The 10 Best Lawn Fertilizers

Updated March 31, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Lawn Fertilizers
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We spent 38 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Nothing makes your house look better than a lush, healthy lawn, but keeping your grass looking its best can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, the fertilizers on this list will give your greenery the nutrition it needs to grow strong and healthy from the roots to the blades. All you have to do is apply as directed - it's up to you whether to share your secret with the neighbors. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best lawn fertilizer on Amazon.

10. Urban Farm LL128

Urban Farm LL128 is a liquid fertilizer that contains enzymes designed for root activation, making it perfect for filling in dead spots. It is the only instant lawn fertilizer with both calcium and iron, but it can burn your grass if you overapply.
  • one bottle dilutes into 256 gallons
  • great value for the money
  • may clog hose-end sprayers
Brand Urban Farm Fertilizers
Model LL128
Weight 12 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Scotts Green Max

Scotts Green Max gives your vegetation a shot of iron with the fertilizer to produce a noticeably greener color in just 3 days, while simultaneously making it thicker and hardier. You only have to apply it every 6-8 weeks for best results, so it's not time-intensive.
  • enables grass to crowd out new weeds
  • helps seeds take root
  • causes rust stains on concrete
Brand Scotts Green Max
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Milorganite 0636

Milorganite 0636 is an organic nitrogen that's made of heat-dried microbes, enabling it to quickly penetrate and re-energize the soil. As an added bonus, the smell can help keep pests like rabbits from nibbling on your grass, but you'll have to deal with the odor as well.
  • won't burn or stain your lawn
  • safe for kids and pets to walk on
  • needs lots of water for best results
Brand Milorganite 0636
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Jonathan Green 10458

Jonathan Green 10458 will not only ensure you have a bright and vibrant lawn, but it also helps to prevent crabgrass both before and after it germinates. You can apply it up to 4 weeks later than other crabgrass eliminators, so your yard will never look scraggly.
  • brings lawns out of winter dormancy
  • won't harm driveways or patios
  • gives off lots of ammonia
Brand Jonathan Green
Model 10458
Weight 15.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Bill's Perfect Fertilizer

Bill's Perfect Fertilizer from Spray-n-Go has just the right amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to bring a dead yard back to life. It's made from a variety of organic ingredients that were cold cooked to protect their nutritional integrity.
  • very effective on trees as well
  • easily processed by plants
  • a little on the expensive side
Brand Bill's Perfect Fertiliz
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. GreenView Fall Lawn Food

GreenView Fall Lawn Food uses no phosphates in their formula, which allows your grass to bounce back quickly after a long winter. It also encourages longer root growth to reach deeper pockets of moisture and nutrients, and is inexpensive enough to reapply frequently.
  • clears up brown patches quickly
  • immediate and time-released nitrogen
  • can cause yellowing
Brand GreenView Fall Lawn Foo
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Garden Peals Gypsum

Garden Peals Gypsum is a fantastic choice if you have problems with clay in your soil, as gypsum breaks it up and increases water absorption. It also leaches salt out of the dirt to restore the proper soil structure, allowing nutrients to reach the roots.
  • great for homes with dogs
  • works well on flower beds too
  • helps normalize ph levels
Brand Garden Pearls
Model 10799
Weight 25.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

3. Safer Brand 9333 Ringer

Safer Brand 9333 Ringer uses plant-based nutrients instead of bio-solids, so it leaves no odors behind and is safe to walk on. It feeds the beneficial bacteria and fungi deep in your soil, giving your grass plenty of the fuel it needs to grow green and lush.
  • pellets are easy to spread evenly
  • works well in gardens also
  • good for high-traffic yards
Brand Safer
Model SA9333
Weight 25.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Scotts Turf Builder

Scotts Turf Builder feeds and strengthens the root system, so that there's less room for weeds to take hold. It also enhances your lawn's ability to utilize nutrients and absorb water, giving you better, quicker results with less effort on your part.
  • works on all types of grass
  • helps lawns weather droughts
  • easy to spread evenly
Brand Scotts
Model 22305
Weight 12.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Miracle-Gro Lawn

Miracle-Gro Lawn comes in a crystal form designed to be hooked up to a hose and used with the brand's dispenser for easy, even application. Each box contains enough formula to feed 4,000 square feet of lawn, making it an inexpensive way to keep your yard healthy.
  • feeds through roots and grass blades
  • more effective than granular options
  • easy to measure out
Brand Miracle-Gro
Model 1001834
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Lawn Fertilizer 101: Science Meets Nature

If you want to enjoy a lush, green lawn that grows evenly, covers reliably, and resists the encroachment of weeds, then you are going to want to set aside a good deal of free time and get ready for some hard work. Establishing a healthy, resilient lawn is no easy task, but choosing the right fertilizer can certainly help. Thus, the first order of business has nothing to do with elbow grease, and everything to do with research.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, just to be clear, fertilizer refers to material that provides nutrients to plants, in this case grass, that will help it grow more quickly and more robustly. You can think of it as plant food, and as with your own health, the type of food you choose to give your lawn will have a direct impact on its health.

