A lush, vibrant lawn is a sight to behold. But without the right care, your grass can end up patchy, full of weeds, and far from golf-course-worthy. Mowing and watering are important, but choosing the right fertilizer is equally as important if looking to get that enviable lawn.
With quite a number of fertilizer options out there, it’s easy to feel confused about which one suits your yard.
Before you settle for one that might frustrate you down the line, let’s go over what to consider when comparing lawn fertilizer.
Determine Your Grass Type
The first step is identifying what type of grass you have – warm season or cool season. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda and zoysia thrive in hot, southern climates. Cool-season grasses like fescue and bluegrass grow best in northern regions with cooler temperatures.
The type of grass you have determines the specific nutrients it needs. Cool-season grasses tend to do well with lots of nitrogen while warm-season varieties want a fertilizer higher in phosphorous and potassium.
Understand the Fertilizer Labels
The three numbers you see on fertilizer bags refer to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium they contain. For example, a 10-10-10 fertilizer has an equal ratio of all three. Look for a lawn fertilizer with a higher first number for nitrogen if you have cool-season grass. Warm-season grasses do better with a higher second number for phosphorus. Potassium promotes overall lawn health for all grass types.
Consider Slow vs. Fast-Release Fertilizers
The release rate of the nutrients also varies between fertilizer products. Fast-release lawn fertilizers provide an immediate boost of nutrients that green up your lawn quickly but don’t last very long. Slow-release fertilizers have a coating that gradually breaks down over time for a longer-lasting, steady feeding. These are preferable for maintaining consistent growth. There are also blends that combine both fast and slow-release options.
Compare The Different Fertilizer Forms
Fertilizers come in granular, liquid, or spray form. Granular fertilizers are easiest to apply evenly with a broadcast spreader. Liquid fertilizers can cover large areas quickly with a pump sprayer. Concentrated spray fertilizers efficiently adhere to grass blades.
Liquids and sprays allow for more precision and control since you can adjust the dilution rate. Granular fertilizers provide the convenience of a single application.
Review Added Benefits
Many fertilizers now include additional ingredients beyond nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Look for options with bio-stimulants like sea kelp or humic acid that help stimulate soil microbes and root development.
Crabgrass preventers and weed control additives keep your lawn free of unwanted intruders. Fertilizers fortified with iron provide an extra greening effect. Consider any extra perks that align with your specific lawn goals.
Organic vs. Synthetic Sources
You’ll also notice a difference in where the nutrients come from. Organic fertilizers derive nitrogen from plant or animal materials like bone meal or corn gluten. Synthetic fertilizers use urea and ammonium sulfate manufactured in labs for higher concentrations. Organic options are lower maintenance while synthetic fertilizers offer immediate results. Many use a blend of both natural and synthetic ingredients.
Get the Ideal Lawn Fertilizer
Now that you know what to look for when comparing lawn fertilizers, you can shop with confidence and find the ideal fertilizer to get your grass green and lush. Mix and match different products as needed to build a complete fertilization program tailored to your specific lawn. With the right fertilizer, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood in no time.