10 Best Lawn Fertilizer for Spring: Updated Reviews

It’s ridiculous that we only get to enjoy our lawns for three months in an entire year. However, this period can be shorter still if you don’t begin lawn care early.

The best time to start looking after turf grass is spring. Sure, you can just water it and hope for the best.

However, if you want thick, even dark green grass for summer, you’re going to need the best lawn fertilizer for spring.

While there are loads of great options, we have limited our list to the top ten on the market, and we’ve provided a guide to help you choose the best one for your lawn.

Best Lawn Fertilizer for Spring

  1. Scotts Liquid Turf Builder Control FertilizerBest for cool season grasses
  2. Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble Lawn FoodBest for Quick Growth
  3. Just Scentsational Bare Ground SolutionsBest Organic Fertilizer
  4. Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Grass Seed, FertilizerBest for thin grass
  5. Maximum Green & GrowthBest for Nitrogen-Deficient Lawns
  6. GreenView 2129193 Fairway Spring FertilizerBest 2-in-1 lawn fertilizer
  7. Pennington 100536600 UltraGreenBest lawn fertilizer for late spring
  8. Simple Lawn Solutions SuperiorBest for Potassium-Deficient Lawns
  9. Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced NPKBest for all grass types
  10. Scotts Complete 4-Step ProgramBest for Professionals

1. Best for cool season grasses – Scotts Liquid Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control Fertilizer

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If you ask for the company that makes the best lawn fertilizer, at least half the people will say Scotts, and that’s thanks to products like this.

Scotts Turf Builder is a great fertilizer and weed-killer combo that puts its competitors to shame.

This 25-0-2 configuration makes this one of the best fertilizers for spring, as it is rich in the nitrogen turf grass needed to grow quickly.

Unfortunately, weeds also thrive off nitrogen, which is why we love this 2-in-1. While you can get this in granular form, we prefer liquid because it is easier to apply.

Just shake, insert your garden hose and start spraying. The best time to apply this weed and feed is when you see the weeds growing.

You will begin to see results within 24 hours, which is to be expected from a superior brand.

Scotts Liquid Turf Builder will take down buckhorn, dandelions, clover, poison ivy, and a few other weeds.

Sadly, it is powerless against crabgrass. Another area where this otherwise perfect product falls short is that you should only apply it to cool-season grasses.

If you have warm-season grasses like St. Augustine Grass or Buffalo Grass, you’re going to need another lawn fertilizer.



2. Best for Quick Growth – Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble Lawn Food

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Great marketing, great brand presence, and great product all around. The Miracle-Gro Water Soluble lawn food is everything you expect from a famous company.

Some argue that they are the ones that made fertilizing your lawn look sexy and this lawn fertilizer further adds to that.

Let’s begin with the most interesting aspect of this product. Instead of making liquid or granular fertilizer, Miracle-Gro somehow did both.

You pour the feeder granules into the Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder, attach the hose, turn the water on, and you have instant liquid.

They have also made it easier for you to apply by breaking it down into four bags per jar, which you are to use at intervals of 4 to 6 weeks.

However, if you want quicker results, you can cut the reapplication time in half. Best of all, you can use this on any type of grass.

The macronutrient formula is 30-0-6, and it has been reinforced with chelated iron, making it an excellent early spring fertilizer. It also offers great coverage of 4,000 sq. ft per jar.

The only downside to this product is you need to buy their garden feeder. However, you can choose to apply the fertilizer with a watering can, but that’s way more work.



3. Best Organic Fertilizer – Just Scentsational Bare Ground Solutions

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Lawn care is a delicate science that requires a lot of research, trial, and error. That is why the best lawn fertilizers are usually chemical.

But now we have Just Scentsational Bare Ground Solutions, and it really is sensational. Made from fish, this fertilizer has been rated by OMRI to be 100% organic, and it works better than imagined.

So, unlike a traditional N-P-K formula, this lawn fertilizer adds proteins and enzymes into the soil, which also stimulates earthworm growth.

