7 Best Organic Fertilizers for Your Lawn

Organic fertilizer helps you attain a lush lawn and healthy soil without using harsh chemicals. Plus, it's safe for kids and pets. Here are our best picks.

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Why Use Organic Fertilizers?

As homeowners become increasingly aware of the impact of their choices on the environment, many are opting for chemical-free lawn care to keep their grass robust without introducing potentially harmful substances into the soil and water.

One element of natural lawn is the use of organic fertilizers, which add vital nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) macronutrients to the soil via natural rather than synthetic ingredients. Some of the most common compositions include alfalfa, cottonseed or corn gluten meal; rock phosphate; cow or poultry manure; compost; earthworm castings; bone or feather meal; or even seaweed or kelp.

Organic fertilizers offer multiple benefits but also a few drawbacks:

Pros of Organic Fertilizers

  1. Reduced chemical exposure for yourself, your family and your pets.

  2. No need to stay off your lawn for a time after treatment.

  3. Won’t burn your lawn if you apply too much.

  4. Improves the quality of your soil over time and revitalizes your lawn’s ecosystem.

  5. No leaching of chemicals from the soil into the groundwater.

Cons of Organic Fertilizers

  1. Requires more time and effort to see results.

  2. May see more weeds.

  3. Your lawn may be more susceptible to grub outbreaks.

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Best Organic Spring Fertilizer

Formulated to give your lawn a chemical-free boost during the most important growing season, Espona’s Organic Lawn Booster is a top choice for an eco-friendly spring turfgrass treatment.

Ingredients like feather meal, pasteurized poultry manure and gypsum will leave your yard vibrant and robust enough to withstand the hot, dry summer months. Amazon reviewers note that this product costs slightly more than competitors, but say the results are worth the expense.

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Best Organic Fall Fertilizer

To winterize your lawn and prepare it for a lush comeback the following year, Espona also makes a highly rated organic fall fertilizer. Besides feather meal and pasteurized poultry manure, this seasonal fertilizer formula includes extra potash to bolster your turfgrass root system, protecting your yard from wilt and disease during the cold winter months. Fertilize the lawn in fall six to eight weeks before the first frost date.

You can use your lawn immediately after spreading this natural fertilizer, but be aware a strong odor may linger until watering. Here are a few tips for choosing the right lawn fertilizer.

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Best All-Season Organic Fertilizer

This one-size-fits-all Scotts Natural Lawn Food routinely tops “best of” lists for its versatility and ease of use. Suitable for all grass types, it can be applied in any season. It covers all lawn nourishing bases from a green-up to strengthening the root system for a thick, lush blanket of grass. Plus, this product can be used for new lawns before or after seeding or sodding.

Although it’s safe for use around kids and pets, this organic fertilizer has an enticing odor for dogs who may snack on the small pellets. It’s safe for dogs to eat, but some pet owners report that it did cause a bit of a poop issue, ahem. Not to mention, if your dog eats the fertilizer, you’ll have to reapply.

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Best Organic Fertilizer for Yards with Flowers and Vegetables

Passionate gardeners with yards that mix stretches of lawn with beds of flowering plants and vegetables swear by Wiggle Worm Soil Builder organic fertilizer. It’s made from pure worm castings, aka vermicast or earthworm waste.

This nutrient-rich product includes elements that are absorbed immediately, as well as slow-release elements that feed your turfgrass, flowers and other plants over time. One of Wiggle Worm’s biggest selling points is that it’s odor-free, so you can even toss a small handful on your indoor potted plants for an extra boost.

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Best Slow-Release Organic Fertilizer

For that deep emerald color that will make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood without repeat applications of synthetic chemicals, Milorganite 0636 organic nitrogen fertilizer is a top-growth winner.

Its turbo-boost of nitrogen and four percent iron is formulated to get your lawn vibrant, although the lack of potassium means that you should only use it on healthy, well-established turfgrass. Milorganite’s slow-release formula nourishes your lawn for up to 10 weeks, so you get away with a single application in the spring or fall.

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Best Fast-Acting Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers are known for showing results much more slowly than their synthetic counterparts, but Safer Brand Lawn Restore is one of the few natural options that works in just days. Instead of targeting your lawn’s top growth, this product goes right to the roots and nourishes your grass from the bottom up so you can start to see enhanced color and vitality fast.

Unfortunately, Safer Brand recently released a new version of this popular lawn fertilizer that users report is messier to apply and has a much more pungent odor than the previous formula.

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Best Liquid Organic Fertilizer

Fans of liquid fertilizers will be happy to know of an effective organic option that combines the fast absorption and easy application of a liquid without harsh chemicals. Just Scentsational Trident’s Pride is a crowd-pleaser for its rich formulation based on natural fish products that nourish the soil with amino acids, microbes, enzymes and vitamins. Just be prepared for a slightly fishy smell, customers warn.

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Rebecca Winke
Rebecca Winke moved to Italy from Chicago in 1993 and shortly thereafter took a deep dive into country living by renovating a sprawling medieval stone farmhouse and running it as a B&B for 20 years. Today, she spends her time writing about travel, culture, and food (it's Italy, after all!) for publications like The Telegraph and Italy Magazine, as well as pondering the strange winds that blew an urban vegetarian to a farm in Umbria.