|1. Simple Lawn Solutions||2. Jobe’s Organic||3. Charlie’s Compost|
A well-maintained landscape, with appealing lawns, can increase the value of your home by up to 20% of its original cost. This is according to The Lawn Institute, an organization that is made up of experts who work to improve lawns.
Should you have no plans of selling your home, lush green gardens help your family to relax, providing a serene, healthy environment. Children will find it much more fun playing on such lawns than on any other surface. Lawn care for getting a lush turf grass becomes easier when you utilize the best organic lawn fertilizer.
Weekend meetings with loved ones, the barbeque parties, etc. will all become more enjoyable if your lawn is well kept. Making use of these organic products promotes healthy, green grass while also nurturing wildlife, soil, waterways, and even human life in your surroundings.
If considering going for organic lawn fertilizers, you ought to be familiar with the best products available on the market, their benefits along with their limitations. This post seeks to address the nitty-gritty surrounding the use of organic lawn fertilizers and the best organic fertilizers for lawns that you can easily purchase.
The Basic Types Of Organic Lawn Fertilizer
There are two primary types of lawn fertilizer. It can either be natural or synthetic organics.
Natural organics are made from sources such as animal or plant by-products. Animal-based fertilizers are derived from things such as manure, bone meal, blood meal, etc. They are pretty useful, especially at the beginning, when you first plant or seed the lawn. They also act as a rich source of Nitrogen for the soil.
Plant-based fertilizers, on the other hand, are the best when you need to condition the soil. They, however, do not last long enough like other organic fertilizers, but they can come in handy, especially when the land is dry and may not hold onto water. These types of fertilizers come from molasses, legumes, compost, alfalfa meal, and cottonseed meal.
Synthetic organics are mineral-based. They are primarily made from urea, which is the source of Nitrogen for most, if not all, synthetic organics. To produce different varieties of such products, urea is altered with other chemicals through specific chemical reactions.
Even though it is made in the laboratories and factories, these slow-release fertilizers are considered to be organic because urea contains carbon its structure. Different nitrogen levels and release responses can also be customized to create various types of organic fertilizers. Minerals that are used, such as calcium or
Epsom salts can help in maintaining an optimal soil pH while adding the necessary nutrients.
Synthetic organics should not, in any way, be confused with ‘inorganic’ chemical fertilizers. They are different in many aspects. All this is covered below.
How Does A Lawn Fertilizer Work?
Before delving deeper into more details on how organic and inorganic fertilizers are different from each other, it is paramount to understand how lawn fertilizers, in general, actually work.
It is a rule of thumb that the active nutrients available in fertilizers are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). All these minerals have their specific roles, but they all work to achieve a common goal – to make your lawn healthier, with greener grass.
Nitrogen is responsible for keeping your grass green. Phosphorus promotes root development and is slower-acting. Potassium, on the other hand, helps rejuvenate the lawn, feeding it over time and ensuring it is kept strong even during rough conditions such as during droughts.
It is now evident that all fertilizers have Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK). The main difference between synthetic and organic fertilizer is the source of that NPK. Inorganic fertilizers get their NPK from chemicals. On the other hand, the best organic fertilizers for lawns derive their active ingredients primarily from natural elements.
While the NPK is the main feature to look out for when applying fertilizer, it is not just as simple as putting it on the grass. This is because the fertilizer becomes activated when the ingredients are ‘digested’ by the soil beneath the grass. Therefore, the health of the soil is also an essential factor that determines how good your lawn will be. If it lacks microbiology, which is the ability to break down the nutrients in fertilizer, the fertilizer will run off and can even drain into the water supply.
Understanding Fertilizer Runoff
There are many reasons why fertilizer runoff has been a significant issue for all those who use such products. First, you will literally be wasting your money as the fertilizer will not function as it should. The environment is also profoundly affected by fertilizer runoffs. Even on unplanned for surroundings, Nitrogen and Phosphorous still work to enhance green plant growth.
This is why fertilizer runoffs on lakes are possible, leading to the growth of toxic algae. The toxic algae will thereafter take up most of the oxygen needed in the water for the survival of other plants and animals (such as fish). They eventually create ‘dead zones’ that cannot support any wildlife.
The bottom line of this is that the runoff of fertilizer is one of the most important aspects to look into before settling down on which to purchase.
