Understanding The A To Z Of Lawn Fertilizers

Understanding The A To Z Of Lawn Fertilizers

A lot of times people work extremely hard on their lawns in an attempt to make it as beautiful as they can but to no avail.

They try different tips and techniques that they hear on the internet or through word of mouth, but all they face in the end is the bitter disappointment. So the question arises, what does a lawn need to thrive?

What Does A Lawn Need To Thrive?

Well, the answer is quite simple. There are three essential things that everyone should do to make sure that their lawn is beautiful.

Watering The Lawn

Now even though everyone is well aware of watering the garden on a regular basis and we are pretty sure that they do water it regularly. There are a few details and extra steps that they miss out on when watering their lawn. Adding these details to your repertoire will make sure that you become an expert in watering your garden.

Watering the lawn.

For staying lush and green, most lawns need about 1.5 inches of water on a weekly basis. This water could either come from irrigation or rainfall. However, there are numerous factors that you should consider to find out the right amount of water that your lawn needs. Some of these factors are the type of soil, climate, type of grass, and the intensity of sunlight.

The list is endless. A lot of places in the world have water restrictions and consider watering the lawn to be a waste of water. Following are some tips that can help you water your garden to perfection.

In-Ground Sprinkler

In-ground sprinklers are an efficient solution to keep watering your lawn on a constant basis, without ever having the trouble of checking up on your lawn time after time

Hose-End Sprinkler

If you have a yard of medium or small size, the hose end sprinkler can prove to be the perfect choice for your lawn watering needs. Not only does this sprinkler help in conserving water, but it also makes sure that the grass isn't watered too frequently which could be a bad thing.

The hose end sprinkler waters the lawn in a rectangular pattern, so you have to adjust it in a way where the sprinkler supplies water to every part of your garden.

Looking For Your Lawns Soil Type

Finding out the exact soil type your lawn uses could make a world of difference to your lawn. The reason why finding out soil type could be so helpful is because every soil has a different rate of absorption of water. Once you know how much water your grass would need, you will be able to water your lawn efficiently.

These were some of the most efficient ways of watering your lawn. There are many more methods, but these were the ones that we thought were the best among all of them.


Understanding the importance of the sun can help you in making your lawn greener. There are bare and thin areas of your lawn that do not receive the proper amount of sunlight. Providing that light through some source is extremely important as you would not get the lawn to be even if sufficient sunlight does not fall on the grass equally.

Long grass in the sunshine.

There are, however, some grasses that have a higher ability to tolerate shade than the other greens. However, you should not entirely rely on your grass's ability to tolerate lesser sunlight.

Some questions arise when you have shady spots in your lawn that block the much-needed sunlight that your grass needs. Answers to the most common questions related to sunlight are as follows.

Will My Grass Be Able To Grow Appropriately Under The Shade?

The amount of sunlight that most lawn grasses need is about four to seven hours. A three to the four-hour quota of lovely sunshine would be enough for some shade tolerant grasses.

A good thing about shade-tolerant grasses is that they would not require direct sunlight to complete their quota, even interrupted and filtered sunlight can ensure the growth of fuel tolerant grass.

Which Grass Type Can Grow Better In The Shade?

The type of grass that shows the most shade tolerance is tall fescues, rye, and beauty.

A maximum of four hours is enough to fuel the growth of these grass types.  It would be a good option for everyone to buy greens that are shade tolerant because even if you have a lawn that does not have any hindrances to sunlight, you never know when the clouds might come and block the light for an extended period.

Would My Grass Receive More Light If I Started Pruning My Trees?

Yes, pruning trees could do the trick for you, but it would be advisable that you leave the pruning to the professionals.

Pruning a tree.

It is vital to understand that not everyone knows the proper methods and techniques that go into trimming down a tree. However, you'd see a significant change as soon as you've cut the trees down as not only would your grass receive more light, but your trees will get healthier as well.

Do The Shady Parts Of My Lawn Require More Water Than The Others?

You do not need to overwater your lawn if a big building is blocking the sunlight to your garden. The soil of your yard would not be able to absorb the water that you are providing it because of the marginal sunlight.

Nutrient-Rich Soil

If you're looking for your garden and plants to grow healthy with more vitality, the first thing you should consider is how nutrient-rich your soil is. Soil plays a crucial role in determining the overall growth and longevity of your lawn's grass. There are different qualities and types of soils available. It is entirely up to you to choose which kind would suit your lawn best.

The better the land, the more nutrition it receives. Not only will the ideal soil improve the quality of your garden, but you will also have to spend very little time maintaining it as well. A method that has been gaining popularity is the top dressing method. Top dressing ensures that the quality, overall health, and texture of your soil improve over time.

