Do you remember the first time you ever tried shopping for fertilizer? I most certainly do. I went straight to the store and picked out the biggest bag I could carry and raced home with it feeling as excited as could be. All without having any idea what soil type our garden had or the right NPK ratio required. In my defense I was just in my third year of middle school and there was certainly no ‘Surf’n’Buy’ to look to for guidance. Luckily, my uncle stepped in and saved the day, before I could start spraying pellets indiscriminately all over the lawn – and porch too.
Needless to say, it was a while before anyone could trust me with anything garden or lawn-related. Thankfully, that’s one experience you can avoid having. Because here at Surf’n’Buy we specialize in providing you with all the practical, helpful information you need to get things right the first time. That way, you can be certain your only memories of those first forays into new territory will be amazing ones.
And in this guide, I shall be taking a look at five of the best fertilizers which will nourish your lawn and keep it delightfully verdant and healthy so that it can add to the beauty of your home. I shall also provide key tips and pointers for using fertilizers. And once you get to the end of this article, you might even feel like a connoisseur of all things fertilizer-related.
Now let’s go through the top five lawn fertilizers in 2020.
Top 5 Lawn Fertilizers
1. Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement
- Feeds for deep greening in just 3 days for greener grass
- Dual-action, 2-in-1 formula feeds and supplements with iron
- Fertilizer not to stain when used as directed
- Apply to any grass type in the spring, summer and fall months
- Recommended for many lawns as part of the Scotts Lawn Care Plan
Products which do all they’re meant to and even exceed your expectations are few and far between. And that’s what struck me the most about Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement. I mean, how often do you come across a fertilizer which will not just make your grass grow but also provide a few other delightful surprises along the way? That’s right, not too often.
But what is it about this product which sets it apart from the rest? For starters, there’s its dual-action formula which is capable of giving those delicate blades of grass a makeover when they need it the most. The fact it comes with supplements also shows the willingness of its manufacturer to go the extra mile to provide great results. Especially since they happen to include iron which is just what your grass needs to appear fresh, green and filled with the memories of spring. And if you’ve had a few mishaps with fertilizer which stained everything it came in contact with or took ages to nourish your grass, you needn’t worry about that with this product.
Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement is not only non-staining (as long as it’s kept dry), but also fast acting. And because you can apply it from spring to fall, you will be able to nourish your grass during the greater part of the year. It’s also ideal for all types of grass, making it a superb choice for fuss-free lawn care. It also comes in large quantities (it’s suitable for 10 000 square feet) meaning you’ll be able to provide your lawn with the nourishment it deserves. All these marvelous qualities mean that this fertilizer is the perfect remedy for getting rid of any wilted spots and ensuring you have a thick, even carpet of emerald green grass all year round.
- A unique, nutrient rich formula: Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement is made of a supplement-containing formula enriched with iron for brighter, greener grass.
- Perfect grass from spring to fall: Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement can be used almost all year round.
- Impressive results in record time: The fertilizer is capable of transforming your lawn into a green spread in just 3 days.
- Suitable for any kind of grass: Whether you use warm or cool season grass, this product will ensure it flourishes marvelously.
- May stain when wet: If wet, Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement may stain patios or other surfaces.
- May take longer to act: In spite of being fast acting, Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement may take longer than 3 days to change certain grass types.
Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement is an ideal choice of fertilizer which will enable you to care for your lawn with a minimum of fuss. It’s not only rich in nutrients and free from any filler, but also contains iron which means it will provide your grass with a richer hue. What’s more, its 10 000 square feet capacity means it’s ideal for large lawns. And best of all, it will work perfectly no matter what variety of grass you’ve planted or season of the year it is, with winter being the only exception.
2. GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer
- Repairs summer damage while encouraging root growth for winter hardiness and quick spring green-up
- Time-released nitrogen for extended feedings
- Provides both immediate release and time-released nitrogen to provide continuous feeding for up to 12 weeks
- Restores nutrients to the soil; speeds root growth to improve nutrient absorption
- Promotes deeper green turf, faster green-up, brilliant color response and fewer clippings
Fall can be one of the most challenging times to care for your lawn. There’s that signature chill which seems to turn all it touches, gold, russet and red. And there are no longer those spring and summer rains you can rely on. However having the right fertilizer can make all the difference between a wilted lawn and one which has been fully prepared to withstand the chill of winter too. Just like GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer. Consisting of a formula specially meant for autumn, it will speed up root growth, so your grass is in the best position to absorb as much nourishment as possible.
And thanks to that extra boost, your lawn will be capable of withstanding the intense chill of the winter months. Especially since GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer is capable of keeping it well supplied with nutrients for 12 weeks. That’s not all there is to this autumn fertilizer either. In addition to its highly nutritious formula, it will also keep your lawn well hydrated by enabling it to retain more water for longer.
What’s more, it’s also phosphate-free making it safe for the environment. In addition, it comes in 25 lbs bags and is ideal for covering 5 000 square feet, making it a convenient choice for small and medium-sized lawns alike. With all these features and much more, it’s hardly any surprise that this is one product which has earned rave reviews. And you too will be able to join several delighted customers who experience lush, green lawns all winter long.
- A nutritious, phosphate-free formula: GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer’s formula is not only nutritious and phosphate-free, but is also environmentally friendly and safe for use close to ponds and lakes.
- The ideal fertilizer for use all year round: GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer is perfect for use all year round – even though its manufacturer recommends applying it during the fall. As a result, you’ll be able to look forward to an elegant green spread throughout the year.
- A particularly suitable choice for winter: This fertilizer will develop the roots of your lawn grass and provide nutrients for 8 weeks. And that means your grass will be in the perfect condition to withstand the winter chill while remaining in excellent condition.
- May be unsuitable for certain varieties of grass: Certain customers observed that GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer was unsuitable for their lawns.
- May be unsuitable for certain soil or climatic conditions: A number of customers who purchased this lawn fertilizer noted that their lawns did not improve.
Thanks to its ability to enhance root development and provide nutrients over twelve weeks, GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Lawn Fertilizer is an excellent choice for keeping your lawn grass fresh and lush throughout winter. And it can also be used at other times of the year too. It’s also ideal for medium-sized lawns of about 5 000 square feet in size and is safe for use near ponds since it’s phosphate-free.
3. Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer
- 2-in-1 formula feeds new grass and prevents weeds for up to 6 weeks
- Prevents crabgrass, dandelions, and other weeds from invading your new grass
- Improves seeding results--also great for sod and grass plugs
- Use on any grass type, whether you're planting new grass, starting a new lawn, or reseeding an existing one
- Covers 5,000 sq. ft.; Not sold in FL
Few things are as exasperating as those weeds which have a habit of shooting up on your perfectly maintained lawn when you least expect them to. Especially since they’ll not only compete with your grass for essential nutrients, but will also make your lawn appear uneven. And quite often, that means you’re faced with the challenge of nourishing your grass and getting rid of those unwelcome visitors at the same time.
And thanks to Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer, that’s one challenge you’ll be able to handle effectively. The fertilizer which consists of a 2-in-1 formula will provide your lawn grass with nutrients for a period of 6 weeks. It will also eliminate weeds (including dandelion and crabgrass) over the same period too.
As a result, you will be able to look forward to a thick carpet of healthy grass. You will also be able to enjoy that special convenience which comes with using a fertilizer which is suitable for all grass types as well as sod and grass plugs. Especially since it will release its nutrients for over a month while also keeping weeds at bay for the same period of time. Such impressive versatility means that Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer is the ideal choice for keeping your lawn weed-free and in perfect condition.
- Special 2-in-1 dual acting formula: Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer will not only nourish your lawn, but will also eliminate weeds such as crabgrass and dandelion during 6 weeks.
