In addition to mowing, trimming and edging, feeding your lawn is also an important seasonal task. But, when it comes to choosing lawn fertilizer, many homeowners get confused by the options. So, what’s the difference between liquid and granular lawn fertilizer? Keep reading!
How do I know what I need?
Begin with a soil test. Feeding your lawn nutrients it doesn’t need is wasteful. A soil test analyzes the pH of your soil as well as key nutrients. You can take a soil sample to your local extension office for analysis or you can purchase a DIY soil test kit. Once you have the results of the test, you will know which nutrients you need to apply and you can research the best way to apply them.
What is the best fertilizer for my lawn?
Again, the best fertilizer for your lawn is one that contains the nutrients your soil needs. Fertilizers are sold by a numbering system that represents a ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). So, if the label says 5-5-5, you know it has equal parts of those three nutrients. If it is 16-4-8, it has 16 parts of nitrogen, 4 parts potassium, and 8 parts potassium. A typical maintenance ratio for a lawn is 3-1-2. One of the advantages of using a liquid lawn fertilizer is that you can easily mix in any other nutrients your soil needs.
What about the weeds?
If your lawn is plagued by weeds, you can choose a weed and feed formula, but if your weeds are not extensive, go with separate fertilizer first. Feeding your soil increases the health of your grass. And, healthy grass will eventually choke out the majority of the weeds.
Should I use liquid lawn fertilizer or granular?
That depends. Granular fertilizers may be what you choose if you have a large piece of property because it is less expensive. But if you need immediate results, you will want a liquid.
Pros of liquid lawn fertilizer.
Immediately Bioavailable Simply because it’s in liquid form, liquid lawn fertilizer provides nutrients to the soil instantly, so the benefits can be seen in just a few days.
Even Application Thoroughly mixed and applied with a wide-sweep sprayer nozzle, liquid fertilizer gives a more even application than what you get with a granular fertilizer spreader.
More Versatile Whether you mix concentrate in a gallon sprayer (the less expensive option), or purchase a pre-mixed bottle that attaches to your garden hose, liquid fertilizer is more versatile than granular because you can apply it to the ground or the foliage. Foliage applications allow for a faster uptake when a quick correction mid-season is needed.
Can Blend With Other Products Liquid lawn fertilizers can easily be mixed to get the right amount of the nutrients your lawn needs.
Cons of liquid lawn fertilizer
Needs Multiple Applications Liquid fertilizer, while more immediate, needs to be reapplied more frequently. Granular fertilizer slowly releases nutrients into the soil when it rains or you water your lawn, so you don’t have to apply it as often.
More Expensive No two ways about it, liquid fertilizer costs more than granular. If you have a large yard, that extra expense adds up.
Results Short-Lived According to Michigan State University’s Extension Service, the results of water-soluble fast-release fertilizers provide instant satisfaction that is short-lived. Yes, they quickly deliver a deep colored, luxurious lawn, but the energy put into the top growth actually reduces root growth. They suggest for greater long-term results, use a slow-release fertilizer.
If you choose to use granular fertilizer, this post will show you how to use a fertilizer and seed spreader.
And, if your lawn needs more help than fertilizer can give, read here for how to repair a damaged lawn.