One major benefit of this fertilizer is that you don’t have to apply it as often as chemical fertilizer.

As the earthworms grow, they consume harmful chemicals in the soil and turn them into healthy nutrients for your lawn when they die.

The result is greener, thicker, healthier lawns that stay resplendent long after you stop fertilizing.

If we had to nitpick, the only real downside to this product is that you have to dilute it in water before spraying. Plus, it has a strong smell, which can be a bit much for humans, but dogs like it!



4. Best for thin grass – Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Grass Seed, Fertilizer, and Soil Improver

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When it is late spring, and you still haven’t applied any lawn fertilizer, chances are you’ll begin to notice patches in your lawn or even abnormally thin grass.

That is where Scotts Thicker Lawn comes in to save the day. This is another fantastic lawn fertilizer from one of our favorite brands, and this one is a 3-in-1.

You get seed to help you fill out patches, fertilizer to help your lawn get thicker, and soil improver to make the roots grow better.

The result will be a lawn that is not only thick and green but also resilient to weeds and harsh weather.

What we love about this product is that it has been tested in different climates, and it always works great as long as you follow the instructions.

What we don’t love is the limited coverage. One 2.2-pound bag only covers 1,200 sq. ft. The positive is that you only need to apply this once, so that makes up for the low coverage.

Of course, this also means you need a granular lawn fertilizer disperser. Even though this is designed to fill up spaces, you can use this on bare land and still get a pretty decent lawn.



5. Best for Nitrogen-Deficient Lawns – Maximum Green & Growth- High Nitrogen 

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One brand we’ve grown to admire just as much as Scotts is Simple Lawn Solutions, and you will see them a few times on our list.

Their Maximum Green lawn food does exactly as it says. You get unusual results, which makes sense because the product formula is unusual.

Typical lawn fertilizers should have at least two of the macronutrients, but this has just nitrogen, with a high concentration of 28-0-0.

This makes it one of the best lawn fertilizers for nitrogen deficiency. So, if you’ve had a lot of heavy rain during the offseason, this will help.

The unique formula contains fast-release nitrogen for immediate impact and slow-release nitrogen to ensure your turf grass is well-fed until the next application.

This is a very easy product to apply, as it comes in a ready-to-spray can. You also get great coverage of 3,200 sq. ft from the bottle.

Perhaps what is best of all is that you can use this with cool-season grasses like Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass, as well as warm seasons grasses like St. Augustine Grass.

Due to the high concentration of nitrogen, you need to be careful when applying. Too much, and your grass will burn.



6. Best 2-in-1 lawn fertilizer – GreenView 2129193 Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer

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When a lawn fertilizer is formulated for golf courses, you know it’s good. Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer is a lawn food and weedicide mixed in one, and it works like a charm.

The first thing to note about this lawn fertilizer is that it is a 24-0-6 concentration, making it ideal for most lawn needs.

What’s interesting is that 65% of the nitrogen in this is slow-release, meaning your turf grass will get a consistent supply of this crucial nutrient for up to 12 weeks without reapplying!

The next thing to point out is that this lawn fertilizer kills over 200 different types of stubborn weeds and blocks the growth of crabgrass. This is something no other lawn fertilizer on our list can boast of.

One of the cons of this lawn fertilizer is that a 36-pound bag only covers 10,000 sq. ft. however, considering you don’t need to reapply it for three months, that’s still fantastic value.

Besides, that’s larger than most lawns. The only real downside is that you should not use this on St. Augustine grass in Florida, as it will burn your lawn.



7. Best lawn fertilizer for late spring – Pennington 100536600 UltraGreen Weed & Feed Lawn Fertilizer

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Next, we have another contender in the weed and feed lawn fertilizer category, but this one has a distinguishing quality too.

The Pennington Ultragreen Weed & Feed is an extraordinary product made to give DIY gardeners complete peace of mind. Pennington’s unique formula is designed to kill over 250 broadleaf weeds.