Organic Vs. Inorganic (Synthetic) Lawn Fertilizers: Where Is The Difference?
There has been a big debate on which fertilizers to go for, between the synthetic ones and their organic counterparts. Both of these types of products will get you results but are in no way similar to their structure and functionality. Listed below are a few of the differences to keep in mind:
Many organic fertilizers come in the form of pellets. The application is generally easy, but it can take a while. Some other organic fertilizers come in their ‘raw’ form and might require more effort to have it distributed over large areas. In case you accidentally apply more than recommended, there will be no problem brought upon to the lawn.
Synthetic fertilizers are mainly available in liquid form. It is quite easy to apply, and one can use a fertilizer spreader to make the process take an even shorter period. If there is an accidental overapplication, the lawns can burn as it becomes harmful to the plants.
The best organic lawn fertilizers have all the nutrients that are necessary for a healthy lawn. The macronutrients that are present are also in abundance, meaning that the soil is also well-catered for. Even though they all have the essential nutrients, the amount for each fluctuates. It is not constant for all the brands out there.
On the other hand, synthetic fertilizers have specified amounts of nutrients. They have been well accounted for, but the macronutrients, which aid the soil, are missing. There is also a high risk which is associated with these chemical fertilizers because the nutrients might build up on the ground. Whenever there is rainfall, or you are merely just watering the lawn, the fertilizer might get runoff.
3. Nutrient Release
Nutrients are slowly released to the plants when you use organic fertilizer. At this rate, the plants can absorb the nutrients more effectively. Furthermore, one will not have to organize numerous applications, and there will be no worries of an overgrowth. It will take you a long time before you think of applying the same organic fertilizer on the lawn.
Synthetic fertilizers offer a faster burst of nutrients and are designed to provide a short term solution for your lawn. The grass tends to grow at a much quicker rate, prompting the owner to trim it down more often. Furthermore, since the release is much faster, you may be required to apply the fertilizer more regularly.
It is no brainer that organic fertilizer is the best for the soil. To achieve a functional ecosystem that is ideal for plant growth, the best organic fertilizers for lawns provide the bacteria and microorganisms with the necessary food to boost plant growth.
Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, have no beneficial support to the soil. When used for extended periods, there is a high risk of making the soil to lose its fertility in the long run.
The Benefits Of Organic Lawn Fertilizers
Having taken a look at the key differences between the organic and inorganic fertilizers for lawns, it is evident enough that the former has more benefits than its counterpart. In a nutshell, here are the top five benefits of using the best organic lawn fertilizer:
1. They Are Safe For The Environment, Pets, And Your Family.
Organic fertilizers are made from substances that can naturally decompose. They are derived from animal and plant by-products. It is a combination of manure, compost, leaves, and many others, which are not potentially harmful in any way.
Chemical fertilizers, which are made from nonrenewable sources, are branded as ‘toxic’ to both humans and pets near your lawn. This is why the brand manufacturers always caution users to keep pets and children off the lawns immediately after application. But are you always going to be there to watch over your kids and pets as they play on the grass?
These chemicals are not only harmful to humans and pets but can also pollute waterways. Fish can lack oxygen as the components of the fertilizer deplete its levels, not to mention the unusual odor and colors it gives the water.
2. You Cannot ‘over-fertilize’ When Using Organic Fertilizer
There are no dangers of over-fertilizing with organic fertilizers. This is because they are made from materials that Mother Nature is already accustomed to, as it is not used to recycling foreign, synthetic matter.
The time taken to break down the nutrients is more extended, meaning they are absorbed in small bits by the grass. This is very beneficial as synthetic fertilizers will cause ‘root burn’ when over sprayed. The Nitrogen salts which are found in these inorganic fertilizers can dehydrate the plants, leaving them dry.
3. The Nutrient Release For Organic Fertilizers Is Slow For Better Results
Chemical fertilizers are absorbed at a much faster rate compared to organic ones. However, there is a catch. The nutrients are absorbed through the blades and not necessarily through the soil. The benefits are only short-term as you might have to apply it more regularly to maintain a lush lawn.
However, if you get some of the best organic fertilizer for lawns, the nutrients are slowly absorbed into the soil, which in turn supports the plants, offering a better-looking lawn for longer.
