Lawn Feed That Actually Works
The Best Lawn Feeds in 2021
Tested by Daniel Woodley at DIY Gardening
Hello and welcome to DIY Gardening’s guide to lawn feed.
My name is Daniel Woodley, and I’m a keen gardener who enjoys tending to his 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 will feel soft under your feet.
5 Products I Recommend For 2021:
Here are the 5 lawn feed products I recommend:
- Looking for an organic lawn feed? This is what I’m currently using on my lawn (check price on Amazon).
- There are many benefits to slow-release lawn feeds, this is the best one I’ve tried (check price on Amazon).
- This is the best “instant hit” lawn feed for quick results (Check price on Amazon).
- Want to “green up” your lawn? You need iron sulphate and this cheap tub covers 2500㎡ (check price on Amazon).
- Are you a lazy gardener? This all-in-one feed, moss remover and weedkiller could be for you (check price on Amazon).
Each lawn feed has its pros and cons, and you don’t need to buy each one, just choose a product that best suits your garden your preferences.
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
Concentrated and Safe
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’ve still got plenty left over for this year.
This product contains concentrated seaweed extract, and it really made a difference.
If you’ve never used seaweed extract before, here are the key points:
- A tiny 10ml can be diluted with 5l of water to produce enough feed to treat 10-20 square metres of lawn.
- You should apply monthly from spring until autumn.
- Seaweed extract is a 100% organic lawn feed.
- It’s fortified with iron to green up the lawn.
- The manufacturer has added plant-based amino acids to strengthen the grass.
- It’s liquid-based and comes in a resealable bottle, so you won’t need to worry about granules or powder getting wet or spillages.
- The bottle is made from 100% sea plastic, and as this is a highly concentrated product, there is very little waste.
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 an overview of the pros and cons:
- You get a lot of product for your money, and it goes a long way as it’s highly concentrated.
- Won’t kill your grass if you put down too much by mistake.
- No granules or powders; the liquid dilutes instantly.
- Use in watering cans or sprayers.
- The 1-litre bottle has a measuring chamber at the top (see photo) of the bottle; just squeeze the bottle until the chamber is full; you now have the exact amount of lawn feed you need. It’s impossible to overdose your watering can with this bottle; it’s fool proof.
- 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).
- If you spill it on your clothes or patio before dilution, it will stain.
- The 5-litre bottle doesn’t have a measuring chamber, so it isn’t easy to get exactly the right amount of lawn feed from it.
- The ratio of NPK (that’s Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) isn’t perfect, but this is a compromise with most organic lawn feeds.
- It’s a little weak compared to some of the chemical-laden alternatives out there, so it needs to be applied monthly, which could be an issue for the busy gardener with a large lawn.
Photos of My Lawn in 2020
My garden is far from ideal, it’s shaded, 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 using seaweed lawn feed.
Here are some photos from last year.
(Click to expand)
Best Slow Release Lawn Feed:
Ideal For Busy Gardeners or Large Lawns
I used to tend to a large residential lawn, and using a liquid feed just wasn’t practical as the area was so vast, and it was absorbed so quickly by the grass that it needed to be reapplied every month.
Instead, my team and I used slow-release lawn feed granules, and Moowy is a good product, although a little on the pricey side.
All you need to do is sprinkle the granules evenly over the lawn, ideally just before a rainy day, and then sit back and let it feed your lawn.
The granules in this product will gradually release the feed over 90 days, meaning you don’t have to apply the product again for another 3 months.
Comparing this product to the seaweed lawn feed, I found the NPK ratio to be far more favourable, and as these granules release the feed slowly, there is only a slight risk that you might burn the lawn, but only if you overdose by a factor of 3!
Moowy lawn feed is sold in 4 sizes, and each covers a specific amount of lawn:
- 50㎡ is ideal for those with a small lawn or those that want to try the product first before investing in a large bag.
- 100㎡ and 200㎡ offer more value for money.
- 400㎡ offers the best value, and you can make a significant saving by purchasing their largest bag.
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 90 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.
- The resealable bag means the contents won’t get spoiled by moisture (an issue I’ve had with Miracle Grow in the past).
- The slow-release formula means your lawn won’t get a sudden hit of feed, and you won’t need to mow it ridiculously often because it’s growing like crazy.
- This is a good product for the lazy or busy gardener who wants to put down a lawn feed and forget it for 3 months.
- Suitable for very large lawns.
- The NPK ratio is stronger than the seaweed feed.
- 90 days is a long time for the granules to dissolve. This tells me the manufacturer has included an addictive to make slow-release *really* slow (this could be both a positive and a negative depending on your expectations).
- It won’t give your lawn an instant hit, so it might not be suited to lawns that need a quick boost for the summer.
