Lawn Feed That Actually Works
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Hello and welcome to DIY Gardening’s guide to lawn feed.
My name is Daniel Woodley, and I’m a keen gardener with a long history in landscaping, I also enjoy tending to my lawn and making the neighbours jealous 😉
Over the years, I’ve learnt how to grow and maintain a lush, green, healthy lawn, and on this page, I’ll show you which products I like and why I use them.
By choosing the right lawn feed, you can make a noticeable difference to your lawn; it will be healthier with fewer gaps for moss and weeds to grow, it will look greener, and it will feel soft under your feet.
5 Lawn Feed Products I Recommend For 2023:
Here are the 5 lawn feed products I recommend, I have used all of them in the last 3 years:
- Organic seaweed lawn feed (check price on Amazon).
- Slow-release lawn feed (check price on Amazon).
- Best “instant hit” lawn fertiliser (Check price on Amazon).
- The most effective product to “green up” a lawn (check price on Amazon).
- Best all-in-one feed (check price on Amazon).
Each lawn feed has its pros and cons, and you don’t need to buy each one, I usually have one or two in my shed at any one time.
Personally, I’m trying to move away from chemical-laden products. I have had success with organic products, so the concentrated seaweed lawn feed is currently my preferred choice, but it might not be the best product for you, so explore all 5 of my recommendations below:
Organic Seaweed Extract: I Used This Exclusively in 2020
My Experience and Quick Review
Update: My full review is here.
I used this lawn feed exclusively throughout 2020 when no other type of feed touched my lawn; not only was I delighted with the results, but I still had plenty left over for the following year.
This product contains concentrated seaweed extract, and it really made a difference to my lawn.
If you’ve never used seaweed extract before, here are the key points:
- I found that a tiny 10ml dose diluted with 5l of water was enough to treat 10-20 square metres of my lawn.
- I applied it every month and as you can see from my images above, the lawn grew thick, lush and healthy.
- Seaweed extract is a 100% organic lawn feed.
- It’s fortified with iron which “greened up” my lawn.
- The manufacturer has added plant-based amino acids to strengthen the grass.
- It’s liquid-based and comes in a resealable bottle, so I didn’t need to worry about granules or powder getting wet or spillages.
- The bottle is made from 100% sea plastic, and I liked the built-in measuring chamber which was easy to use (I just squeezed the bottle until the chamber was full).
I’m trying to reduce the number of harsh chemicals I use in my garden, and seaweed extract is much more environmentally friendly than many of the chemical-soup products on the market, but is it for you?
Here’s what I like and dislike about this lawn feed:
What I Liked
- It’s highly concentrated, and I used it every month and still had plenty left over at the end of the year.
- It’s organic.
- It didn’t damage my grass, and I doubt an accidental overdose would either.
- I liked how easy it was to mix the product, unlike many products that contain granules or powders.
- I used it in a watering can, and it didn’t block the rose (unlike powder-based feeds).
- The 1-litre bottle has a measuring chamber at the top (see photo above), and I found it a 100% accurate, fool-proof and safe way to measure the dosage.
- The bottle is no larger than it needs to be and is made from recycled sea plastic (this is important to me, but I accept it might not be to you).
What I Disliked
- The larger bottles don’t have a measuring chamber, so it isn’t easy to get exactly the right amount of lawn feed from them.
- The ratio of NPK (that’s Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) isn’t perfect, but I’ve found this is a compromise with most organic lawn feeds.
- I found it a little weak compared to some of the chemical-laden alternatives out there, so it needs to be applied monthly or every 3 weeks, which could be an issue for the busy gardener with a large lawn.
Photos of My Lawn in 2020
My lawn is far from ideal, it’s in a shaded garden, and I have large trees nearby with roots that consume all the nutrients in the soil, yet I still managed to get a respectable lawn by choosing this shade-tolerant grass seed and by using this seaweed lawn feed.
Here are some photos from 2020.
(Click to expand)
Best Slow Release Lawn Feed:
My Review of Moowy
In 2021 I ditched the organic seaweed feed and used Moowy slow-release granules for the first time.
I wanted to know if a slow-release product that is supposed to last 3 months was any good.
Here’s what I found when I tested Moowy’s Lawn Feed:
- The granules were slow to dissolve, and as I wasn’t watering the lawn so much, they persisted on the surface for well over a month.
- I could see the granules as they’re made from bright colours (see the photo of my hand above).
- I reapplied them after 2 months, not 3 months as suggested by the manufacturer.
- They fed the lawn well, which looked lush and I didn’t need to use any other products.
