If your lawn starts yellowing or is a pale green it is probably an indication that it needs some fertilizer. Which fertilizer do you need to get? This can be a bit of a challenge as there are many different types of fertilizers available and if you are completely clueless as to which one to get, the chances are that you will need some expert advice. How much you need and how to apply the fertilizer is another issue, and if you don’t pay attention to instructions, you may end up destroying your lawn completely. So which is the best lawn fertilizer?
Generally most lawn fertilizers contain potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. Phosphorus strengthens the roots while nitrogen encourages new growth. Potassium is used to keep your grass free from disease. Finding the right ratio of these 3 ingredients and knowing when to use them is the challenge. What type of grass do you have? Different types of grass need different treatments, so it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the type of grass you have.
Basically different types of grass thrive in different types of climates, some can handle extreme heat and others may tolerate drought conditions. Before going out and buying lawn fertilizer that you just might find on sale, it is worth doing a soil test to determine what type and how much you need. Next consider which season is best, these instructions should ideally be stated on the fertilizer container.
- Top 10 Lawn Fertilizers
- How Do You Pick The Best Lawn Fertilizer?
- Lawn Fertilizers Reviews
- 1. Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food – Summerguard with Insect Control
- 2. Dr. Earth 715 Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer, 18-Pound
- 3. Hasta Gro Lawn Organic Fertilizer – Gallon
- 4. Best Plant Food for Plants and Trees: Humboldts Secret Golden Tree
- 5. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food, 10-Pound (Plant Fertilizer)
- 6. Scotts Snap System – Snap Pack – Lawn Fertilizer (Not Sold in Pinellas County, FL)
- 7. Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer – 25 Pounds
- 8. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Lawn Food – 5 lbs (Not Sold in MD, NJ)
- 9. Ironite 1-0-1 Granules 40 lb
- 10. Commercial Grade Lawn Energizer- Grass Micronutrient Booster w/ Nitrogen- Natural Liquid Turf Spray Concentrated Fertilizer
Top 10 Lawn Fertilizers
How Do You Pick The Best Lawn Fertilizer?
Types of Lawn Fertilizer
Generally there are two types of lawn fertilizers, organic or chemical, which is also referred to as synthetic. Lawns have a primary need for nitrogen which encourages new growth. Fertilizers are either granular, pellets or liquid. Granular fertilizers are applied dry and then watered. There are two types of granular fertilizers, quick and slow release.
Organic fertilizers are made from alfalfa, blood meal, cottonseed and kelp, amongst other organic ingredients. This type of fertilizer takes longer to work and is considered to be slow release plant food.
Benefits of Organic Fertilizers
The first thing to consider is that organic fertilizers are eco-friendly and have longer lasting results, even though they take longer to work. Fewer applications are needed and there is less of a chance that you will overfeed your lawn.
Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are a lot more expensive than chemical fertilizers and they take a lot more work to apply. The only other negative is that after application the nature of the lawn fertilizer might attract pets and bugs.
The use of science in the production of synthetic lawn fertilizers can yield some amazing results. This type of fertilizer is listed as artificial, manufactured or inorganic. There is nothing wrong with using synthetic fertilizers, and many people prefer them over the organic type.
Benefits of using Chemical Fertilizers
Synthetic fertilizers are a lot faster acting and hold the exact ratio of nutrients as advertised on the packet. There are many different makes to choose from and this type of fertilizers is readily available as well as inexpensive. If you have a large expanse of lawn, it might be better to choose a chemical fertilizer as this will work out a lot cheaper.
Disadvantages of Chemical Fertilizers
With chemical or synthetic fertilizers you have to be very careful not to overuse as this could prove toxic to your lawn. Nutrients are not left in the soil in the long run and therefore this type of lawn fertilizer does not add anything to the soil and will need to be reapplied.
Ratios in Fertilizers – What Do They Mean?
As a rule most fertilizers will come with numbers, as an example 10:10:10 which basically tells you that there is an equal ratio of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus (NPK) in the fertilizer. These numbers provide the information you need to determine what nutrients have been added and how much of each. These fertilizers could be specific for seasonal use or geographic location.
What Nutrients Does Your Lawn Need?
The primary nutrients all lawns need are:
Nitrogen, which promotes new growth and makes the grass turn a bright green color.
Phosphorus which is essential to strengthen roots
Potassium, which is also known as Potash which protects your lawn from drought and disease
Lawns also need other nutrients like oxygen, calcium, magnesium, hydrogen and sulfur which are usually present in the soil. There are also numerous micronutrients that need to be present in small amounts.
