Everyone dreams of having a green and lush lawn, but you may need to give nature a small boost. Even if your lawn has everything it needs in place to grow a thick and green lawn, it may need a little encouragement. This is where the best lawn fertilizer comes in. It can liven up your lawn and kickstart the growing process, especially in the spring after a long dormant period.
We understand that finding lawn fertilizer can be a challenging task, so we’ve done the research for you. We’ve rounded up the top 10 best lawn fertilizers and provided mini reviews of each one for you. Additionally, our short buyer’s guide will highlight what you should consider when you start comparing lawn care products.
1. Andersons Professional PGF Fertilizer – Top Pick
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There isn’t a pretty bag for this fertilizer, but it packs a powerful formula into a convenient package to feed your lawn. These are the same products that professional turf managers and golf courses use to keep their grass performing and looking its best. This fertilizer contains a potent mix of methylene-urea, and this gives your lawn continuous nutrients for 8 to 10 weeks after you apply it to encourage healthy growth. It’s especially helpful when you spread grass seed. It has Humid DG as an organic amendment in the formula, and this helps encourage grass roots to thrive while improving the soil health.
This lawn fertilizer comes in granular form, and they’re slightly smaller than you typically get. They can easily work into thicker patches of grass so your lawnmower doesn’t hit it and displace it. This is a phosphorus-free formula that reduces your grass’s nutrient requirements, and it has a slow-release nitrogen to give extended feeding and uniform growth. You also get twice the amount of fertilizer per square foot due to the smaller particle size. You can’t get this fertilizer if you live in South Dakota, Oregon, or California, so take note of this.
- Powerful formula
- Contains methylene-urea
- Humid DG as an organic amendment
- Smaller granules
- Slow-release nitrogen content
- Feeds for 8 to 10 weeks
- Phosphorus-free formula
- Can’t get it in South Dakota, California, or Oregon
2. Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fertilizer – Step-Up Pick
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If you’re looking for a lawn fertilizer that has a decent amount of potassium but is low in nitrogen, look no further than Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fertilizer for the fall months. As winter approaches in certain planting zones, you ideally want your lawn to slow down and get ready to go dormant so it can come back strong in the spring. If you have a higher nitrogen fertilizer, this could encourage the grass to grow again instead of slowing down for the winter. This product comes with a 10-0-20 analysis, and this gives your lawn just enough nitrogen to recover from the more stressful summer months.
The potassium content in this lawn fertilizer can help safeguard your lawn from potential snow mold activity. This is very common in areas that get more severe weather conditions. It prompts good root growth for your grass, and it works very well for fall lawn seeding to give your new grass a nutrient boost. A single bag can easily cover up to 15,000-square feet, and this is enough for most small, medium, or larger yards. It’s step four of the lawn care program from this company, but you can use it without doing the other three steps without damaging your lawn.
- Low nitrogen content
- Shields the grass from snow mold
- 15,000 square foot coverage
- Encourages strong root growth
- Works for small, medium, and large yards
- From a reputable company
- Easy to apply
- Can give you too thick of growth
3. Scotts Turf Builder Starter – Mid-End Budget Pick
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It can be a challenge to plant your grass seed in the spring, especially if you took steps to remove some grass the previous fall so you’re starting from scratch. The biggest problem is trying to get rid of the weeds while preserving the grass because they germinate at the same time as the grass seed. Weeds can choke out new grass growth if you use the wrong lawn fertilizer, and this is where this product comes in. This is a nice starter fertilizer that contains a healthy amount of mesotrione. This is a pre-emergent herbicide that stops weeds from growing while leaving the grass alone.
This lawn fertilizer is a 2-in-1 formula that will prevent weeds and feed your new grass seedlings for up to six weeks after the initial application. It can also work to improve seeding results to give you a lush and full lawn, and it works well for grass plugs and sod as well as seeds. You can use it on virtually any grass types, including starting a new lawn or reseeding your current one. It’ll cover up to 5,000-square feet per bag, but you can’t buy it in Florida.
- Covers up to 5,000-square feet
- Gets rid of weeds and dandelions
- Great starter fertilizer
- Works on grass plugs, sod, and seeds
- 2-in-1 formula
- Feeds for six weeks
- Works on any grass type
- Not for sale in Florida
4. Turf Builder Lawn Food – Bargain Budget Pick
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This lawn fertilizer promotes very strong root growth, and this can help to give you a very lush and resilient lawn. It has an NPK ratio of 32-0-4, and this is excellent for ensuring that your lawn gets a decent amount of nitrogen to grow strong roots and lush, green grass. This is a synthetic fertilizer that will feed the grass over feeding the soil, and you should plan to reapply it throughout the growing season. This is an all-season variety that you can apply in the spring, summer, and fall without a problem.
