A Complete Guide to NPK fertilisers: what does it mean and what does it do?

Buying fertiliser should be easy, right? Well, it is – as long as you know what to look for. Because not all fertilisers are the same. Some are more suited to springtime than autumn; others help strengthen the roots, while others deepen the green colour. And what the heck is that NPK number all about?

It’s a conundrum. But those three little numbers make everything clear.

This article is all about the NPK ratio you see printed on the back of your packet of fertiliser. You might have noticed it and wondered what it means.

Well, look no further – we’re going to guide you in the ways of the NPK number. And once you’ve mastered the NPK, you’ll become a qualified doctor of grass (well, not officially, but we can make you a certificate if you like).

With the right know-how, you’ll be able to diagnose your lawn problems and develop an NPK solution that helps it recover.

We’ll call you Dr Lawn from now on.

Why do we need to fertilise our lawns?

npk nutrient diagram

It might seem like a stupid question, but let’s start from the very beginning.

Your lawn needs water, light, and nutrients to survive and thrive. Of course, the rain (or your hosepipe) supplies the water, the sun provides the light, and – mostly – the soil supplies the nutrients.

But:

Soil has a finite nutrient resource. Of course, nature has a way of balancing itself out, and – when left entirely to nature – the cycle of organic decomposition helps maintain a perfect balance of nutrients within the soil.

However, our lawns aren’t really grown in “nature” – we disrupt the cycle of decomposition and growth by:

  • Removing fallen organic matter (such as leaves in the autumn), and
  • Mowing our grass for neatness

When we mow, we cut off the tips of the blade – but we also remove a valuable nutrient resource for our grass plants, which stores their sugars in their leaves.

So, each time we cut our lawns, our grass plants demand more nutrients from the soil because we’ve sliced off some of its valuable food sources.

And THAT is what eventually depletes the soil’s nutrient supplies (along with removing fallen organic matter).

And – over time – the nutrient balance loses its equilibrium, and the soil becomes exhausted.

Bad times.

What is fertiliser?

fertilising the lawn by spreading the granulate by hand

Fertiliser replaces lost nutrients to help bring balance back to the soil.

You can fertilise with organic matter, like mulchleafmould, or homemade compost. But those compounds can be a little heavy for lawns – those are more suited to your flowerbeds.

Lawns need a specific nutrient balance, so using a specialist lawn fertiliser is essential.

These consist of a mineral mix of:

  • Nitrogen (N),
  • Phosphorus (P), and
  • Potassium (K)

as their principal nutrients, along with a range of secondary nutrients to help your lawn get everything it needs.

So, a fertiliser you might use on your roses or rhododendrons isn’t going to supply the correct nutrient mix for your lawn.

What does NPK stand for?

Illustration of the definition of NPK nutrients

All plants need carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to grow and survive – these are supplied by the air. But grass plants also need:

  • Nitrogen (N),
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)

The letters N, P, and K refer to the chemical symbol on the Periodic Table – remember that from Chemistry lessons at school?

Each of those three elements benefit your lawn in different ways.

And those are:

The Role of Each Nutrient

N = Nitrogen: the function of nitrogen in your grass

Plants don’t grow without nitrogen, so you could consider N as the most crucial nutrient for your lawn.

Plants need nitrogen to photosynthesise (using sunlight to create food). Photosynthesis generates the deep green in plant leaves, so if you want a lawn with a beautiful deep green colour, it needs nitrogen.

Nitrogen moves quickly through the soil when applied as a fertiliser. This helps your grass grow more rapidly while stimulating root growth and boosting the cellular development of your grass plants.

A good nitrogen supply makes your turf stronger, making it more resilient to heavy use and disease.

But, your lawn only needs additional nitrogen during the peak growing season – in the spring and possibly during the autumn. If you have a newly seeded lawn, avoid giving it too much nitrogen – it’s better to let it develop its roots naturally at first.

Too much N can be bad for your lawn. If your lawn looks stressed (such as during drought), don’t add nitrogen because it will boost growth and exacerbate the plant’s stress.

P = Phosphorus: the function of phosphorus in your grass

Phosphorus might sound like a character from The Tempest, but it also has an essential role in lawn health: root development.

Phosphorus helps strengthen your lawn’s roots, making them more able to absorb other nutrients and water from the soil. This compound is essential for young lawns – whether from seed or turf.