When to Fertilize?
The most popular and expected time to fertilize all your plants including the lawn is in spring. This is mostly true, but your lawn might need help in summer or autumn as well. The best way to know for sure is to do a soil test, but if you don’t, the appearance of your grass will also let you know that it needs some help.
How Much Fertilizer Do You Need To Use?
Bags of fertilizer will normally give accurate indications of how many square feet the bag will fertilize. This is an important indication and even though you might think you are not applying enough, do not add more, you might do more damage than good. It is always better to apply less and fertilize more frequently than laying it on thick. The most important thing to remember is that after you fertilize you need to water your lawn very well.
How Do You Apply The Fertilizer?
The secret to applying fertilizer to your lawn is to make sure that it is applied evenly. This is done in order to avoid patches of grass that will be a different colour once the fertilizer kicks in. There are several types of applicators available to make applying the fertilizer easier. The type of applicator you use will depend on the size and type of your lawn. Be aware that some fertilizers can stain your concrete or paving.
Fertilizer spreader – this is designed to make the chore easier.
Hand held applicators – work well and make it easy to spread the fertilizer evenly
Push type spreaders – these can be on wheels and use a drop or broadcast style distribution
You can buy a variety of specialized fertilizers, some of which are multifunctional like weed and feed which is a popular product for getting rid of weeds at the same time as fertilizing. Or you could find a combination of fertilizer that contains an insecticide which is also meant to do both jobs at the same time. You can also find liquid lawn fertilizers that promise extra fast results, but you will pay a lot more because you will need a lot of the product, which will need to be applied frequently. Liquid fertilizers are considered to be a quick fix with short term results.
Consider Safety Measures
Chemicals in fertilizers can be harmful to you and your pets. Always wear gloves and be careful when applying. Store fertilizer safely away from children and pets. Once you have applied, water the lawn well to dilute the fertilizer to help it get absorbed into the soil. Do not let your children or pets play on a newly fertilized lawn.
Lawn Fertilizers Reviews
1. Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food – Summerguard with Insect Control
Scotts Turf Builder is a specialty lawn fertilizer with the addition of an insecticide which will eliminate ants and other small insects without causing damage to the lawn. This is lawn food which will build stronger roots and reduce the amount of water that is required to water the lawn. Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food has a high concentration for Nitrogen which will promote new and healthy growth.
It is very important not to overfeed your lawn with this fertilizer as you will run the risk of burning the grass. There is no Phosphorus in the Scotts Turf Builder, which makes this fertilizer unsuitable for a newly planted lawn. A 13kg bag is enough to feed 5,000 square feet of lawn and Scotts turf builder is an inexpensive solution for a fading lawn. This is a granular fertilizer that needs to be applied across the lawn evenly with some kind of a dispenser. Scotts Turf Builder will strengthen your lawns roots and protect it from extreme weather conditions.
- Requires fewer feedings
- Feeds and strengthens established lawns
- Protects against heat and drought
- Kills and protects against insects
- Requires spreader
- No Phosphorus
2. Dr. Earth 715 Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer, 18-Pound
Dr. Earth 715 is a natural organic lawn fertilizer that comes in the form of slow release pellets. The numerical ratios are 9:3:5 nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. The high percentage of nitrogen is necessary for new growth. Dr. Earth 715 also contains microorganisms that are highly beneficial to your lawn. This product is 100% organic and safe for pets and children. The slow release pellets will keep on feeding your lawn for up to 3 months.
Strengthening and thickening of the roots promotes conservation of water and adds life to the lawn. Dr. Earth 715 comes in an 18lb bag and is enough to cover up to 2,000 square feet. Among other organic materials, Dr. Earth 715 contains fish meal, potassium sulfate, alfalfa and seaweed extract. Beneficial mycorrhizae and microbes are also added. This is a superior organic fertilizer that promotes lawn growth by providing a plethora of soil microbes which are released slowly even under drought conditions. This fertilizer is used to feed newly laid lawns and a variety of different grass types.
- Natural organic
- High nitrogen
- Beneficial microorganisms
- Safe for pets and children
- Slow release pellets
- Water conservation
3. Hasta Gro Lawn Organic Fertilizer – Gallon
Hasta Gro Lawn is a liquid fertilizer which requires application with a hose sprayer. This liquid fertilizer has been specially formulated to be used on lawns and it is a fast way of ensuring that nutrients are passed through the leaves which will absorb the liquid and feed the whole plant. Hasta Gro lawn fertilizer contains urea, potassium nitrate, phosphoric acid, Potassium hydroxide, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and soluble potash amongst other microorganisms which are beneficial for the lawn. This is an organic fertilizer that comes in a gallon container with mixing instructions. Hasta Gro is also safe for children and pets.