4. There Is A Better Relationship Between Organic Fertilizers And The Soil
There are millions of microorganisms in your lawn’s soil at any given time. These microbes get their energy from feeding off decaying plant and animal matter. In a natural habitat, these microorganisms get enough to feed on as there are a lot of desecrating animals and decomposing plants. This, however, hardly ever happens at your clean lawn.
When you apply natural fertilizer to your lawn, these microorganisms feed on the organic matter. They, in turn, help in replenishing the soil, giving it a conducive structure for the healthy growth of the lawn. Using chemical fertilizers, first of all, kills these microorganisms.
Secondly, as discussed before, this fertilizer is not absorbed into the soil but directly by the plants. After a while, the land loses its fertility, and it will not matter how much synthetic fertilizer you add, as the plants will not sprout if the soil cannot support them.
5. Availability Of Diverse Nutrients
The three significant minerals – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) are essential to the growth of plants. However, these are not the only nutrients that plants require to become healthier and greener.
The best organic fertilizers for lawns also have calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, among other important ones.
They all work differently, but with a common goal of ensuring a greener lush lawn. Synthetic fertilizers only have the three minerals (NPK).
Factors To Consider Before Choosing The Best Organic Lawn Fertilizers
Fertilizing your lawn is a necessary procedure as it carries with it numerous benefits such as enabling it to recover from stress, enhancing its color, and also helping it prevent the invasion of weeds and other diseases. With so many options available, it can be a bit hard to pick the best organic lawn fertilizer from your retailer. The shopping process can be daunting, especially if this is your first time. Worry no more as this post has it all covered for you. Here are a few factors to consider before setting out to purchase your most preferred organic lawn fertilizer.
1. Understand The Numbers
All fertilizer brands have the numbers for the amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium made public. If the numbers indicated are 12-5-10, this means that the ratio for the nutrients found in the fertilizer is 12% of Nitrogen (N), 5% of Phosphorous (P), and 10% of Potassium (K).
Depending on the region you live in, the climatic conditions, the state of the soil, and the type of grass you want on your lawn, different combinations will work differently for your case. Ensure to check the package specifications and that the numbers cater to your specific needs.
2. Find Your Formula
How do you intend to apply the fertilizer? There are basically two formulas of application; in granular or liquid forms. The meal form is also a formula organic fertilizer can come in, but some people do not prefer it as it is more challenging to apply.
Granular fertilizers utilize a slow-release functionality, which can take up to a month before the results are seen. However, this is an advantageous formula as it will require fewer applications and pose little risk to the environment. This format produces the best results in the long run, not unless you are not willing to wait a couple of weeks before the results become visible.
Liquid fertilizer can come in two ways – either fluid where it should be diluted with water or in powder form where water needs to be added. Using such a plan is effective as the results are seen within a short period. However, your lawn might still require frequent applications, as the fertilizer can easily get washed away.
Furthermore, liquid fertilizer might have detrimental health effects when it gets in contact with the water supply in large quantities. They are ideal when one seeks quick results on their lawn, and they know how to use it sparingly. Moreover, you should be careful not to have any water sources nearby when applying.
3. You Should Know When To Buy Fertilizer
Timing is also everything when it comes to the application of fertilizer to your lawn. The thing is, many organic fertilizers have certain nutrients that the plants do not directly use. These minerals are used to feed the microorganisms in the soil, which in turn makes it more suitable for planting.
Due to this, it is best to know when to apply the fertilizer in the readiness of the planting season. The ideal time to apply is a few weeks before you plant. This means that time is also a significant factor to consider.
4. The Weather Conditions
You should also pay close attention to the weather when planning to fertilize your lawn. For the microorganisms to release the nutrients, they need a warm and moist environment. If the weather is cold, you might be forced to change your schedule as the weather can slow down the entire process.
Top 12 Best Organic Lawn Fertilizers of 2020
1. Simple Lawn Solutions Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced Npk- Lawn Food Natural Liquid Fertilizer.
Simple lawns solutions has been known for top-quality products, which makes this Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced Natural Liquid Fertilizer feature at the top of our list. This organic fertilizer has fish and seaweed as part of its key recipe. All the three primary nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium) have also been included, assuring you of a quick way to fertilize your lawn.