- Impressive versatility and convenience: Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer is not only suitable for all kinds of grass but is also perfect for sod and grass plugs.
- An ideal choice for medium-sized lawns: With a coverage area of 5 000 square feet, this fertilizer is ideal for medium or smaller sized lawns.
- May encourage certain weeds rather than eliminate them: Certain customers noted that Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer encouraged the growth of certain weed types in addition to their lawn grass.
- May be unsuitable for certain weed varieties: Certain customers noted that Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer did not completely eliminate the chickweed on their lawns.
With its special 2-in-1 formula, Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer is an ideal choice for caring for your lawn while keeping it free of weeds for up to 6 weeks. It’s also versatile and can be used with any lawn grass variety as well as sod and grass plugs. And because the fertilizer is available in 17.1 lbs sized bags which are capable of covering up to 5 000 square feet, it’s also suitable for medium-sized or even smaller lawns.
4. Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore
- Plant-based nutrients - no poultry litter or bio-solids
- No Manures/No Odor
- Covers up to 5,000 sq.ft.
- Rapid greening and plant response
It takes a healthy ecosystem to get a healthy lawn. That’s what the manufacturer of our next item believes. And their fertilizer, Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore is the result of 25 years of research to provide a product capable of achieving that aim. Completely organic and phosphate-free (its N-P-K ratio is 10-0-6), this new improved formula will encourage the bacteria and fungi in your lawn’s soil to provide those essential nutrients which your grass needs. What’s more, it will also enable your lawn grass to develop strong, healthy roots which reach deep within the soil.
And that means you will be able to look forward to grass which is thicker and greener. A well-developed root system will also result in lawn grass which is capable of absorbing necessary nutrients which will make it more robust and especially drought resistant. It also means grass which is capable of withstanding winter’s chill. And there’s more to this fertilizer which has been made from organic plant material and is capable of transforming your lawn within 3 to 5 days.
Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore is also free of salt containing chemicals unlike several synthetic alternatives. As a result, you won’t have to worry about any burns on your grass. It’s also amazingly versatile and is ideal for both cold and warm season grass. With a coverage of 5 000 square feet, it’s suitable for medium or smaller sized lawns. And spreading it is pretty easy too – all you have to use is a spreader, pushcart or your hands. All these impressive features make this fertilizer an excellent choice if you happen to be in search of a product which is not only environmentally friendly and safe to use, but is also efficient and versatile.
- An organic, plant-based fertilizer: Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore is manufactured using organic plant material which means you’ll be able to feed your lawn grass without any risks of burns and uneven brown patches occurring.
- An environmentally friendly option: In addition to being manufactured from organic plant material, this fertilizer is also phosphate free. As a result, it can be used near waterways, lakes and ponds since it will not contribute to the excessive growth of algae.
- A fast acting, versatile product: Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore is capable of transforming your lawn in just 3 to 5 days. It’s also suitable for both warm and cool season grass making it a highly convenient choice for caring for your lawn all year round.
- Odor-free: Thanks to being completely organic and plant-based, this fertilizer is also free of the unpleasant odors which other alternatives may come with.
- May encourage weeds: Certain customers who purchased Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore observed an increase in weeds on their lawn.
- May be unsuitable for certain kinds of grass: Complaints about Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore failing to work effectively were also noted.
It’s organic, plant-based and phosphate-free (its N-P-K ratio is 10-0-6). As a result, you will be able to look forward to feeding your lawn grass without worrying about any burns occurring or excessive algae growth in any nearby lakes or ponds. You’ll also be able to look forward to grass which is especially robust and resistant to drought and disease. And Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Restore is perfectly suitable for cold or warm season grass too. Best of all, it’s also fast acting meaning you’ll be able to look forward to thicker, greener grass in just 3 to 5 days.
5. Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer
- Builds a thick green lawn
- Safe for humans, domestic animals and all wildlife
- Simply apply, water and play!
