The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Spring Fertilizer

Team McFly Sep 18, 2023
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driveway lawn
Table of Contents
  1. "Spring into Action: Choosing the Right Lawn Fertilizer"
    1. Quick Release fertilizers
    2. Slow release fertilizers
    3. Combination fertilizers
    4. Organic Fertilizers
    5. Synthetic fertilizers
    6. Test your soil
    7. Application

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

"Spring into Action: Choosing the Right Lawn Fertilizer"

Fertilizer is one of the most essential tools a lawn care specialist can use to achieve lush green grass. Selecting the appropriate fertilizer for your needs can make all the difference between an attractive lawn and one filled with patches of weeds.

The three major nutrients for grass are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen promotes top growth, phosphorus encourages root development, and potassium helps combat drought, disease, and nutrient deficiency.

man fertilizing

Quick Release fertilizers

When fertilizing your lawn, the type of fertilizer you select is crucial. Not only will this impact its appearance and health, but also whether or not it will withstand disease and pests.

Quick-release fertilizers dissolve rapidly in the soil and deliver a powerful burst of essential nutrients directly into your lawn's root system. These essential elements become instantly available for your grass to utilize, leading to lush green grass with vibrant growth.

Fast-release fertilizers are ideal for new lawns that need an energy boost to get going. They're also useful during hot summer when your turf requires additional TLC to stay healthy and prevent heat damage.

Slow-release fertilizers, which last around two weeks, gradually provide your lawn with essential nutrients instead of dousing it all at once. This allows maximum absorption without leaching into the soil or burning away at your grass.

milorganite fertilizer

Slow release fertilizers

Slow Release fertilizers slowly release small amounts of essential nutrients into the soil over weeks, months, and even years. They come in natural, organic, and synthetic forms.

Grass lawns, shrubs, trees, and other plants all require specific nutrients to reach their full potential. These needs vary based on temperature, water availability, and soil type.

Slow-release nitrogen fertilizer provides a steady supply of essential nutrients for your turf to flourish and look its best throughout the season. Nitrogen is one of the most essential plant nutrients, encouraging leaf growth and development.

Water is also essential for healthy roots, flowering, and fruiting. Granular lawn fertilizers like Lawnsmith's STARTER or Winter Green contain a portion of quick-release nitrogen to boost your grass.

Other nitrogen-based fertilizers are slow-release products containing water-soluble nitrate. These tend to be less expensive than liquid fertilizers and require fewer applications, plus they're less likely to burn your grass. They come in both soil-soluble and coated non-soluble granule forms.

fertilizing grass

Combination fertilizers

Selecting the Appropriate Lawn Fertilizer

A balanced fertilizer with high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels could be just what your lawn needs to thrive. Not only does it address nutrient deficiencies in soil, but it also helps plants resist disease, drought, and cold weather conditions.

Nitrogen encourages rapid growth and lush green color, while phosphorus fosters healthy root development. Potassium promotes plant health by aiding weed control and soil moisture retention.

These numbers, known as the N-P-K ratios, indicate the percentage of each nutrient in fertilizer. They typically appear in that order; occasionally, a fourth number may be added to indicate an important trace mineral.

To select the ideal fertilizer for your lawn, it is essential to understand its needs and conduct a soil test to identify any deficiencies. This step is essential in deciding what fertilizer works best in your yard.

Organic fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are carbon-based and designed to improve soil health over time, increase water retention, support biodiversity, and avoid toxic or synthetic ingredients. As such, they offer the ideal choice for home gardeners who wish to safeguard their soil and environment.

Organic fertilizers come in both liquid and granular forms. Which type is best for your lawn depends on the specific requirements of the plants in your garden.

Landscape perennials and trees typically need a low-volume application of organic fertilizers every month or two to stay healthy, while leafy greens require full-strength feedings at the right point in their development.

Slow-release fertilizers such as seabird guano are another option; these deliver consistent amounts of the essential nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to your plants. This allows your lawn to thrive even in less-than-ideal weather conditions, making it more resistant to pests and disease outbreaks.

Synthetic fertilizers

If you want to improve the health of your lawn, selecting the correct fertilizer is essential. Selecting an ineffective product can cause harm not only to your grass but also harm the environment.

Synthetic fertilizers are chemical combinations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). They come in water-soluble or granular form for easy application.

Synthetic fertilizers are typically designed to promote rapid lawn growth and often come at an affordable price point. Unfortunately, synthetic fertilizers may negatively impact soil health compared to their natural counterparts.

On the other hand, organic fertilizers are made up of living things or natural materials like mushroom manure, blood meal, bone meal, cottonseed meal, and kelp meal.

Planting herbs does not give plants an instantaneous boost but encourages soil life, improves texture, and contributes to long-term fertility. Furthermore, they help prevent the loss of essential nutrients from leaching into groundwater or other sources.


Test your soil

Soil testing is essential in helping you choose the appropriate lawn fertilizer for your soil. It will determine your soil's pH and level of essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium necessary for healthy plant growth.

Soil tests are essential to guarantee you're not overfertilizing your lawn and garden, which could promote unhealthy plant growth, soil erosion, and pollution of natural water sources. Tests should be done every two or three years as part of a regular lawn maintenance program for maximum effectiveness.

Sampling soil samples for testing is a straightforward task that can be done from any area of your yard or garden. You only need to grab a bucket or shovel and collect samples at different sites.

Soil testing is an easy and affordable procedure that can be done year-round. For optimal results, soil testing should be conducted before applying fertilizers or lime to the soil.

man fertilizing lawn


Using the correct lawn fertilizer is essential for a lush, green, and beautiful lawn. Its main components are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

Nitrogen encourages vigorous leaf growth and vibrant green hues, while phosphorus aids root development and helps with the early establishment. Potassium helps the grass take up water and nutrients more effectively while developing thicker cell walls - keeping it healthier and less vulnerable to stress.

Fertilizers contain these three essential nutrients in balanced ratios. The N-P-K values on a fertilizer label indicate how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are present.

When selecting a fertilizer, consider your soil type, weather conditions, and other elements that affect your turf. The most accurate way to determine whether your soil requires additional care is by performing a soil test.

By testing your soil, you'll identify which nutrients are lacking and how to remedy them with targeted fertilizer applications. This will help ensure a healthy, vibrant lawn all year round.

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Table of Contents
  1. "Spring into Action: Choosing the Right Lawn Fertilizer"
    1. Quick Release fertilizers
    2. Slow release fertilizers
    3. Combination fertilizers
    4. Organic Fertilizers
    5. Synthetic fertilizers
    6. Test your soil
    7. Application

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.