There is all-in-one particle technology in this lawn fertilizer that works to supply nutrients to the lawn, but it also helps it absorb water. So, it works very well in areas that are prone to drought. You can also use it on almost any grass type, no matter what your regional climate is like. It comes designed to strengthen your lawn to prevent problems in the future, and it’s guaranteed to not burn your lawn. One bag can cover up to 5,000-square feet for a single feeding, so you may need more than one bag in bigger yards.
- Promotes root growth
- NPK ratio of 32-0-4
- Feeds grass instead of the soil
- All-in-one particle technology
- Helps the lawn absorb water
- Can apply to all grass types
- Covers 5,000-square feet
- Easy to over-fertilize the lawn
5. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Lawn Food – Best For Applying with Water
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Although Miracle-Gro tends to have higher NPK ratios on almost all of their products, none of them will feed the soil over feeding your grass. They work very well if you take the time to follow the directions and apply it as it directs you. The product goes best when you apply it with a hose-end sprayer to ensure that it gets diluted correctly, and it lays out exactly how much fertilizer you’re supposed to load in before you start it. If you follow the directions, you can create a green, lush carpet in your lawn.
This lawn fertilizer has a 36-0-6 NPK ratio, and it’s one of the highest on our list. Once it goes through the sprayer, it’ll dilute down to safe levels. Don’t overdo it or you can burn your lawn. One package will cover up to 7,200-square feet of lawn, and it’s easy to apply as long as you have the garden feeder and a good garden hose at your disposal. You’ll get a measurement spoon to ensure you put exactly how much fertilizer you need into the feeder, and you get a very fine powdery mix.
- Dilutes easily with water
- Very specific instructions
- Covers up to 7,200-square feet
- Higher NPK ratio
- Feeds the lawn and not the soil
- Easy to apply
- Measurement spoon included
- Easy to burn the grass if you don’t dilute it correctly
6. GreenView Fairway Formula – Best For Crabgrass Prevention
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The quality of this lawn fertilizer is very high, and the main active ingredient in this product is a crabgrass herbicide. You’ll get a professional-grade, high-quality nitrogen source that releases very slowly after you apply it called methylene-urea. This makes it a very popular choice amongst golf courses and professional landscaping companies. It will evenly release over an 8 to 10 week period after you apply it to continually nourish your grass to give you a lush and green lawn from spring until the early fall months. You will have to apply it at least twice if you apply it right at the start of spring.
The extra-strength dose of crabgrass herbicide will help to keep the crabgrass out of your lawn longer than other choices. It’ll also kill the crabgrass as it sprouts so it doesn’t compete with your grass seed. One application gives you three lawn treatments, including feeding the lawn, killing weeds, and killing crabgrass. It can kill over 200 common weeds, including dandelions. You can cover up to 15,000-square feet per application, but you should avoid using it on carpet grass, dichondra, or St. Augustine grass because it’ll severely damage it.
- Main ingredient is a herbicide
- Feeds for 8 to 10 weeks
- 15,000-square feet of coverage
- Kills over 200 common weeds
- Medium nitrogen content
- Slow-release formula
- Encourage strong root growth
- Have to reapply it
7. LawnStar Liquid Fertilizer – Best For All Grass Types
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This liquid fertilizer from LawnStar comes ready to use, and it includes a hose-end sprayer bottle with your purchase that allows you to attach it to the hose, start the water, and spray your flowers, plants, lawn, or vegetable garden without a problem. It has an NPK ratio of 16-4-8, and this loads your lawn with a lot of essential nutrients to get a full and thick lawn throughout the spring and summer months. It has a higher nitrogen level that will help keep your lawn green, no matter what type of grass you’re growing. It also comes with seaweed extract mixed into the formula, and this will nourish your soil.
One-third of the nitrogen content in the formula of this best lawn fertilizer is slow-release, so it’ll feed your lawn for weeks after you first apply it. It’ll encourage your grass to grow more resilient and deeper root systems, and the sprayer is compatible with any traditional garden hose. It will treat up to 16,000-square feet per bag. You get a 30-day no-risk return and refund if you’re not 100% satisfied with the product.