Whether you are growing your lawn from seed or you are laying sod you hope will put down roots, giving the grass a hand is always a good idea, and it's an expense that will save you money in the long term. A few bags of fertilizer will cost a lot less than starting over with another round of sod or seed if that lawn you're raising doesn't make it.

There are many types of lawn fertilizers available, and they can be grouped according to myriad attributes, but in general, fertilizers can be assigned to three overarching categories: single-nutrient, multi-nutrient, and organic.

First we'll talk about single-nutrient fertilizers: these are rich in nitrogen, which is arguably the most effective nutrient for enhanced plant growth. These fertilizers can also cause issues, though, such as potentially damaging aquatic ecosystems when they run off into rivers, lakes, and the ocean. With careful use, they are safe and effective. You'll find plenty of nitrogen in established brands like Miracle-Gro. (As it turns out, the miracle is just good old nitrogen.)

Multi-Nutrient fertilizers are, as you probably guessed, formulated to deliver more than one nutrient. This can include things ranging from iron and calcium to copper. This type of fertilizer can help restore lawns, bringing back the lushness and greenness you want in a yard.

Organic fertilizers are made primarily from animal waste, such as chicken manure or even bat guano, and may also be made from composted plant materials. Organic fertilizers generally contain lower nutrient concentration than inorganic (AKA synthetic) options, but they are generally safer to use around people, pets, and food plants.

When Should You Fertilize?

As with comedy, so too with fertilizer: timing is everything. If you apply fertilizer too early or too late in a given season, its efficacy may be reduced. Premature applications can see poor results due to cold weather, rains, or dormant grass. Late application may simply be a waste of time and money.

And beyond the time of year, consider the age of the grass itself: if you fertilize young grass before it's hearty enough for the treatment, some fertilizers may do much more harm than good. Remember that fertilizing a lawn is hardly ever a "one and done" situation; there will likely be several applications per season, and their timing matters, so plan accordingly and plan ahead.

Knowing the exact right time to fertilize your lawn depends on many variables, including the climate where you live, the age and health of your existing grass, and the type of fertilizer you have chosen to apply, but if you keep these broad strokes in mind, you'll be ahead of the game: Your soil temperature should be above 55 degrees, there should be no rain predicted for at least the ensuing 2-3 days, and other plants should have begun to grow and bloom with the season.

It can be hard to tell exactly when the soil temperature has hit (or passed) that magic mark of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but that's when grass generally revives from its winter dormancy and starts to grow, so that's when you should feed it. Ambient outdoor temperatures provide a good estimation, or you can check with a local horticultural center.

While it's important to water fertilized grass regularly, it's also important to not fertilize before rainfall, as too much water will wash away the fertilizer, wasting your money and effort, and potentially damaging the environment.

If you're having trouble telling exactly when to fertilize your lawn, just listen to the rest of nature: when other plants in the area are clearly starting to grow again, your grass is also probably entering a growth cycle and will appreciate the assistance from the first fertilization of the year.

And after that first treatment, plan to fertilize again every 6-8 weeks, depending on the temperature, your type of grass, and of course how well your lawn is doing.

Choosing The Right Fertilizer For Your Property

Choosing the right fertilizer for your lawn is partially science, partially preference. If you're okay with using synthetic, nitrogen-rich fertilizers, they will certainly make the job easier, but it might mean days where your family and pets have to avoid the grass. If you insist on organic fertilizers, then it might take you a few tries to see what your grass will prefer.

Really, any lawn fertilizer will help you grow a thicker, greener yard, so instead of considering the grass itself as you search for the perfect fertilizer, instead consider other factors, by considering the following:

In hotter, drier climates, consider turf builder fertilizers that can help maximize water absorption and make grass more robust and hearty.

For weeds and crabgrass, choose a "weed and feed" variety that will help wipe out the unwanted plants without harming the grass.

If people and pets frequent your yard, look for phosphate-free and/or organic formulas.

If you have drier, coarse soil that doesn't hold water well, then look for a fertilizer rich in gypsum, which can help hold water, keeping it nearer to those grass roots.

And if you want a greener lawn, then look for fertilizers rich in chelated iron; this formula helps raise the bio-availability of the iron that greens up the grass, no matter what the soil's pH level may be.



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Last updated on March 31, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.


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