What Is The Best Time To Top Dress?

The ideal time to top dress your soil would be early in the spring. Top dressing your ground in the spring would allow it to grow better after you have mowed it three to four times. You could either do the dressing in one go or do it in different stages over time.

Even though there is a little bit of physical labor that you would have to perform in top dressing, the process is relatively simple.

  • 1
    The first thing you have to do is remove all of the soil plugs from the lawn’s ground and leave out some areas for water, air and the top dressing mixture that you will apply later on
  • 2
    The second step is the preparation of the top dressing mixture. You will need peat, loam and sharp sand as its primary ingredients. If you do not have enough time to make your mix, then you could always purchase it from the market.
  • 3
    Start applying the top dressing in the third step. Use a flat object to spread the soil equally. Cover the low spots and the holes that you had left previously (mentioned in the first point)
  • 4
    The top dressing procedure is technically complete by now, but it is always a good idea to water the soil so that it adjusts correctly in a couple of days.

Understanding Soil Nutrition And Fertilizer Labels

Plants need nutrients to grow, and soil is the source that provides the plants their necessary nutrition. The primary nutrients that plants require are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three nutrients band together and form the trio called NPK.

Fertilizer label.

There are some other nutrients that plants need as well like sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. Other than that there are some trace elements that plants require for example copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. All of these nutrients play a vital role in the development of a plant.

Here is a brief description of the significant nutritional elements that plants require.


One of the critical elements in the growth of the plant is nitrogen.  Plant proteins, chlorophyll and cells contain nitrogen. The nitrogen present in the soil derives from the nitrogen in the atmosphere.

There are plants like legumes that derive the nitrogen from the roots, and if they don't, then there are some fertilizer factories that make urea, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium nitrate produced from nitrogen present in the air.

Nitrogen converts into mineral when you apply nitrogen to the soil. Soils with a significantly high organic matter like chocolate soil have a more elevated nitrogen level in comparison to the podzolic soil.

Soil acidifies whenever there is a substantial rainfall, and the nitrate present in it leaches out because of it.  It is why you should only apply only a little bit of nitrogen so that the plants absorb it completely.


Phosphorus is useful for transferring the energy from the sunlight and conveys it to plants. It helps in quick growth of the plant. Some soil types have a sufficient amount of phosphorus; this helps in sustaining the production and sustenance of the crops.

Superphosphate is the most common source of phosphorus present in the North Coast in Australia. You can easily find phosphorus in manures. Animals that eat grace are an excellent source of phosphorus-rich manure.


Potassium is an excellent source of making your plant free of any disease while increasing your plant's strength. It even helps in moving and forming sugars, starches, and oils that are present in plants. Fruit quality rises significantly due to the presence of potassium.

The soil present in the North Coast does not contain a sufficient amount of potassium. Potassium removal is evident in soils used in horticultural crops and intensive grazing. Potash sulfate and potash are familiar sources of potassium.

What Makes Lawn Fertilizer Different From Flower Or Garden Fertilizer?

The soil is abundantly present everywhere where the grass is present. Be it lawns or be it gardens; Fertilizers come in handy when the earth is not receiving the right quantity of nutrition. Fertilizer labels help in indicating the purpose of specific mixtures creation.

Garden fertilizer.

A few examples of these labels are general purpose fertilizers, vegetable fertilizers, and lawn fertilizers among many others. The purpose and intents of garden fertilizers and lawn fertilizers are entirely different.

Following are the main differences between lawn fertilizers and garden fertilizers.

Time Of Application

October is the best time for fertilizing your lawn in comparison to the gardens, where the best time for fertilizing is the spring season. You might harm the grass in your yard if you try to feed it in spring. Shallow roots will begin to form, and as a result, the grass that will grow will not be able to resist drought.

Method Of Application

The standard form of applying garden fertilizer to the soil is granular. In the granular shape, people use the fertilizer directly to the land. People scrape a couple of inches from the top of the ground; so, the granular fertilizer reaches the roots quickly.

Lawn fertilizers are mostly available in the form of a liquid, which you can achieve by diluting it with water. People spray these fertilizers on the soil and grass.

Growth Of Leaves

Nitrogen is essential to ensure that your leaves get optimum nutrition and grow to their fullest. If you want to ensure that your lawn is full of lush green leaves and grass, apply fertilizers which are nitrogen dense. Even though nitrogen is good for leaves and grass but too much of it can slow down their growth.

Healthy Plants

Lawn and garden fertilizers contain potassium in abundance. Potassium is helpful for the absorption of nitrogen in the grass. Garden plants gain an added boost from potassium increasing resistance to diseases and hardiness as well.

