Lawn Fertilizers What You Need to Know

Read this before you purchase your next or first bag of lawn food.

Your Lawn Should Be Fertilized Multiple Times During the Year

Just like you, your lawn needs regular helpings of nutritious fertilizer to stay strong and perform its best. Well-timed fertilizer applications not only feed your grass to help it grow thick and lush, but also give weeds less room to grow. Ideally, you should fertilize your lawn with the right Scotts® Turf Builder® lawn food for your grass type 4 times a year: in early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. Feedings should be spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart.

To save you time, you can choose products that conquer all of your lawn issues in one fell swoop. Choose a Scotts® Turf Builder® weed-and-feed formula, for example, if weeds are a problem in your lawn. If you have thin, weak grass, Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™, a seed-and-feed product, can be applied easily with a spreader to thicken existing turf and fill in gaps with new grass, all while it fertilizes. The best way to conquer obvious bare patches in your lawn, though, is with a more targeted seed-and-feed product: Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair, which combines high-performance seed with absorbent growing material and continuous-release lawn fertilizer.

With any fertilizer, it’s important to read the entire label and follow all directions.

Not All Lawn Fertilizers Are the Same

If you've shopped for lawn fertilizer before, you might have noticed some numbers on the label that look something like this: 32-0-4. It’s easy to ignore, but don’t—this code says a lot. The numbers stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), and they tell you the percentage of those ingredients in the product by weight.

Here’s how those letters and numbers add up for the look of your lawn.

The Roles of N, P, and K

Nitrogen greens up your lawn and helps it grow. Phosphorus stimulates root growth and helps seeds sprout. Potassium helps grass withstand stresses like disease and drought. That's why Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass contains phosphorus: It helps small seedlings establish a good root system. Once these roots are developed, though, they can access the phosphorus found naturally in most soils, which is why you won’t find it added to Scotts® Turf Builder® products that aren’t for new grass.

Not all "N's" Are the Same

Nitrogen is nitrogen, but where it comes from and how it gets on your lawn can make a big difference. That difference is all about how it's distributed and how quickly it's released. Bargain and low-cost lawn fertilizers contain mostly fast-release nitrogen, which green up your lawn for about 7-14 days, and then the color fades away. Scotts® lawn fertilizers use a mix of fast- and slow-release nitrogen to help your lawn stay consistently green for 6-8 weeks.

How N, P, and K Are Mixed

If you look closely at most store-brand lawn fertilizers, they look like little pebbles of different colors. That's because the N, P, and K are all separate. So, when you spread the product on the lawn, you don't get an even distribution. Most Scotts® Lawn Food products have Scotts® All-In-One Particles®, which means your lawn gets an even distribution of nutrients every time you apply it

Make Lawn Fertilizing Effortless

Sign up for our personalized, subscription-based Scotts® Lawn Care Program and we'll make fertilizing your lawn a cinch. Just answer a few simple questions about your yard and grass, then we'll send you exactly what your lawn needs, right when it needs it. Lush green lawn, here you come!

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