Are slow-release granules right for you?
They don’t hit the grass with a sudden jolt of feed, but they release the food over 60 or so days, so they are best used as a lawn maintenance product for busy gardeners or those with huge gardens.
Personally, I’m not too fond of the idea of having granules sitting on my lawn for months, but the manufacturer claims they are safe for children and pets but I’m not so sure.
Fortunately, my dog doesn’t come onto this lawn and I don’t have children here either.
What I Liked
- The resealable bag means the contents won’t get spoiled by moisture (an issue I’ve had with Miracle-Gro in the past).
- The slow-release formula meant my lawn didn’t get a sudden hit of feed, and I didn’t need to mow or strim it ridiculously often because it was growing like crazy (yes, that’s another issue I’ve had with Miracle-Gro in the past).
- I feel this product is good for the lazy or busy gardener who wants to put down a lawn feed and forget it for 2-3 months.
- It would suit larger lawns that are a pain to feed with liquid fertilisers.
- The NPK ratio is stronger than the organic seaweed feed I used last year.
What I Disliked
- The granules lingered around on my lawn.
- It didn’t give my grass an instant hit, which is what some gardeners look for in a lawn feed.
- The smaller bags work out expensive per square metre treated.
- It doesn’t come with a spreader, so I had to guess the dose by using my hands, which isn’t ideal or accurate.
- The ratio of NPK (that’s Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) is better than the organic seaweed extract, but it’s high in potassium and I’m trying to reduce the amount of this in my garden.
- There are comparable products that are cheaper, and they contain a moss killer and/or a weedkiller, so for the really lazy gardener, there are other more complete products to choose from.
Best For: When Your Lawn Needs and Instant Hit
Ideal For Emergencies
Update: Read my full review here.
Despite having used Miracle-Gro many times in the past, I decided to buy a pack in 2022 and see what effect it had on my lawn.
Given my experience, the high nitrogen content and the soluble nature of the product, I knew what was coming, but here are the results:
- My lawn immediately started growing more quickly.
- I had to mow it twice as often.
- It “greened up” quickly.
- I managed to spill it over my hands as the packaging is so awful (I know, I should wear gloves).
- The grass didn’t grow thicker, just longer.
While I can’t prove that it negatively affected root growth, I know that such high nitrogen concentrations cause plants to grow leggy and don’t do much for root development.
I do feel that this product would suit someone who wants to give their lawn a sudden jolt of feed and a strong boost, but I don’t think it’s great for regular use unless you enjoy mowing your lawn 3 times a week.
What I Liked
- The fastest absorption rate of any lawn feed.
- Dissolves instantly in water.
- The high nitrogen content encourages fast top growth.
- The nitrogen and chelated iron produce a lush green colour.
- In my test, I saw a difference in around 7 days.
- Miracle-Gro Lawn Feed has one of the highest ratings of any lawn feed online, with thousands of reviews.
What I Disliked
- I hate the plastic bags that this lawn feed comes in; they aren’t resealable, the powder goes everywhere, and if moisture gets in the bag, the product is ruined (which happened to me).
- Such products are wasteful because much of the lawn feed will get washed away with the rain, and with it being high-dose, that isn’t good for the environment.
- It contains a very high dose of nitrogen which caused my grass to grow very leggy and I had to mow it far more often to keep it looking neat.
- It clogged my fine watering can rose.
Best Feed For Greener Grass
Update: Read my review of iron sulphate for lawns.
I’ve used iron sulphate dozens of times to:
- Green up the lawn.
- Strengthen the grass.
- Improve disease resistance.
Here are the dosages I used:
100g per 100 sq mtrs: This effectively “greened up” my lawn.
150-200g per 100 sq mtrs: I found this dosage is perfect for disease resistance and toughening up the lawn.
400g per 100 sq mtrs: At this level, it killed the moss growing in the lawns I used it on, but I must warn you that at this dose, it should only be used on cool weather days, ideally outside of summer.
Iron sulphate should also be heavily diluted with water.
What I Liked
- It contains a fast-acting dissolvable powder that didn’t block my watering can.
- It turned my lawn an emerald green colour.
- The plastic tub is resealable, so no wastage.
- At higher doses, it killed lawn moss too.
- Apply wet
- It can also be used in late autumn to prepare the lawn for winter.
- A 2.5kg tub covers up to 2500㎡
What I Disliked
- If you spill this on your patio or carpet, it will stain it and won’t come off; I’ve seen this before.
- It’s easy to overdose and scorch your lawn; I’ve also seen this before.