With all these minerals present, it is no brainer that there will be excellent absorption of the fertilizer into the lawn. This product is not only applicable to warm-season plants but also cold-season grasses such as Bermuda, Buffalo, Zoysia, Bahia, Centipede, Fescue, among others.
- Spray liquid fertilizer
- It includes Phosphorus which is vital for root development
- Supports instant fertilization
- Suitable for a wide variety of grass
- Can be applied even during the dry season
- A balanced 4:1:2 ratio
- 2.5 Gallons can be used to cover up to 32,000 sq. ft. of lawn
- Contains fish and seaweed to help in replenishing the soil
- It should be applied regularly if not used together with granules.
2. Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter
This Granular compost starter from Jobe’s is specially designed to promote fast composting. It has a nutrient formula of 4-4-2 and comes with Jobe’s Biozome formula for efficiency. This product is made out of a mixture of various organic substances such as bone meal, feather meal, manure, composted poultry, and sulfate of potash.
Biozome is a mixture of three different microorganisms – bacteria, some types of Archaea, and mycorrhizal fungi. These organisms help in breaking down both the simple and complex matter into elements that plants can easily absorb as useful nutrients.
- Contains 100% organic material
- Microbial activity is increased for hastened results
- Biozome helps to improve the condition of the soil, and also fights diseases & drought during the growing season
- Good results which last longer
- The smell may not be appealing to some users.
3. Charlie’s Compost
Charlie’s compost also makes to this list due to its efficacy when it comes to keeping your lawn naturally healthy. It is mainly made from chicken manure, which comes from the company’s chicken farm. Moreover, it also contains straw, some forest products, cornstalks, clay, hay, and also has the majority of microbe inoculates.
- The product is naturally heated under the sun
- Ten pounds of the fertilizer is enough to cover two cubic ft.
- Its success is seen much faster with a healthy, green lawn being the final result
- This product has not been made primarily with the three vital minerals (NPK) in mind
- The price is relatively higher compared to similar brands
4. Espoma GM25 Organic 3-2-3 Chicken Manure
Espoma has been an excellent brand for all your lawn needs due to how exceptional their products are. The Espoma GM25 organic 3-2-3 chicken manure is no exception. It is primarily made from chicken manure, which is first dehydrated before being pressed into smaller granules. Its slow-release feature also allows it the time to condition the soil wholly.
- Fully organic and natural chicken manure
- It is dehydrated and turned into pellets for ease in application
- Utilizes a slow-release feature which feeds the lawn over time
- The product has a strong, distinctive smell which lasts for long
5. Espoma Elf20 20-pound Organic All Season Lawn Food
This is an excellent choice for an all-season organic food for your lawn, thanks to its 18-0-3 formula. Being one of the best organic lawn fertilizers available in the market, the Espoma ELF20 is quite effective in making your grass greener and healthier, let alone being very safe to your pets and kids. The 20-pound package is enough to fertilize a 5,000 sq. ft. lawn.
The application process is quite simple as all you need to do is to place the pellets on your lawn then allow them to penetrate slowly. Just as in the case of other organic fertilizers, one might be forced to wait a couple of weeks before the results start to show. However, once it feeds the soil well, the grass sprouts out healthier, greener, and becomes well-established.
You will not be concerned about this fertilizer burning your lawn as it is not harmful in any way and is entirely organic. Furthermore, it does not contain any Phosphorous, meaning that there is no danger of it accidentally running off into the water source.
- Long-lasting results when applied
- Entirely safe for pets and children
- Can be used at any season
- The lack of Phosphorus means that it cannot promote the growth of new roots
- This product is on the pricy end
6. Milorganite 32 Lb. Slow-release Nitrogen Fertilizer
This organic fertilizer, which is highly rich in iron, is not only good for the grass but also to other plants such as trees, flowers, etc. offering you the one-stop solution to all your lawn needs. It makes use of Nitrogen, which is non-burning and is efficient for a rather long period – up to 10 weeks.
This formula is quite useful as it is not just effective, but it also ensures that the frequency of application is reduced, the necessity for mowing is also reduced, and can conserve water. A 32 lb. package can cover up to 2,500 sq. ft. of land, meaning it is also very economical.
