Few things are more rewarding as a homeowner than having the most luscious lawn on the block. Unfortunately, getting that rich, desirable green grass can be tricky, and many people end up with a patchy or weed-filled lawn. That’s where lawn fertilizer services come in.
Proper fertilization can enhance the appearance and health of your grass and act as a pre-emergent weed killer and reduce the risk of weeds taking over your property. Our experts jump through hoops to bring you the best information possible to get your lawn the envy of the neighborhood. Below, you’ll find our top picks for DIY lawn fertilizers, tips on how and when to fertilize, and the best professional lawn services for beautifying your yard.
Best Lawn Fertilization Services
Lawn fertilization is a project many homeowners do themselves, as it’s affordable and usually not a complicated process. However, professional lawn fertilization services save you quite a bit of time, and they’ll eliminate the risk of over-fertilization and ruining your lawn. For many homeowners, hiring a professional is well worth the investment.
Professional Lawn Fertilizer Services
Professional lawn fertilization companies provide scheduled and customized applications designed specifically for your grass type and soil needs. Although they’re more expensive than a DIY job, they save you time and the frustration of learning the process and potentially destroying your grass. Whether you choose a local fertilizer company or go with a well-known national fertilization service, professional care is critical to getting the proper fertilization for your lawn.
Pros and Cons of Lawn Fertilizer Services
- It saves you time and frustration
- Designed specifically for your lawn’s needs
- Often comes with a satisfaction guarantee
- Professional products for better results
- More expensive than DIY jobs
- Need to choose the right company for good service
Best Lawn Fertilizer Company: TruGreen
TruGreen is our top pick for professional fertilization services. It’s considered the best lawn care company because it has highly trained and knowledgeable technicians who use high-quality lawn analysis to determine the best products and schedules for your lawn. Its fertilization programs are affordable and varied for customization and affordability.
TruGreen has a massive service area spanning the entire continental United States, so chances are very high that they can serve you and have completed services successfully in your specific region before.
Trugreen Plans & Services
|Plan||Essential Lawn||Complete Lawn||Ultimate Outdoors|
|Lawn aeration and Overseeding||✓||✓||✓|
|Tree and Plant Services||X||✓||✓|
|Mosquito/Pest Control Services||X||X||✓|
Check out TruGreen’s comprehensive fertilization plans and get a free quote today.
Read our TruGreen Review to learn more.
DIY Lawn Fertilizers
DIY lawn fertilizers are more affordable than professional services. However, they do take more time and make it possible to damage your lawn if you complete your lawn maintenance improperly. They allow you to choose specific products — like pet and kid-safe options — and only apply when and where you want lawn treatment.
Pros and Cons of DIY Lawn Fertilizers
- Ultimately customizable
- More affordable
- Less potent products than professional services
- Take more time
- Risk of damaging your lawn
Best DIY Lawn Fertilizer: Sunday Lawn Care
Rather than providing professional fertilization and lawn care services, Sunday Lawn Care sends you the products you need and lets you do the rest. It offers a unique blend of professional advice based on a soil sample from your property and a DIY application to minimize your costs.
Sunday Lawn Care only supplies organic and all-natural products, so they’re safe to use on any lawn.
Sunday Plans & Services
|Plan||Basic Care||Keep & Protect||Grow & Renew|
|Grass Seed Applications||X||X||✓|
Check out Sunday Lawn Care’s plans and products and get started today.
Read our in-depth Sunday Lawn Care Review to learn more.
Lawn Fertilizer Service Cost
Lawn fertilization costs will depend on who is doing the work — the homeowner or a professional — the type of products used, how often applications need to be done based on your lawn health, and much more. Some general pricing is listed below based on whether you choose professional or DIY fertilization.
Professional Lawn Fertilizer Service Pricing
Professional lawn fertilizer services also vary in price depending on the size of your property, the health of your lawn, the company you choose, and the services included in your plan. Most individual applications average between $60 and $130. Programs with more frequent applications will naturally be more costly overall.
DIY Fertilizer Pricing
DIY lawn fertilizer products vary in cost depending on a few factors, namely the type of fertilizer and the quantity you need to treat your lawn. Most granular products fall between $10 and $30 enough to treat 5,000 square feet. Liquid fertilizers usually cost between $15 and $40 for the same coverage area. Fast-release fertilizers are typically a bit more affordable than extended-release options.
Types of Lawn Fertilizer
There are quite a few varieties of lawn fertilizers you can choose from, although most contain the same core components: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements are required by plants to uptake and utilize nutrients from the soil, and the right combination can help your grass thrive and make the ground inhospitable for weeds. Below are the primary types of lawn fertilizers available for residential use.
1. Quick-Release Fertilizer
Quick-release fertilizer is one of the most popular fertilization products because, as the name suggests, it works rapidly to boost your lawn’s appearance. It usually comes in a coarse powder form, and you spread it over your grass to instantly increase nitrogen levels. Examples of quick-release fertilizer include Scott’s Turf Builder Built for Seeding and Vigoro Mixed Lawn Weed and Feed.
Quick-release fertilizer works by increasing nitrogen levels quickly. Nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll, and it helps grass take root more rapidly and thicken. Using quick-release fertilizers works quickly, but they can burn your otherwise healthy lawn if you use too much, typically short-lived results.
2. Slow-Release Fertilizer
Slow-release fertilizers typically come in pellet form, and you also apply these using a spreader. The pellets slowly release nutrients into the soil to sustain healthy growth, so results are usually slower but last longer than with quick-release options.
Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to burn your grass and be detrimental to the environment. Examples of slow-release fertilizers include Milorganite’s Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer and EcoScraps Slow-Release Fertilizer.
