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The Best Lawn Fertilizers (2022)

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A granular fertilizer for perfect green grass

If you have a lawn in your front or backyard, you’re going to want to make sure that the foliage is healthy. You’re going to want it well-equipped to deal with pests, weeds, and disease — which is where lawn fertilizers come in.

Lawn fertilizers contain a mixture of nutrients that the ground cannot naturally provide. They are made up of either natural, organic, or synthetic materials. Three of the most important materials that almost all fertilizers consist of include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; together, these macronutrients are referred to as NPK. They also contain other elements like chlorine, copper, cobalt, boron, nickel, and zinc in smaller amounts.

Before shopping for fertilizers, you need to sample your soil and ascertain which nutrients the plants you have around your lawn or home need. Use this guide to better your understanding of the top-rated lawn fertilizers of 2022 and pick one that’s best suited for your lawn’s needs.

Top Picks

Best overall: The Andersons Professional Fertilizer

A PGF complete lawn fertilizer

A PGF complete lawn fertilizer

This professional-grade lawn fertilizer is the complete package for any lawn. It may be a little slow to work, but after some time, you’re going to see a notable change in your lawn. This is the perfect pick, especially if you live in a place with little rain and high temperatures. It’s great for pretty much any lawn owner out there. An 18-pound pack of this fertilizer is enough for around 5,000 square feet. It can be applied in any season but works best during summer and spring. Andersons Professional Fertilizer is the best choice on this list because it consists of a blend where all nutrients and products that your lawn needs are fitted into a single pack.

Key Features:

Best organic pick: Milorganite Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer

A 32 lb. nitrogen fertilizer from Milorganite

A 32 lb. nitrogen fertilizer from Milorganite

Milorganite has been leading the lawn fertilizer industry for the past century and remains, to this day, the ideal organic choice for lawn fertilizers. It is manufactured out of purely recycled lawn waste, which is created using heat treatment and nutrient-rich microbes. This option includes an additional 2.5% of iron for deep-greening purposes. One application is enough for up to three months, with one 32-pound container being enough to cover up to 2,500 square feet. Conveniently, the application does not require watering and helps aid root development.

Key Features:

Best for weeds: Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed Fertilizer

A lawn fertilizer from Scotts

A lawn fertilizer from Scotts

Covering up to 15,000 square feet, depending on the size you choose, the Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed Fertilizer are composed of a combination of 28% nitrogen, 0% phosphate, and 3% potassium. That means this fertilizer is great for nurturing leaf growth and improving overall plant function and health. With no phosphates, it prevents water pollution from algae growth, lowering of oxygen levels, damage to marine life, and release of toxic chemicals. And this weed and feed lawn fertilizer still eliminates most major lawn weeds, thanks to its new and improved WeedGrip Technology.

Key Features:

Most pet-safe: Simple Lawn Solutions Advanced Lawn Food

A quality liquid lawn fertilizer

A quality liquid lawn fertilizer

The Simple Lawn Solutions Advanced Lawn Food boasts a formula that will provide your lawn with the perfect mix of macronutrients without posing any kind of threat to your pets. The formula contains only the best ingredients, all of which are pure liquid nutrients packed into a ready-to-use spray container. Its perfect blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium helps with the quick and healthy development of your lawn, including root and plant development and plant tolerance to extreme weather conditions. This lawn fertilizer works on all types of grass including Bermuda, Zoysia, Florida Palmetto, Ryegrass, and more. If you’re looking to nourish and maintain your lawn by boosting both lateral and vertical growth, this is the fertilizer for you.

Key Features:

  • 16-4-8 NPK ratio

  • Available in a 32-ounce jug

  • Concentrated liquid for spring and summer

  • Contains seaweed, fish, and more high-grade ingredients

Best lawn starter: Pennington UltraGreen Starter Fertilizer

A 14 lb starter lawn fertilizer from Pennington

A 14l b starter lawn fertilizer from Pennington

This starter fertilizer by Pennington is a premium blend that contains all the plant nutrients that your lawn needs to be lush green and healthy. Its ingredients include fast-acting nitrogen that works great for greening. It also has slow-release nitrogen, which is great for extended feeding purposes of up to 5,000 square feet of grass. The blend also contains 5% iron, which helps make grassroots stronger and deeper for all types of grass. This lawn fertilizer’s formula makes it a great pick if you’re just starting your lawn.

Key Features:

A buyer’s guide: Finding your next lawn fertilizer

Maintaining a healthy yard is not as easy as it may seem. With the proper fertilizers and fertilizing methods, however, you can significantly improve your understanding of and care for your lawn’s health.

Any kind of plant life depends largely on soil conditions. As a plant food, fertilizers replace nutrients the soil may be lacking, while also fighting off pests and encroaching weeds and diseases that hinder plant growth. Every lawn has and requires different NPK levels; fertilizers need to be picked based on these levels. Buying the right fertilizer can be confusing even after you figure out these levels, but we’re here to make the process easier for you with this buying guide.

Types of lawn fertilizers

Fast-release These fertilizers act quickly in adding nutrients to the soil on your lawn. They’re relatively cheap, but unfortunately, not very long-lasting, which means reapplication is necessary. Even though they may not cost you much individually, frequent reapplication makes them more expensive over time.

  • Slow-release: These are used for more uniform growth and aren’t as dangerous for your lawn and the plants on it. They work well with most types of grass and last longer. While they may be more expensive than fast-release fertilizers and take longer to start working, they are comparatively more effective and preferable.

  • Weed and feed: These fertilizers provide nutrients to your soil while also controlling weed growth. Make sure to read the label before selecting these types, however, because different weed and feed fertilizers work on different weeds. This type should not be used on newly grown grass or sod because it contains a large number of herbicides that may adversely affect germination.

  • Winterizer: As the name suggests, these types will prepare your lawn for the cold season. They add extra nutrients to the soil, which can be stored for use during winter. Additionally, they help your plants combat diseases and grow faster and healthier in spring.

  • Lawn-starter: As the name suggests, these are used to aid the growth of new grass and sod. They are especially high in phosphorus content, which strengthens new grassroots and promotes future growth.

How to apply fertilizer correctly

The timing depends primarily on the grass type on your lawn. What’s common for all types of grass is multiple fertilizer applications around the year. Grasses specific to warmer seasons should be fertilized anywhere between two and four times a year (just before spring starts and just as summer is ending). Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, need to be fertilized twice a year (right after winter ends and just as fall begins). They should not be fertilized in summer. The best time of the day to apply fertilizer is either in the morning or evening.

Lawn fertilizers need to be applied based on their type. Liquid ones need to be applied more often, but in controlled amounts, because they may burn the lawn if applied in greater quantities. These should be mixed with water and added to a hand pump or backpack sprayer to be sprayed onto lawns. Granular fertilizers do not need to be applied as frequently because they take longer to absorb and can be applied through granular spreaders.

People also asked

Q: Do I need to prepare my lawn before fertilizing it?

A: Ideally, you should mow and rake your lawn before applying fertilizer onto it. If you want to be especially careful and thorough, you might even want to aerate the ground to create a direct channel for the fertilizer to reach the roots of the grass on your lawn.

Q: Is there an optimal time of the day to apply lawn fertilizer?

A: The best time of the day would be in the early morning or early evening. You should do it when the sun is not beating down on your lawn.

Q: Isn’t watering my lawn enough?

A: You wouldn’t be able to survive on water alone, would you? Like your body, your lawn needs macronutrients as well. Not all the nutrients it needs can be found naturally in the soil on your lawn. Lawn fertilizers are packed with everything that the grass and plants in your yard need not only to survive but to grow and thrive.