- The smaller bags are expensive, and it’s a shame that those with small gardens must pay significantly more per square metre of product.
- It doesn’t come with a spreader, so you’ll have to buy one or guess the dose by using your hands, which isn’t ideal.
- The ratio of NPK (that’s Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) is better than the seaweed extract, but it’s high in potassium compared to many other brands, I’m trying to reduce the amount of potassium I use in the garden, so this isn’t great for me.
- 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.
The Best “Instant Hit” Lawn Feed
Ideal For Emergencies
If you want to dose your lawn with an instant hit of high-strength lawn feed, then forget slow-release granules and organic seaweed.
What you need is a soluble product with a favourable NPK ratio.
I’m not a huge fan of these ultra-high-strength products as I know most of the lawn feed gets washed away with the rain, and they’re not great for the environment, but there are occasions when one may want to give their lawn a jolt of feed:
- You’ve seriously neglected the lawn and want to rescue it as soon as possible.
- You have a social event coming up, and you want to impress your guests.
- The lawn is stressed from the weather, and you want to give it an instant boost to get it going again.
My recommendation is Miracle Grow Lawn Feed; I know this product works well because I used it a few years ago before becoming more conscious of harsh chemicals and wastefulness.
I have a few issues with Miracle Grow, so read the pros and cons:
- The fastest absorption rate of any lawn feed.
- Dissolves instantly in water, won’t clog watering cans or sprayers.
- The high nitrogen content encourages fast top growth.
- The nitrogen and chelated iron produce a lush green colour.
- You could see a difference in as little as 5 days.
- Miracle Grow Lawn Feed has one the highest ratings of any lawn feed on Amazon, with nearly 3000 reviews.
- I hate the plastic bags that this lawn feed comes in; they aren’t resealable, the powder gets everywhere, and if moisture gets in the bag, the product is ruined (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 can cause the grass to get very leggy at the expense of root development. That means you’ll need to mow the grass very often after applying this feed.
Best Lawn Feed For Greener Grass
Ideal For Those Who Want a Greener Lawn
Occasionally, a gardener may want to “green up” their lawn, but they don’t want to make it grow like crazy.
High-dose soluble lawn feed mixtures can cause the grass to grow so vigorously that the gardener may need to cut it twice as often to keep it looking neat.
Iron is the best product to use in this situation. It causes the grass to grow a much deeper shade of green; some describe the colour as emerald green. It also kills off any moss that might be growing in the lawn.
Be warned, though; if you have lots of moss in your lawn, it will kill it all and turn it black. You could end up with a black lawn!
You should use iron sparingly, but it works very well on healthy lawns where the gardener just wants to green it up.
The product I recommend is a fine powder that is easily dissolved and is perfect for use on lawns.
- Fast-acting powder.
- Achieve a desirable emerald green lawn.
- Plastic resealable tub so no wastage.
- Kills lawn moss too.
- Apply wet or dry.
- Can also be used in the autumn to prepare the lawn for winter.
- A 2.5kg tub covers a vast 2500㎡
- If you spill this on your patio, it will stain it and won’t come off.
- It’s easy to overdose and scorch your lawn.
- 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 information on dosages for various usages (for greening, mix 1-2 grams per litre of water).
The Best All-in-One Lawn Feed (and why I won’t use it)
Best Suited To Problematic Lawns
I feel I need to add a little disclaimer here; I stopped using all-in-one lawn feeds about 5 years ago.
Because they contain chemicals I don’t need.
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 weedkiller in many of these products will kill the most common weeds but not all of them.
If I see weeds in my lawn, I pull them out manually, and if I have an infestation, I’ll look up what weed it is and find a product that targets that particular species.
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.
- Anyone that wants a quick fix for moss, weeds and unhealthy lawns.
- Neglected lawns that have lots of problems.
- The lazy gardener.
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 Amazon 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 and strength 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 quantity 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 the bunch based on my analysis, and I would choose their product if I wanted an all-in-one feed, especially of I had lots of different weeds in my lawn.
My major issue with this product is it doesn’t come with a spreader which you’ll have to buy separately.
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 Amazon 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 this 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.
What If I Use Too Much Lawn Feed by Mistake?
You can use a sprinkler to dilute the feed on the lawn, but it might be too late. The lawn may turn a brown colour which is a sign that it is burnt. You may need to overseed the affected area and water regularly until the lawn has recovered.
When Should Lawn Feeds Be Applied?
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 such as this.
More From Daniel Woodley:
I really hope you found my guide to lawn feed helpful. I’ve reduced my reliance on chemical-laden products significantly in recent years, and I hope you can too.
My preferred product is the seaweed extract and I also leave my grass clippings on the lawn as they breakdown into feed.
You can find out more about me and discover more of my content via my profile page:
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