Clay soils tend to hold onto their phosphorus, whereas sandy soils often have lower natural phosphorus levels. This is because the particles in clay soil have a larger surface area, which absorbs P more easily than the smaller, granular particles in sandy soil.

Use a soil tester to establish the P levels in your soil – measure this every two years, and replenish if the phosphorus is low.

K = Potassium: the function of potassium in your grass

Potassium increases your lawn’s resistance to drought, disease, and fungi. It strengthens the cell walls and ensures that water and carbohydrates circulate freely around the plant.

Like Nitrogen, potassium soaks into the soil quickly, but – likewise – it can be easily flushed out.

Potassium contains salt, which is essential for winter – ensuring that your grass can withstand freezing temperatures without cellular damage to the plant.

Grass consumes potassium more quickly than phosphorus, so regularly add extra K to the soil.

Too little or too much NPK in your lawn? How to recognise it!

Yellow lawn due too much npk

Too much or too little of a good thing is always problematic. And the same can be said for the NPK levels in your lawn.

These are the tell-tale signs to look for:

Nitrogen

These states indicate low nitrogen levels:

  • Yellow or brown grass blades
  • Diseases and fungal infections, such as red thread

Red thread is a fungal infection where red “fungal needles” intertwine between your grass blades. It looks a little like the blades of the grass have turned red, but if you look closely, you’ll see that needle-like strands extend around the grass blade.

Red thread infection causes dead areas of grass, so this infection is best avoided – treated with nitrogen.

However, add too much nitrogen, and your grass will grow extremely fast – like weeds. So, unless you want to mow your lawn every single day, avoid adding too much nitrogen to your fertiliser mix.

Phosphorus

A lack of phosphorus can result in a buildup of carbohydrates and sugars, causing the emergence of reddish/purple anthocyanin pigments. So, too little P in your lawn soil makes the grass blades turn an odd shade of purple.

The plant’s roots will be shallow and weak, which means that your lawn will be more susceptible to infection from fungi and weeds.

Phosphorus deficiency can present in similar ways to nitrogen deficiency, with the added symptom of poor blade coverage, making the lawn seem a little bald.

Adding phosphorus will improve these conditions, but never add too much because it can cause poor ongoing growth (and could even kill your grass). Too much phosphorus reduces your grass’s ability to take up micronutrients – particularly zinc and iron.

Again, test your soil’s phosphorus levels using a soil tester kit or an electronic tester.

Potassium

A lack of potassium can be seen in the grass blades. They may appear to have developed yellow edges and brown spots, or even yellow or brown veins in broadleaf varieties.

The correct potassium level in the soil helps plants grow more quickly and make better use of water availability (with an improved drought response). It helps fend off diseases and resists pests.

However, too much potassium can harm the environment because it contains a lot of salt. So, be careful to add the right amount.

Why the composition of fertiliser is so important

Your grass needs different nutrients at different times of the year. So, it stands to reason that you feed your lawn according to its needs.

NPK for the spring

spring blossom leaves

Your grass goes dormant over the winter months, waking up when the soil temperature reaches a good, consistent 10ºC. That’s usually around February/March, and this is the time to add nitrogen, helping your lawn recover and bounce back after winter.

MOOWY’s Spring Boost fertiliser offers 12% nitrogen, which is enough to give your grass plants the kickstart they need. This fertiliser mix contains phosphorus (5%) to help the roots recover and potassium (5%) for additional disease resistance.

If you look at the label, it says that Spring Boost contains an NPK ratio of 12-5-5. That means 12% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus, and 5% potassium.

However, Spring Boost also includes 2% Magnesium Oxide as a secondary nutrient, which stimulates the cell structure of your grass plants, improving photosynthesis.

NPK for the summer

green lush lawn with shadow

Your grass grows at its fastest during the summer, so you don’t want to overstimulate it with high nitrogen levels at this time of year. Over-stimulation in the summer can actually weaken your lawn during the winter, making it more susceptible to disease.

So, use a lower-nitrogen fertiliser during the summer, like MOOWY’s All-Round Lawn Fertiliser, which has a:

  • Nitrogen (N) level of 6%
  • Phosphorus (P) level of 5%
  • Potassium (K) level of 12%

The NPK ratio is 6-5-12, with a 2% Magnesium Oxide content.