While this does not include crabgrass, it does include dandelion, henbit, and chickweed. The best time to apply this lawn fertilizer is late spring after the weeds have come out.

Made for all grass types, this lawn fertilizer has a 30-0-4 formula, making it one of the most nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizers. The only caveat to this is you should not use it on floral St. Augustine.

Once you follow the instructions on the package, you will begin to see results in a few days, and you may not have to reapply over the summer, depending on where you live.

This Pennington lawn fertilizer has been fortified with iron, which, combined with nitrogen, will ensure you don’t have any brown or yellowing grass.



8. Best for Potassium-Deficient Lawns – Simple Lawn Solutions Superior Nitrogen & Potash

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Next up is another product from Simple Lawm Solutions and this one has a particular set of skills. The Superior Nitrogen and Potash 15-0-5 has been made primarily to treat potassium deficiency.

If you have conducted a soil test and have identified a dearth of potassium as a problem, then you can use this lawn fertilizer in early spring.

However, if you haven’t conducted a lawn test, you might want to wait until late spring to see if you need this particular lawn fertilizer.

Signs that you might have a potassium-deficient lawn are when your lawn looks brown or yellow, and the blades of grass seem to be wilting.

You can also use this if your lawn is a light green color and you want it to be a bit darker. Just like the other Simple Lawn fertilizers, you can apply this to all grass types.

This also comes in an easy-to-spray bottle and covers up to 3,200 sq. ft. On top of that, this wonderful lawn fertilizer has added humic acid, giving your lawn everything it needs to thrive.



9. Best for all grass types – Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced NPK – Lawn Food Quality Liquid Fertilizer

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We have saved the best Simple Lawn Solutions lawn fertilizer for last. Behold, the Advanced Balanced NPK.

With a macronutrient combo of 16-4-8, this lawn fertilizer provides everything you need for a lawn in any stage of growth.

Just in case your lawn needs a bit more, this fertilizer also contains seaweed and fish, which makes it the best chemical and organic fertilizer on our list.

The seaweed and fish stimulate earthworm growth, which breakdown the macronutrients to make it easier for the grass to absorb.

The phosphorous will help the grassroots grow stronger and deeper. As a result, this lawn fertilizer will keep your lawn soil in top condition during the colder months.

As you would expect from this brand, you can use this fertilizer on any type of grass, including St. Augustine and other warm-season grasses. You can also apply the fertilizer in summer or spring.

Couple that with the easy spray container, and you have a versatile, easy-to-use, and highly effective product. As this is a balanced lawn fertilizer, you don’t need a soil test to use it.



10. Best for Professionals – Scotts Complete 4-Step Program

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We had to think long and hard before putting this on the list. Not because this isn’t a great product, it is a Scotts, after all, but because of the time commitment.

For the average lawn owner, lawn care is only for the summer months, so this might sound scary.

However, if you’ve been struggling to get your lawn right for years and it’s becoming an embarrassment on your block, you need something drastic, and that something is Scotts Complete 4-Step Program.

Starting in Early Spring, the first step is a crabtree grass preventer. You then move on to weed control and lawn food in late spring, then iron-infused lawn food in summer.

Finally, you have lawn food for the fall months to be applied up until the end of November.

The result of this prolonged process is not only a thick, green lawn but also healthy soil that should keep yielding results for years to come.



Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Lawn Fertilizer for Spring

Finding the best lawn fertilizer for spring can be confusing for several reasons. For starters, what do the different numbers mean, and how do I know which one to pick?

What type of fertilizer should I use on my lawn, and how should I apply it, or does it not matter?

Understanding these different aspects of lawn fertilizers will help you achieve the best possible lawn, so let’s look over them in detail.

The best N-P-K formula for spring

Every plant needs three major macronutrients to thrive – nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K).

That is why these numbers are listed on the front of every chemical lawn fertilizer packet and always in that order.