The Hasta Gro liquid fertilizer needs to be dispersed with a hose attachment which fits onto the container. One gallon of Hasta Gro can fertilize an area of up to 16,000 feet. Liquid fertilizers work faster than dry fertilizers and there is no danger of burning your grass. Reasonably priced, Hasta Gro liquid fertilizer will go a long way and give you quick results. Although this fertilizer is manufactured to be used as a lawn fertilizer it has been used in other areas of the garden with great success.
- Quick results
- Absorption through leaves
- Contains microorganisms
- Safe for children and pets
- Reasonably priced
- Fertilize up to 16,000 feet
- Needs special equipment to disperse
4. Best Plant Food for Plants and Trees: Humboldts Secret Golden Tree
The Humboldts liquid fertilizer is suitable for most flowers and vegetables as well as for lawns. This is a concentrated mixture that can produce up to 2,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer. Golden Tree is a highly rated quality fertilizer which can be used for the whole garden. Humboldts Golden Tree increases plant growth by activating enzymes which increase photosynthesis. This liquid fertilizer was developed many years ago and is considered to be a great base nutrient system that is used for the whole garden.
Golden Tree is a comprehensive additive that can be added as a soil drencher or a foliage spray and will give new life to your plants. This fertilizer is completely organic and amongst others, contains kelp, amino acids and carbs. The average dilution of this mixture is 15ml to a gallon of water and it can be used more than once a week, depending on the condition of your plants. Not the most pleasant mixture to smell, Golden Tree does however work well in rescuing plants that are obviously not surviving. The ‘secret’ ingredient that is said to make this liquid fertilizer magical is the humic acid that is included.
- Comprehensive additive
- Suitable for all plants
- Root or foliage spray
- Encourages new growth
- Unpleasant smell
- Can damage plants if overused
5. Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food, 10-Pound (Plant Fertilizer)
Miracle-Gro is an all-purpose plant food that comes in a 5 or10 pound bag and can be used once or twice a week depending on the condition of your lawn. You might need to purchase the Miracle-Gro feeder or you can use any watering can as this fertilizer needs to be diluted before adding to your lawn. Miracle-Gro is a synthetic fertilizer that is not safe for children or pets. The 5 pound bag is sufficient to fertilize around 4,000 square feet of lawn. Miracle-Gro must be used according to instructions because overuse could result in burnt grass.
It is recommended that you feed your lawn every 4 to 6 weeks. In order to be able to disperse the liquid fertilizer you would need to use a feeder jar with a hose and sprayer or a watering can. This fertilizer has to diluted before you can use it. The usual ratio for outdoor plants is 15ml Miracle-Gro per gallon of water. There is a measuring spoon included with the bag. Miracle-Gro is very economical and one bag can go a long way.
- Easy to apply
- Water-soluble formula makes for good coverage
- May not be safe around pets
- Could burn your lawn
6. Scotts Snap System – Snap Pack – Lawn Fertilizer (Not Sold in Pinellas County, FL)
Scotts Snap System is purely a lawn fertilizer and not suitable for other plants. To use you would have to purchase the Scotts Snap Spreader as an attachment to distribute evenly on your lawn. The spreader comes with EdgeGuard technology and has collapsible handle for easy storage. Once you have connected the snap spreader to the bag the proper application rate is automatically set and ready to be spread on your lawn. The Scotts fertilizer is suitable for any grass type and can be used any season on dry and yellowing grass. Scotts Snap system comes with a guarantee of satisfaction, if for any reason you are not happy with this product you can request your money back.
This fertilizer is said to strengthen grass roots and in turn promote new growth. The Scotts Snap System is designed specifically for lawn care and the whole system works well for even distribution on the lawn. Just follow instructions and take a walk in straight lined up and down your lawn dispersing the fertilizer as you go. This premium quality lawn fertilizer will get your lawn looking great again. If you have any insects in your grass that you want to get rid of try the Snap Pack Insect Killer which works amazingly well. One bag covers up to 1,500 square feet which makes this fertilizer quite expensive if you have a large expanse of lawn. The product however is very good and you can see results within three weeks.