NPK for the autumn

colored leaves in garden

It’s good to add a fertiliser with a high phosphorus level in the autumn to help strengthen roots before the winter dormancy. And a high proportion of potassium helps develop your lawn’s resistance while it’s most vulnerable during the winter.

Our Lawn Starter fertiliser has an NPK mix of 6-10-8; that’s 6% Nitrogen, 10% Phosphorus, and 8% Potassium. It might be called Lawn Starter, but it also makes the perfect autumn fertiliser for established lawns.

Percentages and composition of NPK fertiliser

Always check the label of your fertiliser. Choose one according to your lawn’s needs and the time of year.

You’ll see this on our Spring Boost Fertiliser:

NPK
1255

The numbers are percentages per 100g.

So, in this case, there’s 12g of nitrogen, 5g of phosphorus, and 5g of potassium.

Why doesn’t the NPK add up to 100?

If the NPK is a percentage, surely it should add up to 100? 12+5+5, for example, adds up to 23.

What’s in the other 77% of the fertiliser?

Well, the simple answer is: if you added pure chemicals to your lawn, it would scorch the leaves, burn your skin, and potentially poison the air.

NPK fertilisers are – by definition – a mix, and that mix needs to be held together with secondary nutrients and inert materials that help condition your soil and safely deliver the necessary chemicals.

MOOWY fertilisers are delivered in coated granules. The coating provides a slow release of the chemical compounds, which means that you can fertilise less often. Granules are generally considered better than powders which can blow away in the wind (and contaminate other soils in your garden, and potentially contaminate the air).

So, all fertilisers need a binding agent to make them safer to use and protect your grass plants.

Secondary nutrients and trace elements

NPK substances are considered the primary nutrients, but most fertilisers also include a range of secondary nutrients and trace elements.

Common secondary nutrients include:

  • Calcium – helps strengthen the plant’s cell structure while reducing soil acidity.
  • Magnesium – stimulates growth and boosts chlorophyll development.
  • Sulfur – suitable for enzyme development, making the grass more resistant to the cold.

Trace elements include tiny amounts of metal minerals, such as iron, zinc, and boron.

Do you want to start now, or do you want more information?

We hope you’ve got a clear understanding the NPK ratio printed on your fertiliser label, but we’re always here to help if you have any other questions.

Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help!

Happy fertilising!

FAQ

Q: What does NPK stand for?
A: N=Nitrogen, P=Phosphorus, K= P=Potassium. The NPK number refers to the balance of those chemical elements.

Q: What is the best NPK for tomatoes?
A: Tomatoes need lots of everything to grow healthy fruit, but look for an NPK of 10-10-10 or 5-10-10.

Q: What is a good NPK for plants?
A: It depends on the plants, but studies have identified that flowering plants enjoy an NPK of 3-1-2

Lawn Care in December

The end of the year is nigh, as is the growing season for your lawn. Now that the temperature has fairly consistently dropped below 10ºC, our lawns begin their winter slumber; going dormant until the spring.

But:

There are still a couple of jobs to do to ensure a flying start in the spring.

In this blog, I’ll go through the essential lawn care tasks for December to make sure that your grass survives the harsh winter months and comes bouncing back in the spring.

Ready? Let’s go!

It’s time to fight moss

fighting moss in garden
Mossy lawn with fungi – Photo by Sandra Grünewald on Unsplash

Winter is usually wetter and colder, with minimal sunlight. And, unfortunately, these are all of the conditions that moss simply loves.

And this is a particular problem: while moss thrives, your lawn remains dormant and can’t fight back.

Moss creates a thick layer on the soil’s surface, soaking up the rainwater. This essentially starves your grass plants of their water supply, making them dry out.

Therefore, December is an ideal time for protective measures against moss.

You can attack moss in the following ways:

Fighting moss with iron sulphate

Calcium sulfate on bowl
Bowl of iron sulphate – Photo by COZ on Shutterstock

Iron sulphate is super-effective against moss. Use the right amount, and you’ll kill off your lawn moss within four days (without damaging your grass plants).

A particularly pleasant side effect of MOOWY’s 2-in-1 Moss Killer and Fertiliser is that your grass gets an unseasonal boost of colour, turning it a beautiful, lush green again.

Check out our expert article for more information about using iron sulphate on your lawn.

Applying garden lime as the second level of attack on moss

Winter can be a challenging time of year for your soil as fallen leaves and plant debris land on your grass and slowly decompose. Over time, this can increase your soil’s acidity levels.