- Eco-friendly with no synthetics added
- Reasonable price
- Enhances the green color in lawns
- Can be used with spray fertilizers
- This fertilizer does not contain weed killers as in the case of many other notable brands
- The smell dissipates within a week or two
7. Agrothrive Organic Fertilizer – General Purpose
Organic fertilizers are much preferred due to their environmentally friendly nature and effectiveness. AgroThrive has one of the best organic fertilizers for lawns, which is not only easy to apply but also provides value for your money. This product is made from the by-products of seafood, fish, plant proteins, and food industry waste.
There is an assurance from the company that no chemicals are present in the mixture. AgroThrive was first made for commercial use, so once you get it, you can be assured of commercial-grade results.
- For general purpose use
- Helps in the activation of the soil microflora to release nutrients to the soil
- Promotes the plant’s ability to resist diseases
- Promotes the growth of roots
- The fast release ratio of 70% to 30% of slow-release might force the user to use the product more often
8. EB Stone Organics Sure Start Fertilizer 4 Lb.
This product has a composition of different natural ingredients that have been formulated to help plants which have been recently planted to have a strong foundation and growth. The Phosphorus-rich fertilizer has been developed to function effectively, even for the tenderest plants. The product is also made with numerous other nutrients such as blood meal, bone meal, bat guano, alfalfa meal, humic acids, and some soil microbes.
- It is all-natural and organic
- It is an excellent source of natural phosphates
- It is gentle and does not burn the plants
- Perfect for transplanting
- The high phosphate ratio might pose a risk to the quality of water when exposed to it in large amounts.
9. Espoma Eolf28 Organic All Season Lawn Food
This all-season food is formulated with enough Nitrogen, which is slowly released to the lawn, to make the grass more revitalized. The Bio-tone microbes, which are included in the packaging, not only improves the soil structure but are also responsible for faster root development and greening of the grass. The Espoma EOLF28 has a fertilizer analysis of 9-0-0.
- Very economical as 28 pounds is enough for up to 5,000 ft.
- Has Bio-tone microbes
- Fully organic
- The fertilizer analysis is 9-0-0, meaning only the Nitrogen has been focused on.
10. Dr. Earth Nitro Big, Pot Of Gold And Golden Bloom |3-part| Certified Organic Growing System
For decades now, Dr. Earth has continued to provide environmentally friendly fertilizers. This 3-in-1 combination of Nitro Big, Pot of Gold, and Golden Bloom are what every lawn owner needs. They all work in different ways but are designed towards achieving the same goal, which is to get you a greener, healthier, and better-looking lawn.
When used together, these three form the best organic lawn fertilizer. They have different nutrient compositions such as Golden Bloom (1-2-1), which is rich in Phosphorus at 7% and Nitro Big (3-0-1), which is rich in Nitrogen at 7% too.
- Made from human-grade organic materials
- Highly micronized
- It has a full spectrum of nutrition to the lawn with the inclusion of both macro & microelements. Humic and fulvic acids are also included.
- The high carbon formulas used are essential in the fast dissemination of nutrients to the plants.
- An average user might need extra tuition on how to use the products.
11. Richlawn Lawn And Plant Supplement
Richlawn fertilizer is purely organic with a 10% iron supplement. The compost is made from dehydrated poultry waste, which contains vital micronutrients and trace elements that are necessary for a healthier, greener lawn. The application of this product improves nutrient uptake by the plants, enhancing the soil structure, and further developing the moisture retention capacity of the soil.
- Iron and sulfur are included to improve nutrient-poor soils
- Fully organic with micronutrients and trace elements
- This product covers up to 5,000 sq. ft.
- Unlike the majority of other products on this list, this fertilizer does not have weed fighting capacities.
12. EB Stone Organics Sure Start Fertilizer 15 Lb.
This is a blend of several naturally occurring ingredients that are designed to support newly transplanted plants to grow stronger and sturdier. This product is rich in phosphates to help in the development of roots even at their tender stages. It also boasts of a non-burning formula making it ideal for use for any plants.
- Contains soil microbes such as mycorrhizal fungi
- Wholly organic
- With the fertilizer formula 4-6-2, this is one of the best sources of Phosphates for your lawn
- The nutrient release rate can take up to 4 months – it is not the best option for a quick fix.
Best Organic Lawn Fertilizer – Over To You
It is now crystal clear that organic fertilizers have more to offer than just to make your lawn greener. Searching for the best organic lawn fertilizers will become much easier if you follow our comprehensive guidelines and select from our pre-tested products on this list.