Chemical or organic garden? There is a big difference between them! When using chemicals like petroleum based products, you are feeding the plant. It is like being on steroids. Once you stop using chemicals the whole system collapses.
Chemicals feed the plant. That’s why you need the so called 5 step water soluble fertilizer program. Water soluble means you need water to decompose the product. And this is true for most chemical products being used on any yard. The main problem of using chemical fertilizers that require great amounts of water is that it will also be the cause for pesticide and fertilizer run-off.
In organic gardening it is common to talk about Cation Exchange Capacity (C.E.C.), which is a value given on a soil analysis report to indicate the ability of the soil to retain and release nutrients. Generally chemical lawns have a low C.E.C.. therefor the soil is not able to retain most of the nutrients provided by the bag of fertilizer, so most of it is lost by just evaporation and by run-off. Then, some fertilizer in absorbed by the plant. In general, a great amount of product is simply wasted.
Organic products will feed the microbiology in the soil. That’s why you will hear the true organic landscapers saying to feed the soil instead. The microbiology in the soil will feed on the organic fertilizer, like corn, soy, seaweed, kelp, grass clippings, leaves, etc… In return, the microorganisms will produce available nutrients for the plant as byproduct of the digestion of the organic materials. Then, the plants will take whatever they need. Same thing happens in nature. Trees will loose the leaves in the Fall, weeds will die back… All these plant material will be eaten by billions and billions of microbes creating available nutrients for the plants.
Remember the big difference between chemical lawns and organic lawns… Chemical you feed the plant and organic you are feeding the soil.