Grass prefers neutral-to-slightly-acidic soil – a pH of 5.5-7 is ideal. Moss, however, loves acidity – so, the lower the pH, the more the moss will find your soil a hospitable place to thrive.

Spreading lime over your lawn’s surface helps to gently restore acidic soil, making it more accommodating to grass (and less to moss). MOOWY’s Lawn Lime provides the right level of treatment to kill off your moss.

And, when it comes to the spring, you might think about scarifying your lawn. But it’s best to avoid this during the winter as it won’t be able to bounce back (and it will look awful throughout the winter).

Check out our expert’s guide to lawn lime.

Grass repairs

tree with leaves on the ground
Fallen leaves on lawn around a tree trunk – Photo by Dmitriy Adamenko on Unsplash

December isn’t the best time for intensive work on your lawn but, when there’s a bright, sunny December day, there are a couple of jobs to do, such as:

  • Raking up the leaves – if there are still leaves on your lawn from the autumn, rake them up to help preserve the acidity level of your soil and to prevent starving your lawn of oxygen
  • Trim the edges – the soil is likely to be wet, making lawn edging a little easier. The edger tool will sink more easily into the ground, making this essential neatening task suitable for December gardeners.

Avoid sowing seed – it won’t germinate until the soil has reached 10ºC, and that’s unlikely to happen until the spring.

Give your lawn a break during winter

Your lawn should survive the cold, harsh winter temperatures as long as you leave it alone. Your grass plants go dormant in the winter, so they won’t be able to heal themselves if they’re damaged during the winter months.

If you get frost, avoid walking on your lawn – you could break the crown, and the grass could die.

If you get snow, just enjoy the pretty carpet of white. Don’t be tempted to clear snow from your lawn – the snow has an insulating effect and will actually protect your grass plants.

Above all, leave your lawn alone. Let it sleep. There will be plenty to do come spring.

Don’t forget the other garden tasks

It may be time to leave your grass to its slumber (other than the essential anti-moss treatments), but winter is an excellent time to prune your trees and mulch your plants.

Prune pollard trees (oak, alder, and poplar), espaliers (hornbeam, chestnut, linden, and sycamore) and fruit trees.

Add a layer of mulch over your flower bed soil to protect your plants from the cold. Winter is a great time to use your leafmould.

And don’t forget the birds. Hang up fat balls and peanuts so they have something to eat this winter.

But, most important of all, enjoy a little time off.

Any questions?

We love to hear from you here at MOOWY. So, if you have any questions, get in touch.

We’ll get back to you asap!

Have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!

Fertilising your Lawn: why, how and when? – The complete guide

We all know that fertilising your lawn is recommended. But some people are – well, let’s just call them “fertiliser deniers”.

Sure, your grass will grow without feeding. And it might look OK. But, with time, the soil’s nutrient levels become depleted, and there’s only so much time your grass plants can survive on borrowed time.

And while there’s such a thing as over-fertilising, there’s also the more common condition: under-fertilising.

This article is all about the art of fertilising your lawn. We’ll explain how much to use, how regularly, which fertilisers to use, and what you can expect from well-fed grass plants.

What are fertilisers?

water drops on the grass plants in the morning

A fertiliser is a natural or synthetic material that you apply to your soil to supply nutrients.

Most modern fertilisers are a mix of compounds that provide a range of nutrients, including:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)

Fertilisers help return the nutrient balance to your soil, but they can also act as soil improvers – lightening heavy soils to improve drainage and helping sandy soils to retain more moisture.

Fertilisers traditionally came from organic sources. That’s poo, in short.

Fertilising your lawn with manure

cow in meadow

A range of animal manures, such as horse- and chicken, are exceptionally high in nutrients. But manure is only at its most beneficial if the “producer” was a natural plant-eater.

We hope you’re not eating because this is going to get a little gross. Put your sandwich down!

Because:

Traditionally, we used human waste to irrigate and fertilise crop fields. And we’re not just talking about the “olden days” here: sewage is still used to irrigate and feed crops in the developing world where there’s no access to fresh water.

Arguably, getting grosser still, the byproducts of fish- and meat processing are great for fertilising crops. Fish, blood, and bonemeal all make very effective plant fertilisers.

OK,

it’s safe to go back to your sarnie.

