Healthy, lush, green lawns don’t happen on their own. It’s the result of intentional lawn maintenance and properly balanced and timely nutrition.
Lawn fertilizers offer the essential nutrients to support green growth. It makes up for all the missing nutrients in your soil so your grass can flourish and withstand diseases, pets, and stress more effectively. But with so many options in the market, how do you find the best fertilizer for grass?
What are Fertilizers?
Fertilizers consist of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, collectively known as NPK—the macronutrients your grass needs to grow. However, lawn fertilizer products come in different NPK ratios, so selecting the right fertilizer isn’t as straightforward as grabbing the nearest water bottle from the grocery store.
For example, our slow-release fertilizer, NutriPod®, has a 17-1-10 NPK ratio. It has a relatively high nitrogen content, ideal for promoting leafy green growth and creating a greener lawn.
Understanding the NPK Ratio
Nitrogen: Promotes healthy leaf growth and keeps the lawn grass green. It also helps plants fight off damaging pests and diseases.
Phosphate: Nourishes the soil and promotes healthy root growth to help grass grow lush and thick. It prevents stunted growth as well.
Potassium: Helps grass maximize water and nutrient uptake. It also strengthens the plant so it can better tolerate environmental stresses such as drought, heat, cold, and disease.
A soil test will help you determine your lawn's specific nutrient needs. It will reveal valuable insights such as your soil's pH and nutrient content. Based on the results, you can choose a lawn fertilizer with the appropriate NPK ratio and make amendments to create optimal conditions for a healthy lawn.
Why Should You Fertilize Your Soil?
Because most soils don’t always have enough nutrients to sustain grass, and the nutrients it has will eventually be absorbed by grass, regular fertilizing will help maintain a balance of nutrients that will feed the grass the essential nutrients to grow. A well-fertilized lawn also promotes better soil health and improves resistance to pests and diseases.
Types of Lawn Fertilizers
Now that you understand the fundamentals of fertilizers, your decision for a lawn fertilizer product boils down to a few key considerations: organic or synthetic fertilizers, liquid or granular fertilizers, and quick-release or slow-release fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources like animal waste, compost, or grass clippings, making them an eco-friendly option free from harmful chemicals. They gradually release nutrients as they break down in the soil, ensuring a consistent and steady supply of nutrition for your grass. It promotes better soil structure by improving soil health and increasing microbial activity to enhance nutrient availability.
In contrast, synthetic fertilizers are chemically processed nutrients that deliver an immediate boost to plants, resulting in a rapid green-up for lackluster lawns. They are generally more affordable than organic alternatives and offer precise nutrient ratios tailored to your lawn's specific needs.
Liquid fertilizers are available in two forms: ready-to-use or concentrated, which you dilute with water before application. You can directly spray or water them onto the plants, providing instant nutrients. But, their fast-acting nature may necessitate frequent applications throughout the growing season.
Granular fertilizers also come in two types: water-soluble and slow-release. Water-soluble granules deliver immediate nutrition to plants as they dissolve quickly upon contact with water. This fast-acting nature makes them ideal for giving plants a quick boost of nutrients. Instead of dissolving rapidly, slow-release granular fertilizers, on the other hand, gradually break down in the soil, releasing nutrients over an extended period.
Quick-release fertilizers encompass various forms, including liquids and water-soluble granules. They deliver an immediate boost of nutrients to plants, which are particularly beneficial when seeking accelerated growth, especially during the growing season. By supporting rapid and vigorous plant development, it can also help outpace undesirable weed growth in new lawns.
However, the exact quick-acting nature of this type of fertilizer is why it needs frequent reapplication. Its short-lasting effects make it more prone to nutrient leaching, where the nutrients run off the soil. When applied incorrectly or excessively, it can damage your lawn and the surrounding ecosystem. Read more about what happens when you use too much fertilizer for grass.
Meanwhile, slow-release fertilizers provide a slow and steady supply of essential elements, promoting consistent and balanced plant growth. By spreading the granular fertilizers directly into the soil, you establish a reliable source of nutrients that supports the plants over the long term, reducing the need for frequent applications and ensuring a more stable and sustained nourishment for optimal plant development.
Because slow-release fertilizer can last from 6-8 weeks, it can extend the duration between applications. It can also reduce the risk of nutrient runoff, maximizing nutrient absorption while also minimizing environmental impact.
Furthermore, with steady growth, you can avoid excessive leaf development, which is a common issue with quick-release fertilizers. It results in fewer maintenance requirements, such as reduced mowing and decreased risk of thatching.
Why Choose Slow-Release Fertilizers
The best fertilizer for grass depends on various factors, including your lawn's specific requirements, cost considerations, and budget constraints.
Quick-release fertilizers like liquid or water-soluble fertilizers may be attractive due to their lower cost and immediate nutrient boost. However, it's essential to weigh the downsides, such as the risks of nutrient leaching and the need for more frequent, potentially uneven applications.
For these reasons, slow-release fertilizers, like our NutriPod® grass plug nutrition, emerge as a superior and more sustainable option. These formulations offer an extended and balanced release of nutrients over time, contributing to your lawn's health and longevity. They reduce the frequency of applications and lower the risk of nutrient leaching. Ultimately, their long-lasting benefits make them a more cost-effective option in the long run.Which do you think is the best grass fertilizer? Let us know by leaving a comment.