Would you love to keep your lawn in excellent condition but worry about the safety of your kids and pets? If so, the Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer might just be the product you need. This offering which has been manufactured using special technology is not just safe for children and pets but is also harmless to wildlife too. And in addition to being non-toxic, it also comes packed with the nutrients required to ensure healthy, thick grass, with a vibrant green. As a result, you’ll also be able to look forward to a lawn which has as few weeds as possible since thick grass tends to discourage their presence.
The Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer is also dust-free eliminating any risks of the product blowing onto your skin, into your home or nearby ponds, lakes or streams. There’s no need to worry about any long term, lingering smells once you’ve applied it either, since any resulting odors tend to fade away within just a few hours. And it’s pretty easy to apply. All you have to do is spread it and water your lawn and then watch as your lawn grass grows thicker and healthier. All these benefits make this fertilizer a superb option for caring for your lawn while keeping your children, pets and wildlife safe.
- A fertilizer which is safe for your home and the environment: Due to being non-toxic, the Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer is not only safe to use around children and pets, but is also harmless to wildlife.
- No long term odors: Once the Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer has been applied, its odor will dissipate within just a few hours.
- A dust free alternative: Unlike other products which may release dust which may blow all over your garden, patio and even come in contact with your skin, this fertilizer comes in pellet form. And that means it will go where it’s meant to: right onto your lawn to feed your grass.
- A slight odor: The Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer does have a slight odor although it dissipates within the space of a few hours.
- May be unsuitable for certain kinds of grass: A number of customers who purchased the Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer noted that there was no improvement in their lawns.
The Pet and Kid Safe Lawn Fertilizer is an ideal choice if you’ve been searching for a product which will keep your lawn grass in excellent condition and is also harmless to your children and pets. In addition to being easy to apply, its odor also vanishes within a few hours, leaving your lawn grass with all the nutrients it needs to flourish.
Why is Fertilizing Your Lawn Important?
Fertilizing your lawn provides the following benefits:
- Healthier, resilient grass: Fertilizing your lawn grass will not only improve its root system but will also enable it to become more resistant to disease, heat, cold and drought.
- Weed elimination: Fertilizers play an important role in keeping your lawn grass dense and healthy. This will discourage weeds from growing since it will be difficult for them to thrive on a healthy lawn.
- Protection from pests: Pests aren’t too fond of thick, lush grass. Hence, applying your fertilizer as required will encourage a dense carpet of grass which will keep them away, ensuring your lawn remains in excellent condition.
- Fresh, richly colored grass: Fertilizer contains nitrogen which also plays a role in the production of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for giving grass and other plants that signature green color. Hence, applying it in the required amounts will ensure your grass appears especially fresh and vibrant.
- Maintenance of soil quality: Fertilizer plays a key role in covering your lawn with lush healthy grass. This in turn protects the soil from erosion during periods of heavy rainfall ensuring its quality is maintained.
Types of Lawn Fertilizer
Fertilizers generally fall into the following categories:
- Liquid: Fertilizers in this category often require a bit of careful planning since applying them before a downpour may detract from their effectiveness. However, they are generally considered easy to apply.
- Pellets: Also referred to as granular fertilizers, they often require a spreader for distributing them around your lawn.
However, they may also be applied by hand if the manufacturer specifies it’s safe to do so, and if you have a small lawn. It’s also important to water the ground before or after they’ve been applied depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
What are the Different Types of Grass?
Lawn grass tends to be divided into two main categories which are for the most part, based on the best climate and weather for them. As a result, it’s always important to pay close attention to these factors when selecting grass seed for your lawn. Doing so will give your grass the best opportunity to thrive and grow into a delightful thick, verdant spread.
Warm Season Grass
Grass in this category thrives in hot climates. Their favorite period of the year generally runs from April to October but when winter comes they tend to become dormant.
Warm season grass often has the following characteristics:
- Resistance to drought and heat: These grasses tend to develop deep roots which enable them to handle loads of sunshine and even periods of low rainfall.
