If the natural nutrient reserves in the soil no longer meet the demand, the plants primarily suffer from a lack of nitrogen. Common symptoms are yellowed leaves or depressed growth on garden plants. A nitrogen fertilizer can quickly fix the problem for your lawn and plants in the garden. With a view of the bulging shelves in specialist shops, hobby gardeners are of course spoiled for choice. This information illuminates all relevant aspects from mineral blue grain to organic fertilizers such as horn shavings. Benefit from advice on how to use it properly.

Main nutrient element nitrogen

In plants, nitrogen has to fulfill vital tasks. The nutrient is an essential part of photosynthesis and promotes growth by producing protein. Furthermore, nitrogen is an indispensable part of DNA. Likewise, the formation of chlorophyll is hardly possible without the element. The soil mainly contains nitrogen in the form of humus, living root matter, dead plant matter and microorganisms. The nutrients are mainly absorbed by the plants as nitrate or ammonium salts. Even this brief outline of the importance of nitrogen in the plant kingdom shows that if there is a deficiency, the growth process is either severely disturbed or completely deprived.

Weal and woe of blue corn

Classic blue grain fertilizer is the undisputed nitrogen fertilizer in commercial horticulture. Home gardeners have also been buying the legendary complex fertilizer for the plants in their green kingdom for generations. The combination of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and trace elements gets the lawn and the plants in the ornamental and kitchen garden going within a short period of time. In connection with water, the nitrogen compound nitrate is immediately available to the weakening grasses, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. The disadvantage is that not all nitrate can be absorbed by the roots. Ultimately, unused mineral fertilizers seep into the soil. This fact has led to a pollution of the groundwater as well as an overfertilization worldwide. Nevertheless, the nutrition of the world population is currently still dependent on chemical nitrogen fertilizers without any alternative. If the farmers in the Third World could no longer buy mineral fertilizers because production had ceased, there would be further, catastrophic famines such as those that already exist today.
The aim of Blaukorn Entec’s development was to reduce the harmful leaching of nitrate into the groundwater. Thanks to the integrated nitrification inhibitors, this nitrogen fertilizer has an effect of up to 10 weeks. The plants can make better use of the nutrients, which results in higher crop yields, more lush flowers and lush green lawns.
Calcium cyanamide contains a similarly high level of nitrogen as blue grain fertilizer. However, the use of this nitrogen fertilizer is not without risk. Due to the high proportion of lime, a strong corrosive effect develops on skin contact. In addition, the cyanamide it contains is highly toxic, so it is not advisable to use it in the home garden.

Application on the lawn

Since you can buy blue grain fertilizers from different manufacturers, the concentration varies within the products. When dosing, please follow the information on the packaging meticulously so that the lawn does not become over-fertilized. How to properly use the mineral nitrogen fertilizer:

  • The months of March and April are the best time to fertilize your lawn
  • Spring-like temperatures prevail with overcast skies
  • The green space is dry, but not parched
  • Pour the nitrogen fertilizer into a spreader and set the exact dosage
  • Pace the lawn with the fertilizer trolley so that the strips do not overlap

Immediately afterwards, set up the lawn sprinkler in order to water the fertilized area extensively. The lawn is only mowed again when all the blue fertilizer pellets have completely dissolved.

Use in the ornamental and kitchen garden

Flowering and berry bushes, perennials and vegetables react quickly to the administration of blue-grain entec. Within 2 to 3 days, the concentrated nutrient load has an effect in the form of increased flower formation, lush green leaves and forced growth. How to correctly apply nitrogen fertilizer in the ornamental and kitchen garden:

  • Only apply mineral fertilizers during the growing season
  • Ideally, the soil is slightly damp
  • Distribute the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s dosage instructions
  • Sprinkle the blue grains directly on the ground without the leaves or flowers coming into contact with them
  • Work the fertilizer superficially into the soil with a rake
  • Finally, water the soil thoroughly

Please adhere to the specified amount of fertilizer or use a little less. If over-fertilization occurs in the garden, the vital microorganisms in the over-acidic soil die, whereupon the formation of humus decreases steadily.

Tip: If you suspect a lack of nutrients in the garden soil due to stunted growth and yellowed leaves, it is advisable to invest in a soil analysis. A special laboratory examines the soil samples you submit and creates a detailed report with well-founded recommendations for the nutrient supply of your plants.

Organic nitrogen fertilizers

The various disadvantages of mineral nitrogen fertilizers have led to a modified view in the ecologically oriented home garden. Today environmentally conscious hobby gardeners refrain from buying purely chemical fertilizers. The trend is towards organic nitrogen fertilizers such as horn shavings or horn meal. In addition, various natural fertilizers can be easily produced yourself. This not only protects the environment, but also relieves the wallet. The most important nitrogen suppliers among the organic fertilizers are explained in more detail below.