Synthetic fertilisers for your lawn

Synthetic fertilisers were first used in the 19th century and have resulted in some fairly wide-reaching environmental consequences, including contributing to global warming. However, we’re talking on an industrial scale here – the impact of fertilising your lawn will have minimal impact.

Of course, there’s always organic fertilisers such as homemade compost and leafmould. But for your lawn, there’s a range of low-impact fertilisers that produce outstanding results for greener, lusher grass.

The NPK composition in a lawn fertiliser

npk nutrient diagram

All good fertilisers confirm their chemical composition on the packet in the guise of an NPK number.

As mentioned above, N is nitrogen, P is potassium, K is phosphorus.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is probably the most important of all the elements for plant development and a significant part of the chlorophyll, which adds the green colour to plant life. It boosts growth and helps develop the density of your lawn.

Adding too much nitrogen through over-fertilisation results in rapid growth but a compromised root system and leaf scorch. Too little nitrogen makes the blades turn yellow.

Potassium

Potassium helps your grass plants take in water and nutrients, creating starches and proteins that power the plant’s growth. It helps build thicker cell walls, boosting health and resistance to extreme weather and disease.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus supplies the energy to develop deeper roots and blade density. It’s needed in the spring when it wakes up from its winter dormancy.

NPK – what does it mean?

When you look at your fertiliser packet, you’ll notice the NPK number expressed as a ratio.

For example, MOOWY’s Spring Boost has an NPK ratio of:

12-5-5 +2% Mg0

The NPK is always expressed in the same order – N first, followed by P, then K.

So, that means that Spring Boost contains 12% Nitrogen, 5% Potassium, and 5% Phosphorus.

This particular product also includes 2% Magnesium Oxide (Mg0), which stimulates the cell structure while boosting photosynthesis, giving your spring lawn a much-needed deep boost of green.

Why fertilise your lawn?

beautiful green thick lawn landscape

Grass in the countryside seems to get along quite well without the need for chemical assistance. In the wild, grass blades find their own height and hold onto the sugars produced through photosynthesis. These sugars nourish the plant, making it strong and resistant to disease.

But we mow a domestic lawn. And this leads to a loss of the sugars the grass plant needs to thrive.

Think about it:

  • The grass plant extracts minerals (or nutrients) from the soil to thrive
  • The glass blades produce sugars with the help of light, carbon dioxide, and water
  • The grass grows, storing the sugars in the leaves
  • We cut it, depleting the plant of its nutrients
  • The plant extracts more minerals from the soil
  • Etc.

Basically, by mowing our grass, we’re stripping the plant of its sugars, meaning it needs to extract more nutrients from the soil to reproduce the sugars it needs. However, in the wild, there’s a balance between the blade’s longevity and the soil nutrients. In gardens, we force the plant to strip the soil.

This process impoverishes your soil. By fertilising, you replenish those essential nutrients.

So:

4 Reasons to Fertilise Your Lawn

Fertilising Your Lawn to Overcome the Vicious Circle

We mow our lawns because it looks neater, but it also helps our grass plants absorb more light. When the grass is long, only the blade tips have direct access to light, which means that the sun is exposed to a relatively small surface area in comparison to the overall length of the blade.

However, by mowing, more of the grass plant is exposed to the light – and that’s good.

But, of course, there’s a pay-off: the vicious circle of growing and mowing.

By mowing, we’re forcing our grass plants to strip the soil of its nutrients to recover.

Remember:

Grass is a plant. It needs to recover from the damage of intensive use and regular mowing.

Mulch is a natural fertiliser

Many lawnmowers collect grass clippings as they go. But the clippings can act as a natural fertiliser. In fact, grass clippings contain everything your grass plants need (because, after all, they produced them!).

When you mulch correctly, the chopped-up leaves contain everything you might get in a shop-bought fertiliser (and there’s hardly any impact on the planet). Grass clippings contain around 4% nitrogen, 2% potassium, and 1% phosphorous – the nutrients contained in fertiliser.

But:

The clippings need to be small enough to settle below the lawn’s surface. Clumps of grass leaves sitting on top of your lawn will smother your grass plants and cause disease.

You can get a special mulching blade for your lawnmower. However, if you mow regularly enough, the surface tips will be short enough to sink to the earth.

Fertilising your lawn to promote recovery

Now, this is the real reason we fertilise: to help our grass plants recover from the trauma of cutting and intensive use.