The number will refer to the concentration of each macronutrient in the grass fertilizer. For example, 16-4-8 means it contains 16% nitrogen, 4% phosphorous, and 8% potassium or potash.

The numbers will vary depending on what the lawn fertilizer is meant to accomplish. To better understand that, we need to know the benefits of each macronutrient.


Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for plant growth. It is an organic compound and a key component of the chlorophyll molecule, which promotes photosynthesis.

Without nitrogen, plants can’t absorb sunlight, so plants can’t grow. Nitrogen is also responsible for the green color of plants, which is why it is always in high quantities in grass fertilizer.


Phosphorous is what helps plants make new roots, flower, and bear fruits. It also helps turf grass resist diseases and infestations.

When plants don’t have enough phosphorous, their leaves become a dull, blue-green color or just look pale.

In many of the grass fertilizers on our list, you would have noticed that the phosphorous count is usually 0.

That is because many parts of the country have phosphorous-rich soil. Any more, and it can contribute to surface water pollution.


Potassium strengthens the stems of plants and helps them fight diseases. When grass doesn’t have enough potassium, its leaves will begin to wilt and shrink.

In some cases, the potash deficiency would lead to yellowing leaves. In the average lawn fertilizer, the percentage of potassium is much less than nitrogen but greater than phosphorus.

What is the best N-P-K combination for spring?

The best combination will depend on what your lawn needs. That means you need to take a soil test, which you can do yourself with an at-home soil test kit.

This will reveal the presence and quantity of these macronutrients. If you don’t want to do a soil test, then you can use the general rule of thumb for spring lawn fertilizer.

For early spring, you need lawn fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, so go for anything with more than 20% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus, and less than 6% potash.

Once you have decided on the nutrients you need, the next step is to decide on the type of fertilizer.

Should you use organic fertilizer or inorganic fertilizer?

Growing the perfect lawn is an environmental issue as much as it is about beauty, ball sports, and barbecues.

That is why gardeners and lawn carers always ask about the difference between organic fertilizer and inorganic fertilizer.

Organic lawn fertilizer is made from 100% organic material, with fish being the preferred method.

It encourages the growth of earthworms and microbes, which makes it easier for plants to absorb nutrients.

Inorganic fertilizer, also known as chemical fertilizer or conventional lawn fertilizer, does the same thing, but the N-P-K measurements are more precise.

In terms of ecological impact, inorganic fertilizer is surprisingly better for the environment, according to the University of New Hampshire.

That’s because organic fertilizers tend to have more phosphorous than the soil needs.

In order to get enough nitrogen, you would need to apply more organic fertilizer, which means you’re also getting more phosphorus, which then leads to eh aforementioned surface water pollution.

If you want to use organic fertilizer, you should ideally do a soil test first. The only advantage of using organic fertilizers is that they tend to help the soil more than conventional fertilizers.

Whichever one you use, your lawn will absorb the nutrients the same way. The only difference in how your lawn looks will really depend on the delivery method.

The Two Types of Fertilizer

Dry fertilizers are delivered as granules. These pellets are usually applied with a spreader at the beginning of the planting or growing season.

On the other hand, liquid fertilizers are diluted in water before application. Most liquid fertilizers are in an easy-to-spray bottle, which you then attach to a garden hose, and the right quantity is mixed automatically.

Both organic fertilizer and chemical fertilizer can be in either form, although organic fertilizer is more commonly deployed as a liquid.

Unlike the argument for organic fertilizer and inorganic fertilizer, choosing between granular and liquid fertilizer can have a serious impact on your lawn. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Should you choose granular or liquid fertilizer?

There are loads of different factors you can choose to consider in trying to decide, but these are the five most important ones we use.


Depending on the dispersal method you use, granular fertilizer is applied 2 inches apart, thrown in random places, or planted in bands.

This means the granules aren’t next to every grass. On the other hand, liquid fertilizer requires you to spray your entire lawn evenly.

