Green lawn outside of a fenced-in house.

Here’s Why the Type of Fertilizer You Use Makes a Difference

Maintaining a lush and healthy lawn requires more than just regular watering and mowing. One crucial aspect of lawn care is ensuring the soil has sufficient nutrients that grasses need to thrive. This is where fertilizers come into play.

But don’t just use the first fertilizer you find. For the fertilizer to work as intended for your unique lawn, it must be the right type. You need to understand your lawn’s needs and learn about the different types of fertilizers available. Doing so will help you find the right fertilizer to feed your lawn and plants.

Why Should You Choose the Right Fertilizer?

There are countless types of fertilizer in the market. You may wonder, does it matter what fertilizer you use?

The short answer is yes.

Every lawn is unique. The type of grass, the kind of soil, the yard condition, and even the climate conditions vary. A fertilizer that works wonders in your relatives’ yard may not deliver the same results in yours.

That’s also why there are different types of fertilizers on the market. They can be organic or inorganic. They also have different ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are all to meet the varying requirements of lawns.

Therefore, it is essential to determine and use the best type of fertilizer for your lawn. The wrong fertilizer may kill your lawn’s grasses or cause problems instead of helping the grass grow properly. For example, fertilizers with high nitrogen levels can cause excessive top growth, leading to many other issues. If the product is highly concentrated, you’re risking lawn burning.

Organic vs. Inorganic Fertilizer

There are different types of fertilizer, and they can be classified as organic or inorganic. Both give the grass the nutrients it needs to grow green, healthy, and strong. But they differ in terms of the nutrients they contain, how they supply them to plants, their soil impact, and their price. Let’s take an in-depth look at their differences:


As the name suggests, organic fertilizer comes from natural sources like plants, manure, and animal or fish byproducts. Inorganic fertilizers, also called synthetic fertilizers, are manufactured artificially. They contain synthetic chemicals and minerals often mined from the earth.

Nutrient Content

Nutrients found in organic options are generally less concentrated than what’s available in inorganic fertilizers. The nutrients are also the slow-release type. This means soil bacteria and fungi convert some nutrients in organic fertilizer first, so it often takes time for the grass to absorb these nutrients.

In contrast, inorganic fertilizer contains concentrated nutrients readily available for grasses. The turf won’t need to wait for the components to decompose. This option can be ideal if your lawn lacks specific nutrients and you wish to quickly restore it to its former glory.

Inorganic fertilizers may give your grass a fast-acting boost of nutrients, but they also have a downside. The high concentration and solubility of the product make it easy to feed the grass more than it needs, causing damage. The nutrients are also easily lost from the soil, so you’ll likely need to fertilize the plants more than once.

Impact on Soil Health

Organic fertilizers are rich in organic matter, which can help to improve soil structure and increase the soil’s water-holding capacity. Additionally, organic fertilizers help to promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the ground, which play a crucial role in nutrient cycling and plant growth.

Inorganic fertilizers, on the other hand, do not provide any organic matter and can lead to soil compaction over time. They can also harm soil microorganisms, which can negatively impact soil health.


Anything organic is usually more costly, and fertilizers are no exception. Organic fertilizers are more expensive than their inorganic counterparts because they contain fewer nutrients pound for pound. This means that grasses can acquire the nutrients available in several pounds of organic fertilizer from a single pound of synthetic fertilizer.

Organic fertilizers may be more expensive than synthetic ones, but they are more cost-effective in the long run. Rainwater does not wash away the nutrients they provide; the nutrients stay long enough and improve the soil’s composition and texture. Your lawn still benefits even months after you apply organic fertilizers.

Types of Fertilizers

Organic and inorganic fertilizers come in various kinds. Here are some of them:

Agricultural Waste

Some agricultural waste, like straws and cottonseed meal, make good material for organic fertilizer.

Animal Dung

You can use manure from livestock like pigs, chickens, or rabbits to fertilize your grass. It’s essential to treat this excrement before using it as fertilizer. The manure contains substances that can harm plants and the environment.

Municipal Sludge

These organic fertilizers are generated during municipal wastewater and sewage treatment. They also contain essential plant nutrients, but be careful, because they have other harmful chemicals.

Seaweed Fertilizer

This type of organic fertilizer is made from kelp, which is a large, brown algae. It is packed with nutrients essential for grass growth and health, like potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium.


This is a water-soluble fertilizer that contains potassium. Potassium is one of the essential nutrients that plants need to thrive. When there’s an insufficient amount of this nutrient in the soil, grass’ metabolism is compromised, and the roots won’t grow properly. Grasses also tend to be more vulnerable to diseases. Potash fertilizer supplements the soil with the amount of potassium it lacks.

Ammonium Sulfate

Like potash, ammonium sulfate is a water solution. It contains nitrogen and sulfur, helping lawns to green up faster and reducing the soil’s pH level. On the downside, this type of fertilizer risks leaching. Leaching is when the grass gets burned where the fertilizer is applied.


A synthetic-organic fertilizer, urea comes in a granulated form that can be applied as a liquid or solid spray. It contains a high percentage of nitrogen, a vital nutrient that helps your lawn resist fungal pathogens.

Lawn fertilizers can either be quick-release or slow-release. Slow-release fertilizers release nutrients gradually. Grass will not get the nutrients it needs instantly. But on the positive side, this fertilizer provides plants with nutrients over a longer time. There’s also no growth burst and uneven growth.

In contrast, the nutrients in quick-release fertilizers are immediately available to the grass. This is ideal if you want to see results fast, as it gives plants the nutrients they need immediately. However, it can cause damage if not applied properly.

What Is the Best Fertilizer for Your Lawn?

If you are looking for the best fertilizer for all types of grass, you will never go wrong with organic products. They are safe for plants, pets, and humans. Plus, they provide a long-lasting effect. But you must also determine the nutrients your soil needs. Generally, lawns need three major nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Lawns need nitrogen the most. Typically, a 1,000-square-foot lawn will need one pound of nitrogen. You’ll usually find this first in the list of nutrients in a fertilizer bag. It is followed by phosphorus and potassium. The best lawn fertilizer will have an N-P-K ratio of 4:1:2 or 3:1:2.

Keep Your Lawn Lush and Fertile With the Right Products and Care

If you need help choosing from the many fertilizers available, you can always seek assistance from professionals like LawnMart. LawnMart has been caring for lawns for many years and knows what fertilizer works best. Our team uses organic-based fertilizer, humic acid, seaweed, and other products that are safe for your lawn and everyone who uses it, including your pets and children.

For more on lawn care services, don’t hesitate to contact LawnMart today.

Michael Schäfer

President – LawnMart Inc.

Years of Experience: 31 Years

  • Land Class 1 and 3 Licenses Since 1993
  • Pest Control Operator License Since 1995
  • PIC Accredited Pest Technician Examiner Since 2004
  • Biting Flies Control License Since 2020

Michael Schäfer is President and Founder of LawnMart Inc. After training privately under Dr. Larry Whiddell of Ohio State University, he became a Lawn Technician at Barefoot Grass Lawn Services (1993) and leveled up to Tree/Shrub Care Manager before taking over all Canadian operations as Area Manager. In 1996, Michael founded LawnMart Inc., which has since grown into a multi-award-winning company that cares for thousands of lawns in the Golden Horseshoe area.