spreading or sprinkling of the product is complete or in liquid form the assimilation of which starts right after the application. Either way, the fertilizer liquid can easily get where it shouldn’t, on pathways, driveways or sideways. Most fertilizers contain iron, which can form rusty patches on concrete when it comes into contact with water, but that would be only a cosmetic issue. The bigger problem is when the spills or runoffs that contain fertilizer spread on the surfaces that kids and pets use – if you toddler happens to go down on all fours, the chemicals that stick to the child’s hands can easily get into the mouth and your pets might lick the substance off their paws. To avoid that, make sure that all those pathways, driveways and sidewalks are protected with some foil before you even start the fertilization process or clean the surfaces affected by spills or runoffs right after the fertilization, before the liquid has the chance to dry. You should also prevent your fertilizer from getting into any ponds or waterways to prevent any harm caused in aquatic environments.
Store Your Fertilizer Safely
Fertilizers might not smell very attractive for humans, but some products contain ingredients, such as blood meal or bone meal, that are extremely attractive for dogs, cats and other pets. If you have a large bag of such fertilizer that has been opened recently, make sure that the bag is stored in an area where it cannot be reached by your pets. Ideally, you should store fertilizer in a locked cabinet that is out of reach of children, too.