- Iron sulphate will kill lawn moss, but it turns it black, which looks awful. There are better moss killer products that won’t ruin the appearance of the lawn.
- The tub lacks accurate information on dosages for various usages.
The Best All-in-One Lawn Feed (and why I won’t use it)
For Lazy/Busy Gardeners
I feel I need to add a little disclaimer here; I stopped using all-in-one lawn feeds about 5 years ago.
A couple of reasons:
- Because they contain chemicals I don’t need.
- Much of the content is diluted and weak.
For example, my lawn is now moss free, so I don’t need a product with a moss-killing additive; that would just be wasteful.
I also know that the weed and moss killer in many of these products is weak and, while great at preventing weeds/moss, won’t do much to kill off an infestation.
That said, all-in-one products can be beneficial to:
- Those that don’t want to buy lots of different products to treat different weeds and mosses etc.
- The lazy gardener.
- Those that want to maintain a lawn that doesn’t have any issues.
I’ve done a load of research on all-in-one lawn feeds, and I feel that AfterCut 4-in-1 is the best product.
I’ve based this on:
- The percentage of 4 and 5 star online reviews compared to competing products.
- The percentage and nature of the negative reviews (mostly transit damage, moss turning black or grass damage from overdosing).
- The type of weedkiller in the mix (AfterCut contains three weedkillers; 2,4-D, Mecoprop-P and Dicamba, while many competing products only have two in their mixes).
- The inclusion of moss-killing iron in the mix.
- The packaging and the clarity of the instructions.
There are alternative, comparable products such as Evergreen Complete, Greenforce Triple Action and Vitax All-In-One. However, I feel Aftercut is the best of this bunch based on my analysis.
Based on my experience and testing over the years, I can only recommend all-in-one lawn feed products to those with a great lawn who want to maintain it. If you have lawn problems, I suggest you buy a stronger, dedicated product.
Lawn Feed FAQs:
Why Should I Trust Your Recommendations?
Apart from the all-in-one lawn feed, I have tried every product on this page, and many of the photos were taken by me or were of my lawn.
I have spent many hours looking at the ingredients in each product, exploring competing products, reading expert publications and analysing negative online reviews to save you time and hassle.
I also have many years of experience in gardening at both a personal and professional level and I hold a qualification in landscape gardening.
I believe the 5 products on this page are the best lawn feeds currently on sale.
Do I Really Need to Use a Lawn Feed?
Grass will survive without any lawn feed, but it may become susceptible to drought and disease, and I’ve found this is when weeds and moss start to take over. A good lawn feed product and a bit of love and attention can do wonders for any lawn and is essential if you want a perfect lawn.
What Are The Most Environmentally Friendly Options?
The most environmentally friendly option is to cut the grass frequently and leave the short grass cuttings on the lawn, where they will decompose into a natural feed for the lawn. You can complement this with an organic lawn feed such as the seaweed extract I recommend.
You can also buy rainwater storage barrels so you can catch rainwater from your roof gutters and use this to water your lawn rather than using tap water.
Are Lawn Feeds Pet and Child Safe?
Always check the label for each product, but in general, these lawn feeds are safe once the surface has dried. The seaweed extract is safe even when wet, but out of caution, it would be best to allow the lawn to dry before use.
I have my doubts about the safety of granules that could get caught between toes or swallowed by a child or pet.
What If I Use Too Much Lawn Feed by Mistake?
I would water the lawn as much as possible as quickly as possible to dilute it but you may need to overseed the affected area and water that regularly until the lawn has recovered.
When Should Lawn Feeds Be Applied?
Most lawn feeds should be applied during the growing season, which runs from spring through to autumn.
For late autumn and winter, try a dedicated autumn lawn feed fertiliser.
I’ve found that iron sulphate, or any product that contains lots of it, is best applied outside of the hot summer months as iron and sunlight can scorch the grass.
Meet The Author: Daniel Woodley
Daniel has over 18 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, and landscape garden industries.
He previously worked as a project manager and has experience in managing teams of tradespeople and landscape gardeners on both small and medium sized projects.
Daniel is also a keen gardener and enjoys growing unusual plants and tending to his lawn.
Why You Can Trust Us: Our Experience, Backed by a Qualified Horticulturist
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1) We select a topic that we feel will help our readers.
2) The author creates the content based on their knowledge and experience of the subject. In this case, Daniel Woodley tested products and provided several photos to back up key points.
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This guide was reviewed and fact-checked by Elizabeth Smith, who is a qualified horticulturist.
Explore: Elizabeth’s profile and qualifications.
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