Robust and healthy grass is more resistant to heavy use and cutting. So, by applying suitable fertilisers, you provide strength and resilience to your lawn. And well-fertilised grass is more resistant to disease and weed invasions.

Weak grass is an open invitation to weeds and moss – they love a patchy lawn that’s hanging on by a thread for dear life.

Fertilising your lawn for aesthetics

Fertilising your lawn helps your grass plants grow more evenly, preventing bald spots and patches of weeds and moss. But fertilisers do more than just strengthen the plants: they help your lawn to develop a rich, deep green colour as well as a lush texture.

Well-fertilised grass plants have a tighter root structure, creating more blades; leaving less space for weeds.

When and how often should you fertilise your lawn?

calender board

Most people don’t fertilise their lawns at all. And you can probably tell the difference between a lawn that’s been left to nature and one that’s been well-cared for (excuse the passive-aggressive tone! 😉 )

For good results, we advise that you fertilise your lawn at least twice a year – in spring and autumn.

However, for optimal results, we recommend fertilising three to four times a year:
In the spring, late summer, autumn, then a final feed before winter kicks in.

You can, of course, buy all-purpose fertilisers that can be used throughout the year. But your lawn needs different nutrient boosts depending on:

  • the weather
  • the amount of sunlight it gets
  • the amount of rain, and
  • the intensity of use

The best time of year to fertilise your lawn

Early spring (February/March) – Spring Boost fertiliser gives your lawn everything it needs as it awakens after winter hibernation. A high nitrogen level (12%) helps kickstart growth and return a deep green colour; the added bonus of Magnesium Oxide boosts photosynthesis, restoring your grass after the winter months.

Avoid applying spring fertiliser too early – it stresses the grass plants. Wait until your daffodils have emerged – that’s a good indicator that your lawn is ready for its first feed of the year!

Spring (March/April) – You shouldn’t over-fertilise, so if you already fed your lawn in February, then you don’t need this second feeding. But if you didn’t fertilise in Feb, then feed between March and April.

Mid-Summer (July) – Your lawn experiences its most intensive use during the summer, so an optional additional feed in July could help improve resilience and deepen the green colour while the weather is at its hottest. Leave it 10-12 weeks after your spring feed. A slow-release fertiliser is good at this time of year – try MOOWY’s Long Lasting Lawn Fertiliser. This feed will protect your lawn from heat and minimise growth, so you won’t need to mow as often.

Autumn (Sept/Oct) – What for the weather to turn autumnal. It felt like autumn was quite late in 2021, so go with October if it’s still unseasonably warm. Your autumn feeding helps your lawn recover from the heavy use and drier summer weather, preparing it for the harsher winter. While mid-summer is an optional feed, don’t miss the autumnal fertilisation.

Winter (Nov/Dec) – Prepare your lawn for winter tolerance with a final feed, 10-12 weeks after your autumn application. Make sure it’s before the first signs of frost.

Applying an iron-sulphate-containing fertiliser will help prevent moss and disease throughout the winter. Try MOOWY’s 2-in-1 Moss Killer and Fertiliser both at the beginning and the end of winter.

Suitable conditions for fertilising your lawn

Suitable conditions fertilising lawn

Make sure the soil is moist, and your grass is actively growing before feeding. Sprinkle your fertiliser after cutting your lawn, giving the granules time to settle down to the soil before the next cut.

Most slow-release or granule-type fertilisers need watering after application. Make sure you read the instructions.

Don’t apply granular feed to wet grass – it will stick to the grass and scorch the blades. You want the feed to get down to the surface layer.

Save time after fertilising by feeding before rain is due. That way, you don’t need to water the feed into the soil.

Organic fertiliser versus artificial/mineral fertiliser

Organic fertilisers are made from decomposed materials that were once alive – that’s plant life before you call the Vegan Police on us. 🙂

Compost is decomposed “fallen” matter – that’s fallen leaves, branches, and food waste that you pile into your compost heap. Compost contains similar nutrients that you find in manufactured fertiliser, but it has been stored within the fallen organic matter.

Organic fertilisers contain beneficial microbes which help improve the soil, making it easier to work. However, organic fertilisers are often more expensive if you buy them in packs – they’re less concentrated, meaning they contain fewer nutrients by volume than inorganic feeds.

Inorganic fertilisers are incredibly effective because they’re manufactured to precise levels of mineral composition. Manufactured fertilisers tend to work more quickly, with longer-lasting results.