- Salt tolerance: Certain varieties are also tolerant to salt which makes them an excellent option if you happen to have pets since their urine often contains high quantities of salt and nitrogen.
- Resilience: In addition to an ability to handle unfavorable conditions, certain warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass are known to be especially resilient and capable of holding up remarkably well when exposed to foot traffic.
- Shade tolerance: The ability to withstand low levels of sunshine is not usually associated with warm season grasses. However, certain varieties such as Saint Augustine are capable of handling shade remarkably well.
- Ability to thrive in the transition zone: The transition zone happens to be the area where the climatic conditions suitable for cool season grass overlaps with those suitable for warm season grass.
- Bahia grass
- Bermuda grass
- Blue grama
- Buffalo grass
- Centipede grass
- Saint Augustine grass
- Zoysia grass
Cool Season Grass
Grass in this category tends to thrive in cool climates and cool weather. And they’re even capable of remaining in excellent condition all year round under particularly suitable conditions. Does their ability to handle cool weather make them snow proof? No. Snow will either kill them or make more resilient varieties become dormant.
Cool season grass often has the following characteristics:
- Low temperature tolerance: As noted above, cool season grass is capable of handling rather low temperatures which are unsuitable for other types of lawn grass. One especially resilient variety in this regard happens to be Fine fescue.
- Shade tolerance: Plants are generally fond of loads of sunlight. However, cool season grasses generally come with the ability to cope with limited amounts more effectively compared to their warm season counterparts. Common examples of cool grasses which are especially shade tolerant are Fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
- Resilience: Certain varieties of grass in this category are renowned for their ability to handle foot traffic. These include Kentucky bluegrass, Bent grass and Annual ryegrass.
- Drought tolerance: A number of cool grass varieties are capable of coping with dry conditions. Fine fescue and tall fescue particularly stand out in this regard.
- Transition zone suitability: As mentioned above, the transition zone happens to be the area where both warm and cool season zones overlap.
Cool season varieties which thrive in this area include Kentucky bluegrass, Tall fescue and Thermal blue. Examples of cool season grass include:
- Annual ryegrass
- Bent grass
- Fescue grass (chewings, creeping red, fine, sheep and tall)
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Orchard grass
- Reed canary grass
- Thermal Blue
When to Fertilize Your Grass?
It all depends on the variety of grass you happen to grow on your lawn. Cool season grass tends to do particularly well during spring, fall and winter. Hence the very best time for fertilizing such varieties happens to be fall. Warm season grass on the other hand tends to thrive when there’s loads of sunshine. And the best times for fertilizing lawn grass in this category, happens to be from spring to fall. How come fall is one of the best times for fertilizing both cold and warm season grass? Because both varieties tend to develop their root systems around that time of the year which makes it one of the best periods for nourishing them.
How to Fertilize Your Lawn?
Fertilizing your lawn involves the following steps:
- Selecting the right fertilizer for your lawn: The kind of fertilizer you choose will depend on the type of grass you grow as well as the nutritional requirements of your soil.
- Choosing the equipment you need: Next, depending on the size of your lawn, you may need to use a spreader too. Rotary spreaders are usually ideal for larger sized lawns while drop or hand held spreaders can be used for smaller lawns. It’s important to fill your equipment on a firm concrete surface since any fertilizer which spills out must be swept away immediately afterwards.
- Protecting your skin: Allowing fertilizer to come in contact with skin is never a great idea. Even if the manufacturer guarantees it’s pretty safe, adopting protective measures is always highly recommended. And that means wearing thick gloves, protective clothing and eye protection before applying it to your lawn.
- Applying the fertilizer: Experts recommend starting around the edges first before covering the lawn’s entire surface afterwards.
- Rinsing your grass and equipment thoroughly: Fertilizer may be corrosive, and as a result, you will need to hose your grass and rinse your equipment thoroughly once you’ve applied it.
Doing so will prevent burns on your lawn and remove any potentially damaging residue from your spreader.
