Should You Even Bother With Organic Lawn Fertilizer?
There is a widespread debate about the results and effectiveness of using lawn fertilizer that is considered organic. I hope to show you the pros and cons of the top 5 products I have researched.
The differences between organic and synthetic fertilizer are simple:
Synthetic fertilizer gives quick results; however, it only feeds the grass itself and not the soil underneath, therefore not lasting as long as an organic lawn fertilizer would. It can not only burn your plants when used improperly, but it can also leach into waterways causing a whole list of environmental problems.
Organic fertilizer, on the other hand, provides benefits to not only plants but to the soil as well, causing it to be a long-lasting way to care for your lawn and garden. It stimulates beneficial microorganisms and improves soil structure. It does have a lower NPK ratio (N= Nitrogen, P= Phosphorus, K= Potassium. This is the ratio of these plant nutritious elements in fertilizer products.) than synthetics, but it feeds the plants for a much longer time. Organic fertilizers work from the root up. The goal with organic lawn care is to work with nature, not against it. Organic lawn fertilizer reduces the amount of pollution sent up into the atmosphere, and also reduces landfill waste, as well as reducing the amount of inorganic chemicals used that can disturb the natural order of life in your lawn.
The best way to find which natural lawn fertilizer best suits your needs is to compare and contrast. After having done some research, I have listed what I have found to be the top 5 best organic fertilizer products:
This product offers a 5-2-0 NPK ratio. It contains 85% organic matter and the company has been around for over 90 years. It can be used on all grass types, as well as flowers, plants, veggies, shrubs, and trees, and it works well as a seed carrier. It contains virtually no salts, which means no plant burns even in the hottest and driest conditions. Another nice thing about this product is you don’t have to add water to it, as it stays in the soil ready to work once the moisture arrives. It boasts a slow release formula giving your lawn 10 weeks of nutrients. Also, having a lower iron rate means it won’t stain concrete!
This particular product is made up of composted cow manure, chicken manure, and calcium pellets. It is sold in a 5lb bucket and has an NPK ratio of 3-4-3. It is easy to use: all you have to do is sprinkle the pellets onto your lawn, gardening soil, or into potting soil for plants.
It too has a slow release formula and is made up of 100% organic material. This organic fertilizer gives a lot of bang for your buck! Unlike many fertilizers of its kind, these pellets do not release a strong, unpleasant odor. They can, however, catch the attention of some unwanted critters. There have been reviews mentioning that it makes a great snack for a raccoon. This is one you will want to be sure to seal and keep out of their reach.
Not only is Scotts a name synonymous with lawn care, but they offer a line of organic lawn fertilizer as well. This fertilizer has an 11-2-2 NPK ratio. It is pet and kid friendly, and you can walk on your lawn immediately after applying.
For best results, they recommend using a spreader, and it can be applied to either wet or dry lawn. This fertilizer is great because it can be applied during any season. It is best used for lawns, but can safely be used in gardens, as well as for plants. It does have pest control in it, but it is not specified as to what kind of pests. After reading reviews, I have found that people say it does have a slightly unpleasant odor, most likely due to the blood meal in its ingredients. It has also been known to be less effective on St. Augustine grass, so if this is the kind of lawn you have, you may want to consider other options.
This fertilizer is a little on the higher-priced end of the spectrum. It has a 10-0-6 NPK ratio. As you probably noticed, it does not contain phosphorus whatsoever. It is 100% GMO-free and also has a slow release, weed eliminating formula so you should not need a separate weed killer. It, like the Milorganite, will not burn your grass. While having a patented root strengthening slow release formula, it also boasts greener lawn results in just 3-5 days! The Safer Brand company has over 25 years of research, and this is the second in its line to be released. It can be used on nearly any grass, but is recommended on the following:
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Perennial Ryegrass
- Tall Fescue
Unlike some other brands I have listed, it can only be applied during the growing season, and it is more temperature sensitive. This bag comes with a thermometer and should only be used in certain temperatures. This fertilizer requires immediate watering after application. If you are looking for fast results, plus the benefits of organic fertilizers, this may be a great option for you!
With an NPK ratio of 1-0-1, Ironite offers a pretty great product for your money.
Like other natural lawn fertilizers listed, it will not burn your grass, but it does contain a low amount of heavy metals. These levels have still been deemed safe for use when following recommended use, but if you have children or pets this may not be an ideal option for you.
That being said, it contains 25% soluble iron to boost the green in your yard rapidly, as well as non-soluble iron to boost nutrients to plants. It can be applied during any season, and on any type of plant, though it is not recommended for gardens. Ironite does not contain the additional organic materials other brands offer but is more of an iron specific organic lawn fertilizer.
Ultimately, when deciding which organic route to take with your lawn care needs, you must first decide on these three things: 1.) Are you wanting immediate results, or results that are long lasting? 2.) Are there pets and children playing in or around your yard on a regular basis? 3.) Are you using a fertilizer that will work in your specific conditions and with your type of grass?
Are you unsure about how to fertilize your lawn? Check out this video from Home Depot to make sure you’re doing it right!
Once you have factored in these options, the choice for the best organic fertilizer for you should be much easier! If you plan on mowing and overseeding your lawn, you have the option of fertilizing either immediately before or after you do that. All in all, organic lawn fertilizers not only offer a healthy, green lawn with lasting results, but they help keep our environment clean too. You can’t go wrong there! I wish you the healthiest and greenest of lawns!
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