- Ready to use right away
- Easy to attach to a hose
- Has a sprayer
- Slow and fast-release nitrogen
- Seaweed extract included
- 16,000-square feet of coverage
- 30-day no-risk guarantee
- Have to replace the sprayer when empty
8. Organic Milorganite Fertilizer – Best For New Grass
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This is an organic fertilizer with a decent nitrogen content to it, and it has 4% chelated iron. This iron content will help your grass turn a very rich green color early in the growth process. It’s one of the oldest fertilizer types of the market, and it features a mix of heat-dried microbes that digest the wastewater’s organic matter. Once they do this, the microbes will die to leave a caked layer behind. Next, the caked layer gets dried at higher temperatures to kill off any remaining pathogens, broken into granules, and packaged to create an organic fertilizer.
Milorganite won’t burn your lawn, so it’s great to apply on more tender seedlings. It has a 6-4-0 NPK ratio, so it’s more low-impact than most options on the list. So, it’s also less likely to cause damage from runoff in the surrounding environment when you water or it rains. You also won’t need to water this fertilizer in, so it makes it a good choice if you’re busy. It’s safe and eco-friendly, and it can help reduce the need to water your lawn to keep it healthy during the hotter summer months so you can save on your utility bill.
- Organic components
- Don’t need to water in
- Contains 4% chelated iron
- Lower NPK ratio
- Eco-friendly option
- Reduces the need to water
- Not strong enough for heavy-duty applications
9. BioAdvanced Weed & Feed – Best For Getting Rid of Weeds
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This weed killer and best lawn fertilizer from BioAdvanced will help you tackle two problems at one time by getting rid of the weeds in your lawn and promoting healthy grass growth. It’s a granular-style fertilizer that will get rid of a host of broadleaf weeds like clover, dandelion, and chickweed, and it can also help you get rid of grassy weeds like crabgrass. It comes with a 22-0-4 ratio, and this allows it to feed your lawn with a host of different nutrients to encourage rapid and lush growth. You’ll get a 25% slow-release nitrogen content in the formula.
You can easily apply this lawn fertilizer in each season without negatively impacting the lawn, even in the fall months. You want to apply it when you seed the weeds actively growing to get rid of them so they don’t compete with your grass. Weeds will start to die in a few hours of application, and they’ll be completely gone in 14 to 28 days. It comes in a 24-pound bag that can cover up to 10,000-square feet. So, this makes it an affordable option if you’re on a budget.
- Starts killing weeds instantly
- Covers up to 10,000 square feet
- 22-0-4 ratio
- Kills weeds and nourishes the lawn
- Slow-release nitrogen
- Can apply it in any season
- Easy to apply
- Challenging to spread
10. Maximum Green & Growth Fertilizer – Best For
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The final lawn fertilizer on the list is the Maximum Green Growth Fertilizer. It’s a granular fertilizer that will integrate professional-level technology right into your lawn to give the lawn up to three treatments in a single application. It’ll feed your lawn, kill any straw weeds, and stop crabgrass from forming. You’ll get an 18-pound bag that can easily cover up to 15,000 square feet per application. It also features one of the highest slow-release nitrogen content on the current market that will feed your lawn for three months after you apply it.
The result of using this lawn fertilizer is that it’ll give you healthy, thick growth with a very green grass. The slow-release formula also means that more nutrients get into the lawn instead of washing away with water. It has a 24-0-6 ratio to it, and it has no phosphate. It’s excellent if you live near a body of water that fertilizer can contaminate. You should apply it in early spring to stunt weed growth, and you should apply it when the lawn is wet for the best results. Also, mow the lawn three days after you apply it.
- Three treatments in one application
- No phosphate
- Works well if you live by water
- 15,000-square feet of coverage
- Slow-release nitrogen
- Feeds the lawn for three months
- Smaller granules
- Have to apply it to a wet lawn
Best Lawn Fertilizers – Buyer’s Lawn Care Guide
Fertilizer is a quick way to give your lawn a much-needed boost to help you have gorgeous grass all year round. However, there are several buying considerations you have to keep in mind when you start shopping for the best lawn fertilizers. Along with our reviews that allow you to compare products, this short buyer’s guide will highlight all of the important aspects you need to consider.
Carefully choosing lawn fertilizers will ensure that your grass has all of the nutrients it needs to put down strong roots and turn a lush green color.
Choose a Type
One of the first things you’ll notice when you start looking at the best lawn fertilizers is that it comes in two main types. There is a granular type and a liquid type. They both have good and not-so-good points associated with them. Picking one helps you knock out undesirable fertilizers right away.
- Granular – Granular fertilizer comes in water-soluble or quick-release formats. Quick-release granular fertilizer will last three or four weeks before you need to reapply it. Water-soluble granular fertilizer will last up to three months. Granular fertilizer goes on your lawn with a spreader, and it’s an easy way to ensure you get even coverage each time you apply it.