- Comes with Snap System
- Strengthens grass roots
- Satisfaction Guarantee
- Insect control
7. Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer – 25 Pounds
Safer Brand is made solely with plant based nutrients and has been around for over 25 years. With the creation of their Lawn Restore II, they have managed to extend the coverage and keep the price down which makes this fertilizer more cost effective. An advantage of the Safer Brand 9333 is that it does not use any manure and is therefore odorless and the 25 pound bag is enough to fertilize up to 5,000 square feet. This is a purely plant based organic fertilizer that disperses the right balance of nutrients to your soil ensuring a greener lawn, guaranteed.
Lawn Restore II does not disturb your soils ecosystem and works with the natural fungi and bacteria to promote strong roots and foliage in newly planted lawns and also brings existing grass back to life. The strengthening of the roots protect your grass from disease and drought conditions by maintaining healthy nutrient at an optimum level. Safer Brands has been developing lawn fertilizers since 1987 and a lot of science has been included in the make-up of the Lawn Restore II. Application of Lawn Restore is early spring and it is recommended that you apply again mid-summer and then in autumn. There is no danger of over applying Lawn Restore and it will not burn your turf. With a ratio of 10:0:6 NPK Lawn Restore II comes highly recommended.
- Fully organic
- Cannot burn turf
- Highly recommended
- Covers a lot of ground
- Can attract flies
8. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Lawn Food – 5 lbs (Not Sold in MD, NJ)
Miracle-Gro water soluble lawn food can be applied to your lawn with the Miracle-Gro feeder or by mixing it into a watering can. The latter will obviously take longer to do especially if you have a large lawn. The 5 pound bag is enough to fertilize up to 4,000 square feet and the NPK ratio of this lawn food is 36:6:6. Results are promised within 5 days and if applied correctly you should notice that your lawn is fuller and a bright green color. It is recommended that you apply the Miracle-Gro lawn food every couple of weeks to keep your grass in optimum condition.
Miracle-Gro is not sold in some states of the US due to laws passed against pollutants in lawn fertilizers. To mix the soluble lawn feed you would need 15ml or 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. Whatever you use to feed your lawn, do it slowly and carefully so that there is an even distribution of fertilizer. The best time to apply Miracle-Gro is in spring or early summer, unless you have an obvious problem with your lawn in which case you could apply at any time.
- Quick results
- Easy to mix
- Slow to apply
9. Ironite 1-0-1 Granules 40 lb
Ironite is a well-known American product, which has been around for over 50 years. Mineral rich with 3 sources of iron, Ironite promotes deep green lawns and vigorous plant growth without the fear of burning. Ironite is basically a mineral supplement for lawns which work by enriching the soil to promote growth. Ironite comes in granules which are soluble and contains 4.5% iron. When applying avoid getting on your paving or cement as it will stain. Reviews have been very positive and except for a few complaining about the price, it seems that Ironite is considered to be a great plant supplement with quick results in getting your lawn to a deep green and healthy looking color.
Use Ironite strictly according to instruction in spring or early summer to prevent the grass from yellowing. Within a couple of weeks you should see results. Be aware when storing this product that if it leaks it will stain your floor badly. Ironite mineral supplement contains soluble iron and has 1:0:1 NPK ratio which quickly remedies yellow turf turning it to a luscious green. Ironite is compatible with all soil types and grass and it does not contain any phosphorus. Plants with nutrient deficiencies will benefit after just one application of Ironite. A 40 Pound bag will cover up to 4,000 square feet.
- Mineral rich
- Soluble Iron
- Promotes growth
- Rich green colored turf
- Suitable for all types of grass
- Can stain pavements
10. Commercial Grade Lawn Energizer- Grass Micronutrient Booster w/ Nitrogen- Natural Liquid Turf Spray Concentrated Fertilizer
This is a Simple Lawns Solution product that is made out of 100% natural organic materials with added essential vitamins and nutrients. This micronutrient booster with Nitrogen covers all your needs for a health green lawn. One container is enough to cover up to 3,200 square feet and this booster treatment comes in a ready to use sprayer container. This all natural nontoxic formula contains quality nutrients and vitamins and can be used on any type of grass. This also makes it safe to use if you have pets and children.
Simple Lawn Solutions is manufactured in the USA and is an intensified nitrogen based high quality lawn booster which will provide the soil with all the nutrient needed to encourage maximum growth, health and a deep green color. If you would like to follow Simple Lawn Solutions lawn program which involves 3 products which are distributed on your lawn over a period of time, these products are readily available and they do produce results when used together. It is recommended that you use this product in conjunction with their Green Booster & Lawn Food for optimum results.
- All natural and safe fertilizer
- Can be used on any grass type
- Can be used all year round
- No chemicals
- Soil nutrients long lasting
- Made in the USA
- Spray bottle substandard quality
- Has to be used as a 3 part regime