3. Granular Fertilizer vs. Liquid Fertilizer
Fertilizers can either come in granular or liquid form. Granular options come in pellets or coarse powders that you spread over the lawn with a seed spreader. These usually result in less application of nutrients since the pellets and grains can vary in size and nutrient density. However, they’re more affordable and easier to put down.
Liquid fertilizers deliver nutrients to your lawn more rapidly and evenly. Most get applied with a garden sprayer, and while the application process is a bit more time-consuming, you can get a more even spread of nutrients across your lawn. Liquid fertilizers are also more expensive than granular options.
4. Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizer comes from natural sources instead of synthetic ones. Most organic fertilizers are made of compost, bone meal, worm castings, kelp, and other natural sources. When added to your lawn, microbes consume them and break down the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium your grass needs to thrive.
Organic fertilizers are naturally safer for lawns frequented by children and pets, and they’re easier on the environment. They take longer to start working, but they often last longer than synthetic options.
Types of Fertilizer Spreaders/Sprayers
In addition to fertilizer options, you’ll also have your pick on how to apply the product you choose to your lawn.
No single method of fertilization works best for every homeowner, but you can start by deciding on a liquid fertilizer or a granular one. It’s best to put granular fertilizers down with a garden spreader, but a garden sprayer is usually best for liquid fertilizers.
For most lawns, fertilizing in the early spring is the best option, but it depends on the weather in your area and the type of grass you have. These factors will also typically dictate whether a liquid or granular fertilizer is better and how often you should put fertilizer on your lawn.
Below are all of the tools you can use to apply fertilizer.
- Hand-held spreaders & sprayers: Handheld spreaders and sprayers are very affordable and easy to maneuver around your property. However, they hold the least fertilizer, so they’re generally not ideal for larger properties.
- Broadcast/rotary spreaders: Broadcast or rotary spreaders are set on wheels and hold more fertilizer than handheld options. They have a spinning mechanism that distributes fertilizer over a long distance and wide-angle to make quick work of more extensive and commercial lawns.
- Drop spreaders: Drop spreaders are also typically set on wheels, but they drop the fertilizer steadily as you push them over your lawn. These are ideal for small or medium-sized properties with garden beds or other landscaping features that you don’t want to fertilize in the surrounding area.
- Backpack sprayers: Backpack sprayers consist of a pack filled with liquid fertilizer and a handheld spray gun for shooting the fertilizer over your lawn. These can be convenient for precision fertilization, but they’re more prone to uneven fertilization and make bigger properties take much longer to treat.
- Wheeled Sprayers: Wheeled sprayers work like backpack sprayers, but the tank is conveniently on wheels to take pressure off your back. These still include a spray gun for application, so you’ll have to apply it evenly for the best results.
- Tow-behind Sprayers: Tow-behind sprayers are also on wheels but usually get pulled by a ride-on mower or another motorized piece of landscaping equipment.
Best Time to Fertilize Your Lawn
The best time to fertilize your lawn depends on the type of grass you have. Warm-season grass species — like Bermuda and zoysia — is best to fertilize in the spring. Cool-season species — like fescues and bluegrass — should be treated in the late summer or early fall.
How Often You Should Fertilize Your Lawn
Most homeowners benefit from fertilizing one to four times in a given season rather than year-round applications. The exact number depends on the health of your soil, the type of grass you have, and the condition of your lawn.
Lawn fertilization is crucial for maintaining a healthy-looking lawn and proper soil conditions while minimizing weed growth. You can choose more affordable DIY solutions if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to do the applications yourself and have some knowledge of how to fertilize without damaging your yard. Professional fertilization services are often a better option, as they typically guarantee results and reduce project time and frustration.
TruGreen has some of the best fertilization services in the industry, providing customized lawn care programs based on the pH and condition of your soil. They make obtaining a beautiful lawn a breeze and reduce the stress of learning how to fertilize and treat your yard correctly.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is lawn fertilizer natural/organic?
Some lawn fertilizers are natural and organic, but not all are. Many commercially-available products are synthetic. Choosing between organic and chemical fertilizers depends on what’s important to you in terms of pet safety, quick results, etc. Organic options typically include compost, blood meal, bone meal, worm castings, and more.
Is fertilizer pet safe?
Some fertilizers are pet safe, but some can be detrimental or even highly toxic to your pets. Choosing a natural, organic fertilizer specifically labeled as “pet safe” is best if you have pets that play on your lawn.
How Often Does My Turf Need To Be Fertilized?
Most lawns need to be fertilized once or twice per year. The fertilization really depends on where you live and how the local climate will impact your lawn. You will not want to over-fertilize an area as this will end up causing burnout and other problems in the turf. A slow-release fertilizer will stay in the turf for months at a time, slowly releasing its nutrients. Even if you can’t see that the fertilizer is working, it is likely doing its job.
Should I apply fertilizer myself?
This is a personal question that you’ll ultimately have to answer for yourself. DIY fertilization is more affordable, but it’s also more time-consuming and takes more effort. You also run the risk of damaging your lawn or wasting money on products if you don’t apply them properly.
Should I apply fertilizer to my whole lawn?
In most cases, yes; if part of your lawn needs fertilizer, then all of it will benefit from an application. However, you need to be careful not to over-fertilize areas, as this can burn your grass.
Today's Homeowner Rating & Methodology
At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of the services, costs, and products of each lawn care service. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
- Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
- Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
- Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We took into account how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
- Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
- Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks offered by each company that sets them apart from the competition.
- Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We took into consideration speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
- Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.