- Liquid – If you’re after a very fast-acting fertilizer, liquid is the way to go. They’re convenient, and you usually buy them in a concentrate form. You hook the concentrate up to a hose sprayer and cover your yard. The plants can absorb liquid fertilizer through the roots and leaves, and this means you can see results quicker. However, you have to reapply it every two or three weeks.
Organic or Synthetic
Depending on your preferences, the best lawn fertilizers can be either synthetic or organic. Synthetic is more powerful because it can contain stronger ingredients, but organic is usually considered to be much safer.
Organic fertilizer can go on your lawn, in your flower beds, and on your garden. It’s safe to use directly around your pets and family, and they can usually go on the yard as soon as you apply it. Since they have all-natural ingredients, it can take organic fertilizers longer to start working than synthetic ones. However, they have great long-term effects because they’re eco-friendly. They usually require fewer applications as well. This type of fertilizer is usually less expensive, and it’s more forgiving if you put too much on your lawn.
Synthetic fertilizer is very fast-acting, and it works well if you have a short amount of time to green up your lawn. If you’re on a budget, there are very cheap options available. If you want a stronger formula, this is usually the best lawn fertilizer type to choose. It can kill insects and weeds while improving your yard’s health. They have chemicals, and they contain an exact formula with the nutrients your lawn needs to grow and thrive. However, these chemicals can be harmful if they get around your pets and kids. So, you have to use them carefully.
Things like the weather, type of soil, and the time of year will dictate what is the best lawn fertilizer for your needs. It changes as the year goes on, and you want to stay on top of it to give your grass all of the nutrients it needs.
It’s a good idea to pay close attention to the nutrient content of your fertilizer. These are the numbers on the bag commonly referred to as the NPK ratio. The NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They’ll be listed as ##-#-#. So, if a fertilizer has 10-05-5, you know the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the formula. Pay close attention to this number because it gives you a good indication on which nutrient levels will green up your lawn.
The best lawn fertilizers have an application process you have to follow to get the best results. If you choose organic fertilizers, they’re more forgiving and will still give you good results if you apply too much. Synthetic fertilizers have specific application requirements that can result in burning your grass if you’re not careful. One way to apply the fertilizer is to use a spreader and walk over your yard. You’ll have to water it in after you apply it. The second application process is using a liquid fertilizer with your hose and spray it over your yard. Some fertilizers tell you to avoid walking on it for a few hours after you apply it, and others allow you to walk on it right away.
There are northern and southern grasses. A lot of the best lawn fertilizers are too strong for southern grasses. Should you apply this fertilizer to your southern grass, it can burn or kill it. If the fertilizer you choose has a specific grass it works for, it’ll say right on the bag. If you’re not sure, try to get an all-purpose fertilizer. You can also look for an organic fertilizer over a synthetic one.
There are dozens of types of grasses, shrubs, and trees that won’t work well with all types of fertilizer. Northern grasses are generally more hardy than Southern grasses, and the fertilizer can create burned patches if you choose the wrong one.
Alternatives to Traditional Fertilizers
If you’re still not sure what you want with the best lawn fertilizer, you can try a few alternatives. These are natural things you can pick up at your local garden store. However, they’re relatively slow-acting. Slow release fertilizer avoids burning your roots. Additionally, you won’t see any huge changes straight away. You can try:
- Bone Meal – Bone meal is a byproduct of the meat packing industry. It has phosphorus and calcium in the formula, and this can give your lawn a boost.
- Blood Meal – Blood meal is another leftover from the meat packing industry. To get it, blood meal goes through a drying and steaming process, and it has high phosphorus levels.
- Peat Moss – Peat moss is something you commonly mix into the soil when you plant trees or shrubs because it lightens up heavy clay-like soils and aerates it If you have sandy soil, peat moss adds weight to prevent it from leaching nutrients out.
- Fish Emulsion – Fish emulsion is what’s left over from the fish processing industry. It’s organic, nontoxic, and very mild. If you have sensitive plants that will burn with traditional fertilizer, this is a great option.
- Composted Manure – You can toss composted manure into your compost pile to give it a boost, and it works to condition the soil.
- Compost – If you need to improve your soil, compost is a great all-around fertilizer option. It contains everything from plant remains to waste like egg shells or leftover food.
Compost and organic fertilizers are slow release options, but they’re a good option if you’re not sure which fertilizer you need. Avoid the weed and feed options.
Whichever fertilizer is the best lawn fertilizer for your needs, it’s important that you take your time and compare lawn care products. This will ensure that you get the best product for your needs. Pay close attention to the type of grass the fertilizer works with because some aren’t suitable for southern grasses. Take your time, make your pick, and enjoy green grass all season long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.