6 Best Lawn Fertilizers for Any Type of Grass

There are many lawn fertilizers out there to choose from and it can get confusing. Want to sift through the noise and find the best? Follow along.

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lawn fertilizer
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Choosing a Grass Fertilizer

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. That same axiom applies when you buy lawn fertilizers. You can go cheap and regret it, or pretend your lawn is the Yankee Stadium outfield and throw fiscal responsibility to the wind. I’d like to think there’s a middle ground. Let’s focus on value rather than price.

Let’s find a handful of lawn food gems that give your lawn an edge over your neighbor’s. But before heading to your favorite home retailer or buying online, have a clear understanding about what you’re trying to accomplish.

Are you simply trying to green up your lawn? Is your goal to feed your lawn and control weeds or insects? Maybe you’re starting a new lawn and want the best for those delicate little seedlings as they break ground? Are you considering a naturally organic approach to feeding your lawn?

Let’s take a closer look at six top-choice options that will leave you feeling good about what fertilizer you pour into your spreader.

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Best Fertilizer for Crabgrass Prevention

What I like about Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer + Crabgrass Preventer is the quality of the fertilizer in the bag and the active ingredient of the crabgrass herbicide. It boasts a high-quality, professional grade slow-release nitrogen source called methylene-urea. This is a popular choice among professionals.

The fertilizer releases evenly over an eight- to 10-week period without that flush of growth that can have you mowing more than you want. The crabgrass killer is Dimension. And its “extra strength” dose means it will keep your lawn crabgrass-free longer than other pre-emergents. Dimension kills crabgrass for a short period of time even after it sprouts. Other pre-emergent herbicides won’t do that.

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Best Pro-Style Fertilizer

Okay, so The Andersons 16-0-8 Fertilizer with Humic DG lacks a pretty bag. But your lawn doesn’t care. However, it will care about what’s inside!

Take a good look the fertilizers and pest control products offered by The Andersons. These are the same products golf courses and professional sport turf managers use to keep their grass looking and performing its best. This particular Andersons product is packed with goodness.

For starters, it contains methylene-urea that will give your lawn an even feed over eight to 10 weeks. The Humic DG is an organic amendment that builds healthier soil and helps grass roots thrive. One of this fertilizer’s best features is the size of the granules, which are noticeably smaller than most fertilizers. This is important because these smaller fertilizer particles can easily work their way into thick grass so your lawnmower doesn’t suck it up. Because it doesn’t lay on top of your grass, it’s safer for pets, too.

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Best Organic Fertilizer

Scotts Natural Lawn Food is a great natural organic fertilizer. It’s OMRI Listed, meaning it has been approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute and verified by an independent product review board to certify its contents are 100 percent organic. Natural ingredients like feather meal, meat meal, bone meal and blood meal will feed your grass and your soil. It’s safe for grass, people and pets, providing a slow, gentle release of nutrients for about 30 days. For the environmentally-minded, this one is the real deal.

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Best Fertilizer to Prep Your Lawn for Winter

I like Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer, a late-fall fertilizer, because it’s low in nitrogen and has a healthy amount of potassium.

We want our lawns to slow down as winter approaches, so it’s important to know when to fertilize in fall and which fertilizer to use. Applying too much nitrogen forces it to grow when it would rather start preparing for winter. The 10-0-20 analysis delivers just enough nitrogen to help repair your lawn from a stressful summer and to give it a kick-start the following spring. The healthy dose of potassium will also safeguard your lawn from potential snow mold activity and severe winter conditions.

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Best Fertilizer to Feed Your New Grass Seed and Protect It From Weeds

Planting grass seed in the spring can be a challenge for several reasons. Your biggest headache will be battling all those weeds that are trying to germinate at the same time as your grass seed. Weed growth is severe in the spring and it will choke out those tiny seedlings as they try to grow.

The perfect way to combat this is to use Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass + Weed Preventer, a starter fertilizer containing mesotrione. It’s one of the few pre-emergent herbicides that will prevent weed growth, including crabgrass, but still allow the new seedlings to grow unharmed.

If you need to seed your lawn in the spring, don’t use a conventional fertilizer with pre-emergent herbicide. It will kill your new grass. Fertilizers containing mesotrione are the only way to go.

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Best Fertilizer to Feed Your Lawn and Prevent Grubs at the Same Time

The Andersons 21-0-4 Turf Fertilizer with 0.2 percent Merit Insecticide will feed your lawn slowly as it also protects it from grubs. If grubs have damaged your lawn in previous years, you know how devastating it can be. This lawn fertilizer should be applied early to mid-summer, just before grubs become active in your soil. Rest easy knowing your lawn has received a healthy feeding and has been protected from grub damage. Learn how to choose the right lawn fertilizer.

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Joe Churchill
Joe Churchill is a Senior Turf Specialist for Reinders, Inc. in Plymouth, MN with a passion to promote realistic and environmentally-sound turfgrass maintenance practices through responsible use of water, fertilizers, pesticides and other inputs. Joe's client base includes professional turf managers serving the lawn care, sports turf and golf course industries. His lawn is the envy of the neighborhood and, in his free time, he enjoys kicking back on the Northshore of Lake Superior.