That means that liquid fertilizer yields more uniform delivery, which means every grass plant will get the same nutrients.

This reduces the risk of having patches in the lawn or rows of lighter green grass.

Ease of application

Most liquid fertilizers come in a bottle you can attach to a garden hose. This makes it quick and easy to apply.

On the other hand, granular fertilizers are usually applied with a spreader, which you need to walk around the lawn.


Because the macronutrients are in liquid form, they are a lot easier for the grass to absorb through their roots or blades, just like they would water.

On the other hand, granular fertilizer first needs to break down into the soil before the roots can absorb them.

The results from granular fertilizer usually take a couple of weeks, while liquid fertilizers can make your lawn noticeably greener and thicker in less than a week.

Frequency of application

This is where liquid fertilizers take a battering. Because the nutrients are absorbed quickly, you need to keep reapplying liquid lawn fertilizers throughout the summer.

That means every two to three weeks, you’ll be back on your lawn with the hose. Granular fertilizers might take a while to spread and absorb, but you only have to do this process every twelve weeks.

If, after three months, you like how your lawn is looking, you might not need to reapply until the next spring.


Because you only need to apply granular fertilizer once, it is considerably cheaper than liquid lawn fertilizer.

What makes it even worse is if you need to purchase a backpack applicator for the liquid fertilizer, which is usually the case for organic fertilizers.

How to Choose the Best Lawn Fertilizer for Spring

When it’s time to choose the right lawn food, you have to look beyond the overarching choices, like how organic it is or how the fertilizer looks.

What you should pay more attention to are these factors instead.


The first thing you need to consider is if you will be fertilizing your lawn in early spring or late spring.

While you can cheat with a few products and apply them at any time, you will get the best results when you use the appropriate lawn fertilizer for the period.

For example, you won’t get the best use from Pennington Ultragreen Weed & Feed if you apply it in early spring because the weeds won’t be out yet.

On the contrary, Miracle-Gro will yield better results if you start the cycles early.

Nutrient deficiency

The next thing you need to address is what your lawn actually needs. You can do this with a soil test or an eyeball test.

If you notice any yellowing, your lawn might be nitrogen and/or iron deficient. If the grass looks limp, it might be potassium deficiency.

And if it doesnt seem to be growing as quickly as before, it could be lacking phosphorous.

However, while the eyeball test could suggest what is lacking, it can’t tell you how much it’s lacking, i.e., what concentration of N-P-K you need.

Climatic conditions

Depending on where you live, you could have cold seasons of grass like bluegrass and fescues or warm season grass like St. Augustine.

That will eliminate some options. Of course, you could avoid any confusion by using a lawn fertilizer that works on all types of grass, like Just Scentsational or anything from Simple Lawn solutions.

Method of release

Granular fertilizer is the king of slow release. What this does is it reduces how often you need to reapply.

However, some liquid fertilizers such as Maximum Green and Growth have slow-release nitrogen, which means you don’t need to reapply this as often as you would most other liquid options.

The method of release will matter if you are treating certain problems on your lawn, such as grassy weeds, and you need time for the weedicide to work.

Bonus features

If you can’t tell, we love 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 fertilizers. These save you time and money from having to purchase and apply a separate weedicide or crabgrass blocker.

Usually, products that try to do too many things tend to fall short, but Scots Thicker Lawn defies the odds and delivers on every front.

Waiting for the Spring Light

Growing and maintaining a green lawn is no easy feat. However, it gets a lot easier when you have the right tools are your disposal, and it is our job to make it as easy as possible.

To do that end, we have the difficult task one having to pick just one best lawn fertilizer for spring, and that honor goes to Advanced 16-4-8 Balanced NPK.

This has everything your lawn could need, including organic materials, and can be applied easily with a hose. You can use it on any grass type, and it is made in the USA by a family business.

Now that you’ve found your lawn fertilizer check out our list of the best lawn mowers for under $250.