As consumers, we are surrounded by options. A quick trip to the local big box store or even a search on Amazon reveals so many different products that it can be hard to choose. In fact, psychologists have come up with a name for the overwhelming feeling that comes from having so many choices—”overchoice”.
If you feel like you’re experiencing overchoice in trying to choose the best lawn fertilizer, we understand your frustration. With so many options out there, it’s really difficult to know what’s best.
The last thing you want to do is make a poor choice that will lead to poor results as that’s just a big waste of money.
As a lawn care company, we’re staying on top of “what’s out there” and feel it’s our responsibility to help educate people on their choices. That’s why we’re talking about some of the most-featured lawn fertilizer products and how they stack up.
What is Lawn Fertilizer?
First and foremost, before we start comparing products, we want to give a quick explanation of what fertilizer is. Lawn fertilizer is a product that adds vital nutrients to the soil in order to help the grass grow better.
You’ve probably seen various numbers on a bag of fertilizer and wondered what they mean. These three numbers represent the three macronutrients used by plants: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). They are represented as three numbers (26-0-10 for example) on the bag and the numbers indicate what percent of the mixture contains these three main ingredients.
In addition to these nutrients, some lawn fertilizer products also include weed control and other materials.
Comparing Lawn Fertilizer Products
Now that you have a basic understanding of lawn fertilizer, let’s look at some of the most popular products out there.
Scotts Turf Builder
This is a top-searched product on Google. We can see how the bag is appealing. It has powerful words like “Weedgrip Technology” and “2X More Powerful.” But it’s important not to get sucked into marketing jargon.
The fact is, research from Ohio State has proven that a granular product is not nearly as effective at weed control as compared to a liquid product. This is because the grass has to be wet in order for the dust to stick to the leaf tissue. Even then, it’s still less effective.
In terms of the nutrients, looking at this bag, the numbers you’ll see are 28-0-6. This means there is not Phosphorus. But soil tests in our area reveal that Phosphorus is essential. This nutrient helps to stimulate root growth and enhance plant vigor early in the plant’s life.
Scott’s Turf Builder is better than nothing. It might make the grass green and kill some of the easier-to-control weeds. But because a healthy root system is the best way to achieve a thick and healthy lawn (and a healthy lawn is the best natural defense against weeds), the lack of Phosphorus is a definite concern. The granular weed control formulation also raises concerns.
We’ve detailed Scott’s program a bit more in-depth in this article, if you’d like to read more.
Simple Lawn Solutions
This lawn fertilizer product is another often-searched-for choice and pops up on Amazon. Right off the bat, we see that the NPK ratio on this is 16-4-8, so we’re happy to see that it does have Phosphorus. This product also has beneficial soil additives (seaweed and fish), which makes this product better than the last in our opinion.
However, it’s also a lot more expensive when you look at the application rates and how much product you’ll need to get the results you’re after. After all, it’s not only important what’s in a product but also how much of that product is applied. In order to give your lawn what it would need, we think you’d have to apply this product weekly. At the time we reviewed this product, it was $25. Over time, $25 a week just for fertilizer is really going to add up.
In addition, the application method for this product is also far from ideal. You’ll need to hook it up to a hose which is tricky in terms of getting an even application. When you hire a lawn care professional, they are precisely calibrating their equipment and knowing exactly how much of them are going down in any given area. Fine adjustments can be made in order to ensure just the right amount. But with a bottle and a hose, it’s impossible to achieve that level of precision.
Overall, this is a better product than the last but it still falls short of what a professional would use.
Vigoro Lawn Fertilizer
This is another top-searched product and one that you might have seen at the big box store. Like the Scott’s product, this one uses marketing ploys to try and draw in the buyer. But some of these phrases are no more than just catchy jargon. “Assurance Particle Technology” isn’t a scientific term. It’s just something that is trying to catch your attention.
A quick look at this bag reveals a 29-0-4 ratio. Like the Scott’s product, this has no Phosphorous, which is a definite problem. And like the Scott’s fertilizer, also has no organic matter or soil biology.
Ultimately, this is a pretty standard product. It’s similar to the Scott’s product except that it doesn’t also contain any weed control.
What is the Best Lawn Fertilizer?
Now that we’ve reviewed some of these popular products, you might be wondering whether there is anything you can buy yourself that will stack up to what a professional uses.
In reality, store-bought products are simply never going to be as good as what a pro is putting down. Of course, that’s assuming you’ve chosen a lawn care company that invests in top-quality products. Though these companies wouldn’t want you to know it, this is an area where even some “pros” try to skimp so that they can charge you more.
But it’s not just about the product. As we mentioned, it’s also the rate of application and even the equipment used to apply those products. When you work with a professional, you also know that their professional-grade products are being applied with top-quality equipment operated by a trained technician. These facts also make a huge difference in your results.
On top of all that, there’s also the added problem that any store-bought products do not come with a guarantee. But when you work with a professional lawn care company, they should be standing behind their work. If weeds don’t die after spraying them or the lawn doesn’t green up, they’ll return to take care of what went wrong.
A Lawn Care Program That has It All
All of this adds up to the fact that it’s not as much about the best lawn fertilizer, but about the program as a whole. Yes, using a high-quality, professional-grade fertilizer is important but it’s also one piece of a larger puzzle.
You want to know that you’ve hired a professional who is implementing a complete program with everything that your lawn needs. This also includes a focus on soil health, which is at the “root” (literally) of a healthy lawn.
When you hire the right professional, you also gain the added benefit that they’ll eliminate your hassles, too. Let’s be honest, it’s a pain to have to analyze products and try to determine which ones are right for your lawn. Then you have to figure out what equipment will be needed and how to use it properly.
That’s why we find that Oasis Turf & Tree customers hire us to take away their worries.
When you choose to work with us, you can not only get the great lawn results that you’re after, but you can get rid of that “overchoice” stress. We already know the best fertilizer to use on your lawn—and it’s part of a complete program that includes the best weed control products, soil microbiology, and more.
Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn you desire.