Horn shavings and horn meal

The front runner among organic nitrogen fertilizers consists of rasped horns and hooves from slaughtered cattle. Up to 14 percent nitrogen is contained in horn shavings and the finer horn meal. All other components are below 1 percent. After artificial fertilizers had largely replaced horn fertilizers for a few decades, organic materials are now experiencing a renaissance among organic farmers and in hobby gardens. Since natural fertilizers must first be processed by the soil organisms in such a way that the nutrients are available for the plants, their use differs from mineral fertilizers. That is how it goes:

  • Scatter the horn shavings on the ground in autumn or spring
  • Ideally, use the fine-grain horn meal for lawns
  • A dosage of 60 to 120 grams per square meter is considered appropriate
  • Then water the garden beds and sprinkle the lawn

By pouring lukewarm water over horn shavings and letting it steep for 3 days, you can make organic liquid fertilizer yourself. Put a cap of each brew in 1 liter of irrigation water to supply your potted plants with nitrogen.

Tip: Bark mulch removes plenty of nitrogen from the soil. By enriching the mulch with horn shavings or raking it flat into the ground beforehand, you compensate for the nutrient consumption.


Guano has been known in Europe since the 19th century to supply your garden and lawn with sustainable nitrogen. The fertilizer consists of the excrement of sea birds and is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. The organic nitrogen fertilizer is obtained primarily in the coastal areas of South America. There it has been known as a natural fertilizer for many centuries. Guano is available in garden centers and hardware stores as granules, liquid fertilizer or fertilizer sticks. So you can fertilize all plants in the garden and on the balcony in an environmentally friendly way with nitrogen emphasis.


With a nitrogen content of 0.4 to 0.6 percent, cow manure is one of the most important organic N fertilizers for organic and home gardeners. The manure is only of the best quality after several months of rotting, as there is then no more straw in the fertilizer than nitrogen blockage. Stored cow dung does not only act as an organic nutrient supplier. At the same time, the material makes a valuable contribution to maintaining a humus soil structure, rich in vital microorganisms.
Since the contained nitrogen is only released slowly to the plants, fertilizing with cow dung is not necessary every year. How to fertilize your ornamental and useful plants with manure

  • Every 3 years, distribute the cow dung on the bed soil in autumn
  • Shallowly dig under the manure with the spade and water

If you don’t know a farmer who supplies you with cow dung, just use cattle manure pellets from specialist retailers.

Nettle manure

During the production of plant manure, nitrogen bound in the leaf tissue is converted in such a way that it is available for other plants. The leaves of the nettle are excellent for this purpose. If you can come to terms with the intrusive smell during preparation, nettle manure is an organic nitrogen fertilizer for free. This recipe has proven itself in the hobby garden:

  • Harvest fresh nettle leaves from non-flowering plants
  • Fill a wooden tub with 1 kilo of nettle leaves
  • Pour 10 liters of water over it and cover with wire mesh
  • Stir daily with a wooden stick in a sunny, warm location

The addition of rock flour reduces the odor nuisance to a tolerable level. The nettle manure is ready when no more foam forms after about 14 days. The sifted liquid manure is so highly concentrated that it is only used diluted. To apply the organic fertilizer with a watering can, add 10 liters of water to 1 liter of nettle manure. In the early morning shower over the soil with the natural nitrogen fertilizer. On ornamental plants, stop applying fertilizer when buds form, as the high nitrogen content could have a detrimental effect on the abundance of flowers. Almost all plants in the kitchen garden react positively to nettle manure. Only on peas, cabbage, lettuce and vegetables for raw consumption are vegetable manure not suitable.

Organic complete fertilizer from the trade

Those who cannot produce organic nitrogen fertilizers themselves or buy them from neighboring farmers do not have to do without the natural supply of nutrients in the garden. The specialist trade has recognized the need and added a wide variety of organic complete fertilizers to their range. The products contain only natural raw materials such as beet pulp, horn meal, animal and vegetable by-products in a balanced ratio. Premium fertilizers, such as Azet garden fertilizers from Neudorff, also have living microorganisms in their luggage to promote plant growth. It is very easy to use. That is how it goes:

  • In connection with the planting give 50 grams of organic complete fertilizer per plant
  • For existing plants, sprinkle 25 grams per square meter in June or July
  • Work in the fertilizer lightly and pour in again

Ideally, you should apply the organic nitrogen fertilizer to a lawn in spring after you have scarified the green. Extensive watering afterwards ensures that the nutrients reach the grass roots.

If the garden becomes stunted and the lawn has turned yellow, there could be too little nitrogen in the soil. In case of doubt, a professional soil analysis provides proof that your plants require a nitrogen fertilizer. If there is an acute undersupply, the problem can be solved with mineral fertilizers, which are available to the plants for a short time. The exact adherence to the dosage is of the highest relevance, so that as a result of overfertilization no huge amounts of nitrate get into the groundwater. With an organic nitrogen fertilizer, on the other hand, you move in the natural nutrient cycle and avoid the risk of overfertilization. Horn shavings, horn meal, guano and cow dung fertilize the garden in harmony with nature. You can even make nitrogen-rich nettle manure yourself.

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