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Lawn feed

Buying Lawn Feed

Feeding a healthy lawn

Feeding helps keep a lawn healthy throughout the year

Feeding your lawn helps the grass stay healthy, lush and green throughout the year. Choosing the right lawn fertiliser will help get the results you want.

This guide explains what types of lawn feeds are available, why you would choose one type over another and when you should feed your lawn. We'll also tell you where you can buy lawn feed online.

What products are there?

There are many types of lawn feed, or 'lawn fertiliser', to choose from. Having so many brands with similar and competing products can make understanding what is available seem complex at first, but asking a few simple questions narrows down your choice very quickly.

The main question when buying lawn feed is whether you want a slow or a quick releasing lawn feed? Quick releasing lawn feeds provide quick, shorter lasting results. Slow releasing fertilisers are slower to take effect but will provide nutrients to your lawn for longer.

Autumn lawn feed

Fertilisers are available
for specific seasons

The next choice is whether you want a chemical (inorganic) lawn feed or an organic lawn feed. Chemical fertilizers are manufactured whereas organics are produced using organic material such as fish blood and bone. While there are differences between them, for a lot of gardeners this choice comes down to personal preference.

You can also choose whether you want your fertiliser as a liquid, a powder or in granules and decide if you want a specialist fertiliser or a weed and feed product. There are even products available for use at specific times of the year, either spring or autumn.

Lawn fertilisers come in granules, powders and liquids. Liquids and water soluble powders are generally taken up by the grass more quickly but may be washed away if you fertilise just before a rainy spell. Again, the slower initial results of the non-water soluble feeds are balanced by the benefit of feeding your lawn for a longer period.

Visit the lawn feed section of the Grows on You garden centre to compare products and prices from different retailers.

When should I feed my lawn?

The answer to this question depends on the results you want and how much time and effort you want to spend maintaining your lawn. Most feeds can be applied any time from late March to September but feeding at the right time will give better results.

April and May are ideal months for a spring feed

If you want to fertilise once a year and forget about it the best time to feed your lawn is in the warm spring months; ideally in April but wait until May if there's still a risk of wintery conditions. This will give your lawn a good start to the summer season and using a slow releasing fertiliser will provide nutrients over the summer months.

The reason for waiting until cold has passed is that feeding your lawn stimulates tender new growth, exposure to frost will damage this new growth and may cause worse results at the start of the year than if you hadn't fed your lawn in the first place. If you miss the spring feed, early summer and early autumn are fine too but avoid extreme heat if you are feeding in the hotter months – and always ensure your lawn is not suffering from drought .

If you want to give your lawn a quick pick up for a special occasion like a garden party or open garden then feeding it a week or two before hand will give quick releasing feeds time to do their work and you should see a difference within a few days. Beware: If your lawn is suffering from drought you shouldn't apply any feed.

For a thoroughly maintained lawn it is recommended to feed in both in spring and autumn and you can buy products specifically for each. The spring feed should be in April or May and the autumn feed in September. The same rules apply as for feeding at other times: avoid applying feed in times of drought and when there is risk of particularly cold weather.

Slow or quick releasing lawn feed?

Slow releasing lawn feeds are slower to take effect than quick releasing feeds but continually feed your lawn over a prolonged period meaning the results last much longer. Although they cost more, slow release feeds are the best option in most situations other than giving your lawn a quick pick-me-up and are worth paying the extra.

Quick releasing lawn feeds come in liquid or water soluble form which makes them more easily absorbed by the grass and quicker acting. They're cheaper than slow releasing feeds but the effects are shorter lived which makes them more suited for when you need fast results. One drawback of liquid and water soluble fertilisers is they're easily washed away by rain, don't use them if heavy rain is forecast as it's likely to waste your time and money.

Organic or chemical lawn feed?

For many gardeners, choosing whether to use an organic lawn fertiliser or a chemical (also called 'inorganic') lawn fertiliser is a personal preference; one that is most likely reflected in all their gardening. If you have strong feelings either way on the organic vs chemical debate then just go with your feelings: there are differences between the lawn feeds but you'll get results from both types.