Growth Of Roots

Fertilizers contain phosphorus which is helpful in stimulating the growth of roots in gardens and lawns. For a garden to stay healthy, active root growth is essential especially during the summer season.

Growth Of Roots.

Roots extract moisture and nutrients from the soil. Garden crops also benefit from phosphorus. Vegetables like carrots, turnips, beets, and potatoes are examples of some of the garden crops that require phosphorus to stay healthy.

Types Of Lawn Fertilizers

You can categorize fertilizers in numerous ways. The most logical way to classify them is by separating them into two different categories, liquid fertilizers, and granular fertilizers.

Liquid Lawn Fertilizers Vs. Granular Lawn Fertilizers

People usually incorporate dry fertilizers into granules. People can use different pellets to blend with their fertilizers.

Granular fertilizers significantly increase the quality of crop production, which is why farmers prefer them over liquid fertilizers. It does not mean that liquid fertilizers do not have any use. In fact, liquid fertilizers have been gaining popularity for a few years because of their foliar and ground applications.

However, the foliar nutrients do not live as long and do not provide continuous nutrition for the growing season’s remainder.

Following are some of the advantages of liquid lawn fertilizers and granular lawn fertilizers.


  • Easy and uniform application
  • Easily blends with products for crop protection
  • Handling and applying it is as easy as 1, 2, and, 3
  • Apply it at the start of the season or during it


  • Extremely cheap if bought in bulk
  • Higher efficiency in pre-plant application
  • Storing is pretty easy
  • Releases nutrients slowly

Slow Vs. Quick Release Fertilizers

The nitrogen present in slow-release fertilizers has numerous benefits. Grass growth in your lawn is pretty equal, and the uniformity is admirable. The chances of your lawn's plants and grass burning decrease monumentally.

Application of slow-release fertilizers isn't as regular as they can last for more than six to eight weeks, which is why they are a little expensive when you compare it with the quick release fertilizers.

Using fertilizer for your plants.

Speaking of quick release fertilizers, if you are looking for nutrients to reach the soil as quickly as possible, then this fertilizer would be the best option for you. The nitrogen present in the plant is soluble in water and becomes available whenever there is rainfall or whenever people apply water to their lawns.

The disadvantage that quick release fertilizers have is that they do not last for an extended period (about two to three weeks). Another difficulty that quick release fertilizers have is that over applying it can cause the grass and plants of your lawn to burn.

Organic Vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

The makings of organic fertilizers involve the residue of plants and animals, whereas synthetic fertilizers are inorganic compounds and are artificial. Synthetic fertilizers add nothing more than nutrient to the plants.

For plants to survive a lot more than nutrients are necessary. Living organisms and organic matter are also essential requirements for plants to survive. Only organic fertilizers can fulfill these needs.

Even though synthetic fertilizers aren't as harmful as people make them out to be, organic fertilizers are the best choice if you want your plants to grow with good health and longevity.

Are Lawn Fertilizers Safe For Pets?

Lawn fertilizers, especially synthetic lawn fertilizers are proven to be dangerous for pets. A study was conducted to find out the dangers of lawn fertilizers on pets by collecting their urine samples.

When the samples came back after testing, traces of chemicals were evident in them proving that the fertilizers are indeed harmful to pets. Fertilizers containing insecticides are the most harmful as the primary purpose of pesticides is to kill off pests.

With harmful pest killing agents present in the poisons present in the fertilizers, they are bound to cause significant damage to pets as well. You should always make sure that you water your lawn as soon as you complete applying fertilizer to it, it will be safer for your pets.

However, keeping the concerns of people's pets in their minds, a variety of companies have come up with fertilizers that are pet-friendly. These pet-friendly fertilizers are common among pet enthusiasts and are gaining popularity with each passing day.

Over-Fertilization And The Problem Of Fertilizer Burning

There are multiple occasions where people over-fertilize their plants as a result of which plants sustain a significant amount of damage. Slow growth, dropping of leaves, roots getting brown or black is among the typical signs of over fertilization.

Over-Fertilization And The Problem Of Fertilizer Burning

Fertilizer burns occur when plant foliage begins to scorch or burn. Over-fertilizing is the main reason why plants start to burn. There are some salts present in fertilizers that extract the moisture from the plants leaving the plants completely dry.

It takes about a day or two for the burning symptoms to show up. Withering, yellowing and browning are among the typical symptoms of burning plants.


It is our comprehensive guide on lawn fertilizers discussing their nutrition, types and their labels. We have also considered which fertilizers are the best and safest. You can also find out how to make your homemade fertilizers with the help of this guide.

We have given you step by step information on lawn fertilizers and their different varieties. Down below we have given you a buying guide that will help you in choosing the lawn fertilizer that would best suit your needs.

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