How to Calculate the Amount of Fertilizer You Need?
In order to accurately work out the right amount of fertilizer you need for your lawn, you will need to pay close attention to key factors which include:
- Your lawn size: The first step you will need to take will be finding out the exact area of your lawn to determine just how big it is.
- Relevant fertilizer rates: Once you’ve determined your lawn’s exact size, you will need to find out the fertilizer rates required. These values depend on the type of grass you’ve planted or intend to plant. You will also need to divide the value you obtain by the number of times you intend to fertilize per year.
- Your soil: In order to analyze your soil, simply take 10 soil samples each 4 inches deep and mix it all up. Next, take a cup-sized sample and send it for testing at your nearest garden center. This step is important as it will enable you to determine your soil’s pH.
- N-P-K ratios: You will need to verify the N-P-K ratio on the bag of fertilizer you intend to purchase. The figures below the letters will indicate the percentage of each nutrient present. And to work out the exact amount of each nutrient all you have to do is multiply it by the weight of the product.
Once you’ve obtained all the information you need, you’ll be able to calculate just how much fertilizer is required using our example provided below:
Calculating How Much Fertilizer You Need
Let’s say you have Bermuda grass and it has a recommended amount of 3 lbs of nitrogen per year. If you intend to fertilize it thrice a year, you’ll need to apply 1 lb on each occasion. Dividing this amount – 1 lb – by the percentage of nitrogen in your fertilizer will provide you with the amount which must be applied for every 1 000 square feet.
For example, if the proportion of nitrogen happens to be 10 (i.e. 10% or 0.1): 1lbs ÷ 0.1 = 10 lbs per 1 000 square feet.
If the size of your lawn is 5 000 square feet: 10 lbs * (5 000/ 1 000) = 50 lbs of nitrogen for your lawn.
But how do you know how many bags of fertilizer to purchase? By dividing the amount of nitrogen needed for your lawn (50 lbs) by the weight of the bag used to calculate the amount of nitrogen.
For example if that bag of fertilizer weighed 25 lbs: 50/25 lbs = 2 bags of fertilizer.
Selecting the right fertilizer does require a bit of careful consideration. Especially since there’s so much to do in order to ensure your grass gets the nourishment it needs to remain in excellent condition all year round. The fact that there are so many products to choose from doesn’t make it any easier either. And that’s why we at Surf’n’Buy have gone through them all so you won’t have to and have provided tips and pointers to ensure caring for your lawn is as fuss-free as possible. But which of the fertilizers mentioned above is the best of them all?
Scotts Green Max Lawn Fertilizer Plus Iron Supplement is our top choice due to the fact that it’s not only rich in nutrients and is completely filler-free, but is also suitable for all kinds of grass and can be applied at any time of the year (except for winter). The fact that it’s also non-staining and comes with a coverage of 10 000 square feet are also additional bonuses.
GreenView Fall Lawn Food comes a close second with its ability to encourage root growth and provide nutrients over a period of 8 weeks. Especially since such impressive qualities mean it’s the ideal choice for keeping your lawn in perfect condition throughout winter. It’s also phosphate-free and won’t pose any risk of excessive algae growth to nearby pools, lakes or rivers, making it an excellent choice if you’re in search of an effective, environmentally friendly fertilizer.
Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass Plus Weed Preventer is also deserving of a special mention. And it’s all thanks to its 2-in-1 formula which will not only feed your grass but also eliminate weeds such as dandelion and crabgrass over a period of 6 weeks. And just like GreenView Fall Lawn Food above, it’s also phosphate-free.
As a result, you will be able to care for your lawn without having to worry about any phosphate runoff due to a thunderstorm which may provoke the excessive growth of algae in lakes, rivers or pools close by. That brings us to the end of this guide on the very best fertilizers of 2020. And now you’ve learned considerably more about selecting fertilizers, you will be able to look forward to keeping your lawn in superb condition with nothing but happy memories, and a lush green spread all year round.