Chemical lawn feeds are manufactured meaning there is more control over the nutrients in these fertilisers; this has led to a wider selection of products with various chemical balances for specific purposes. Chemical lawn feeds tend to show results more quickly than organic ones but the effects of an organic lawn feed will last longer.

All quick release lawn feeds for giving your lawn a quick pick-me-up will be chemical rather than organic.

Organic lawn feed

Organic lawn feed
can be difficult to find

Organic fertilisers need to be broken down by microbes in the soil before they can be taken up and used by the grass. This means they are slower to start acting on the grass but because the break down takes time they 'drip feed' your lawn over a longer period.

Organic lawn feeds also contain a wider range of nutrients which are returned to the soil; these won't necessarily make an obvious difference to your lawn but over a period of years will help maintain healthier soil. Organic lawn feeds are more difficult to find than chemical ones and you'll find there is a smaller range of organic fertlisers to choose from.

Care should be taken when applying either type of lawn fertiliser but with chemical lawn feed there is a risk of causing salt burn by applying too much. Ensure you follow application instructions and don't feed when the grass is dehydrated to avoid salt burn.

Liquid vs Granules

To some extent, whether you want a slow or fast releasing lawn feed will dictate whether you want a liquid or granules. Liquids and water soluble powders are generally quick releasing and granules slow releasing.

Liquid and water soluble lawn feeds are chemical fertilisers and are ideal for quick results as they can be absorbed and used immediately by grass. They're applied using a watering can or a special spray gun which makes them easier to apply than granules. Take care to avoid heavy forecast rain: liquid feeds are easily washed away, wasting your time and money.

A manually pulled lawn feed spreader

A spreader saves a lot of time for all but the smallest lawn

Granules are usually slow releasing and can be applied by manual sprinkling or using a special spreader. Manually spreading granules can be very time consuming and requires you to divide your lawn into sections to ensure it is evenly spread.

Some products come in packaging that acts as a sprinkler but investing in a proper spreader will give you a more even application and is likely to save you a lot of time. For lawns of any notable size a spreader is really a necessary purchase and they're available from around £15.

Weed & feed or just feed?

The only alternative to using a chemical weed killer on your lawn is to weed it yourself so the question of organic vs chemical treatments may determine whether you use a weed killer at all.

If your lawn needs weeding and you are going to use a weed killer, a weed & feed product is a good idea. Feeding your lawn at the same time as you remove a lot of weeds will encourage the grass to grow and populate the bare patches left by the weeds. Ensuring bare patches don't stay bare will help prevent weeds from seeding there in the future and reduce your ongoing maintenance.

How much lawn feed should I buy?

This obviously depends on the size of your lawn, and a pack of fertiliser will tell you the area that it will treat, most give a figure in square metres. Don't think you can buy a specific weight packet for a given area; different types of fertiliser come in different concentrations so you may need a much smaller amount of one fertiliser than you would of another.

Alternatives to lawn feed

The cheapest and simplest alternative to buying lawn feed is to leave some grass cuttings on the lawn. So long as you only leave a thin covering (not all your clippings) worms will return the nutrients from the cut grass to the soil. You can buy special mulching lawn mowers which cut grass finer than normal mowers so it can be broken down even quicker.

A drastic measure if your lawn is in need of care is to either re-seed your lawn or to lay turf. Both of these require a lot of work and you should still use a fertiliser. There are products specifically for new lawns and once you've gone to all that effort, you'll want to look after it by feeding regularly.

Where to buy lawn feed

Websites selling lawn feed online
What we think
Rolawn logo

Rolawn direct sell their own range of lawn feeds. They make choosing a fertiliser simple, with specific products for spring, autumn, all year round and fertilisers especially for new lawns.

Visit Rolawn
Green Fingers logo

Green Fingers sell a range including an Evergreen organic lawn feed and one that comes packaged in it's own spreader.

Visit Green Fingers
Crocus logo

Crocus sell a small range of Scotts Evergreen lawn feed which includes weed and moss killing products.

Visit Crocus
Harrod Horticultural logo

Harrod Horticultural sell a purely organic (but limited) selection of lawn fertilisers.

Visit Crocus

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