How Long Can You Store Granular Fertilizer?

Granular fertilizer is a dry type of fertilizer that comes in pellet form. It is sold in tiny granules, and they are sometimes multi-colored. They are typically available in medium or large-sized bags or bottles to be used on grass, gardens, and other plants. When it comes to buying granular fertilizers, one of the main concerns is proper storage. Thus, you need to know if granular fertilizers expire or for how long you can keep them stocked up.

You can store granular fertilizers indefinitely because they do not go bad. You can keep a big bag of your pellets in the back shed for years and never worry about it getting expired. However, proper storage is still important. Even though granular fertilizers do not have an expiration date, they can get damaged if moisture gets in your bag. You need to store your fertilizers properly to keep them usable over long periods.

Now that you know how long you can store your granular fertilizer, it’s time you understand why this type of fertilizer does not expire and how you can store them properly.

Why Granular Fertilizers Never Go Bad

Some fertilizers are made up of various natural minerals and elements that do not fall through over time. This allows you to keep your unused fertilizer to use from year to year. These elements are stable and will not degrade as time passes – they will enable granular fertilizers to retain their potency. The exceptions are granular fertilizers that contain herbicides or insect or weed control components, in which there is four-year shelf life.

After a while, you may notice that your pellets may clump together and appear “cakey.” This is nothing to worry about because it doesn’t mean your fertilizers have become defective – you can still use them despite the appearance. You just need to break up the clumped material before placing it in your drop or broadcast spreader. You can do so using a stick or just your hands (make sure to put on gloves before you do).

Importance of Storing Fertilizers Properly

Just because your granular fertilizers are “immortal” does not mean you can just store them in whatever convenient manner for you. Improper storage can affect the quality of your fertilizers, and faulty fertilizers can spell disaster for your plants and your budget. Storing fertilizers properly, instead of just buying fresh ones whenever you need them, has various benefits.

It Saves You Money

This is the most apparent reason and should be enough to motivate you to store your fertilizers the right way. Think of the money you will save by not buying new plant feed for each growing season. It’s still sensible to use a fertilizer left from the last season as long as the quality is retained.

It Reduces Fertilizer Waste

You will be doing Mother Earth a huge favor by using up your old fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers do affect the environment. By using leftovers, you will be reducing that negative impact. If you have no use for your excess fertilizers, you don’t just throw them out – give them to other gardeners instead. Not only is this environment-friendly, but you will also score brownie points for saving gardeners some fertilizer money.

Now, if your fertilizers become unusable for whatever reason, make sure to dispose of them properly by following the instructions on the package. You can also take the fertilizers to a hazardous waste site and let them take care of them.

Tips for Storing Fertilizers Properly

Unless your granular fertilizer contains pesticides and herbicides, you don’t have to worry about expiration dates. However, storing them properly is essential in maintaining the effectiveness of your fertilizers. Here are some tips for proper storage:

Use the Right Container

You are better off leaving your fertilizers on their original packaging because it will help you remember their product type, usage, and other important information. Make sure that the label stays readable. In case the original container gets damaged, you need to transfer your fertilizers to a different container. 

Before throwing away the old one, copy all the essential information (or you can just take a picture of the label), so you will still remember how to use the fertilizer properly. Make sure to store the container upright and place it somewhere where it won’t get damaged by moisture.

Seal Properly

Keep the original packaging of the fertilizer intact by using scissors or a utility knife for opening. After getting the pellets you need, seal the container to protect it from moisture and dust. Better yet, place the original container in a plastic bag or larger container and then seal it tightly.

Choose the Right Location

Speaking of storing in the right place, you need to stock your fertilizers in a cool, dry spot where the temperature will not exceed 30 degrees. Some varieties of fertilizers are sensitive to high temperatures. It should be an enclosed space (such as a garage) to protect your fertilizer from direct sunlight and extreme weather. Also, you should not place your fertilizer next to pesticides and other chemicals.

Keep the storage place free from dirt and dust and ensure that rainwater and moisture won’t get into the area. This will prevent your fertilizer from becoming lumpy. Lumpy fertilizers won’t spread as effectively as loose ones.

Aside from maintaining the quality of your fertilizers, storing them in the right location is needed for health reasons. Your fertilizer may be toxic and thus should be kept somewhere unreachable by children and pets. Fertilizers should also be away from surface or groundwater because too much nitrate in drinking water can cause health risks, especially among kids. When phosphorus gets into surface waters, it can cause algae blooms and eutrophication. This can affect the quality of water.

Due to their chemical makeup, granular fertilizers can be stored indefinitely. However, it’s still important to observe proper storage to keep your fertilizers usable and effective. Using a suitable container and choosing the right location will save money and help the environment.

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