Granular fertilisers versus liquid fertilisers

Ah, that old chestnut… Which is better: granular or liquid lawn feeds?

Well, the jury is out, tbh – it’s more to do with personal preference, really. However, here’s our handy, balanced, ready-reckoner to help you decide which is best for you.

GRANULAR FERTILISERLIQUID FERTILISER
EASE OF USEYou need a broadcast/drop spreaderMix with water in the watering can, ensuring correct dosage. Some bottles provide hose-end sprayers for faster application.
EFFICIENCYNutrients gradually release into the soilLiquid quickly absorbed into the ground.
RATE OF ABSORPTIONSlow-release. Nutrients last for a more extended period.Most liquid fertilisers are quick-release, meaning more regular feeding.
COSTUsually cheaper than liquid fertilisers.Usually a little more expensive than granular fertilisers. The pack doesn’t usually last as long.

Granular fertilisers are usually cheaper (and last longer) than liquid fertilisers. The results of liquid feeds are generally more rapid, but the effects last for a shorter period than granular feeds.

MOOWY granular fertilisers are mainly slow-release but show results in around 7-10 days. However, they keep feeding your lawn for about 60 days, so you don’t need to feed as often.

You can walk on your grass straight after application with our granular feeds. Some liquid feeds need to settle for a couple of days before you can walk on the grass – otherwise, you risk burning the leaves, leaving black footprints on your lawn.

How do you fertilise your lawn? 5 simple steps for successful fertilisation

These instructions are suitable for granular feeds. For liquid feeds, read the instructions on the bottle.

  • Step 1: Timing– make sure the grass is dry before you lay fertiliser, and avoid the midday sun. The late afternoon is usually best.
  • Step 2: Preparation – Remove leaves and twigs from your lawn and mow the grass.
  • Step 3: Calculate – weigh out the correct amount according to the size of your lawn. As a rule of thumb, measure out 25g per square metre.
  • Step 4: Distribute – divide your fertiliser into two equal parts and sprinkle lengthways, then widthways.
  • Step 5: Water – activate the fertiliser by watering your lawn after distribution. Use a gentle stream of water, so you don’t disturb the grains too much.

What do you need to fertilise your lawn?

Have everything close by when you fertilise. That way, you’ll get it done more quickly.

You’ll need:

  • Lawnmower – mow BEFORE you fertilise.
  • Weighing scales
  • Your fertiliser, weighed out. Remember, MOOWY fertilisers come in resealable bags, so you can reseal and store if you have any left over.
  • Spreader or hand spreader
  • Garden hose

3 golden tips: Before & After fertilising your lawn

3 tips fertilising lawn
  • Tip 1: Never over-fertilise. Adding more feed doesn’t necessarily provide more effective nutrition. You can burn the grass blades with too much fertiliser.
  • Tip 2: Never top up your spreader on your grass. Fill your spreader in your shed. If you spill granules when filling the spreader, areas of your lawn could burn from over-fertilisation.
  • Tip 3: Don’t mow straight after feeding. Wait at least 3-to-4 days after fertilising before you cut again.

Where do I buy lawn fertiliser

Fertilisers are widely available from garden centres and online. Check out MOOWY’s online shop for premium-quality lawn feeds and treatments.

FAQ

Q: What is the best feed for a lawn?
A: Granular feeds offer slow-release fertilisation for your lawn, meaning you don’t need to feed as often. Liquid feeds are faster acting but need a more regular application for sustained results.

Q: When should I feed my lawn?
A: Feed your lawn with a high-quality lawn feed at least twice-a-year. Once in the spring, then again in the autumn. For optimal results, also feed mid-summer and again before the first frost.

Q: Is lawn feed necessary?
A: If you want a healthy, weed- and disease resistant lawn, you need to fertilise the soil. Unfertilised grass becomes patchy, full of weeds and moss, and is prone to disease.

Q: Is weed and feed good for your lawn?
A: A high-quality weed-and-feed can benefit the resilience of your lawn. If you use a weed-killer fertiliser mix, ensure you overseed the patches left behind by the dead weeds to prevent them from growing back.

Ready to start feeding your lawn? Or do you have more questions?

We hope you’ve got all the information you need from this article. But if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We love hearing from you, so just ask if you want more advice or suggestions for an amazing lawn.

Thanks for reading!