Best Nitrogen Fertilizers For Lawns: Why and How to Use Them

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Quick Answer: Best Nitrogen Fertilizers For Lawns

Nitrogen fertilizers are preferable for giving vibrant color and promoting the lush growth of lawns. Different inorganic fertilizers, including urea, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium sulfate can be used to provide nitrogen to the lawn. The high-nitrogen organic fertilizers, including blood meal, fish emulsion, cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, and feather meal can be used for lawns.

In this guide, I will assist you to choose the appropriate nitrogen fertilizers for your lawn.

I have spent hours of research referring to many articles and books to compile all the necessary information.

Continue reading for further information!

Best Nitrogen Fertilizers Types For Lawns

Lawn fertilizers consist of three essential nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for strong growth. The most important fertilizers are high-nitrogen fertilizers for lawns.

Nitrogen is responsible for the healthy blade development and green appearance of lawns. It is a constituent of chlorophyll and is required during the early reproductive stages.

The high-nitrogen fertilizers can be used if the lawn is growing more slowly or shows stunted growth.

There are both inorganic and organic nitrogen fertilizers available in the market. Also, it may be fast-release or controlled-release nitrogen.

Fast-release nitrogen fertilizers provide nitrogen when soils are cold and give a quick response. The controlled release provides uniform grass growth. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages.

You may watch this useful video for tips on using nitrogen fertilizers:

Now, let us each of the nitrogen fertilizers for lawns in detail.

Best Inorganic Nitrogen Fertilizers For Lawns

Chemical nitrogen fertilizers are made from processed minerals that help to quick greening of the lawn. It is water-soluble and produces quick results. However, it may burn the grass or undesirable large flush of grass if over-applied.

Here are a few inorganic nitrogen fertilizers that are suitable for lawns:

1. Urea Fertilizer For Lawns

Urea fertilizer is a synthetic fast-release nitrogen fertilizer that can be used to make lawns greener by providing nitrogen. It also helps the grass free from diseases and resistant to pests.

It is a fast-release fertilizer that releases nitrogen immediately to plants. It also helps the grass free from diseases and resistant to pests.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the application rate– Read the manufacturer’s instructions and determine the application rate.
  2. Spread the urea across the soil– Sprinkle the pellets by hand across your soil. Water the soil well.

Check out this video for applying urea fertilizer:

Pros And Cons

Urea fertilizers can be used to provide the plants with nitrogen to promote the lush growth of the lawn. It is cost-effective and is widely available in garden centers. But, too much use of urea can harm the grass.

2. Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer For Lawns

Ammonium nitrate is another synthetic fertilizer that can be used to provide nitrogen to lawn grasses in an easily accessible form.

It can be applied at one-month intervals during the growing season as ammonium nitrate is only accessible to plants for two or four weeks.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Calculate the fertilizer needs– Perform a soil test and determine the fertilizer needs according to the size of the lawn.
  2. Apply the fertilizer– Fill the spreader with the fertilizer and apply them over the lawn. Spread it evenly over the lawn. Water the lawn lightly after the application.

Pros And Cons

Ammonium nitrate provides a steady supply of nitrogen for lawns. It has various application methods, including broadcast spreading or foliar application. It stimulates root development.

3. Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer For Lawns

Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is a water-soluble fertilizer that can be applied to lawns as a top dressing to provide nitrogen. It is recommended to use one lb of ammonium sulfate per 1000 square feet of the lawn during the growth season.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Perform a soil test– Perform a soil test and determine the nutritional deficiencies. Calculate the amount of fertilizer required according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Apply ammonium sulfate on the lawn- Add one lb of ammonium sulfate to five gallons of water and dissolve. Apply the fertilizer so that one lb is used for 1000 sq ft. Water the lawn to prevent the grass from burning.

Pros And Cons

Ammonium sulfate provides readily available nitrogen and helps to green up quickly. It is relatively inexpensive. Like other nitrogen fertilizers, avoid its excessive use.

Best Organic Nitrogen Fertilizers For Lawns

The organic nitrogen fertilizer is made from natural plant and animal sources. It helps in providing nutrients, improving drainage, aeration, and promoting beneficial microbes in the soil. It doesn’t pollute the environment and harm aquatic habitats.

Here are a few organic nitrogen fertilizers that work well for lawns:

1. Blood Meal For Lawns

Blood meal is a dried and powdered form of animal blood sourced from different slaughterhouses. It is a fast-acting organic nitrogen fertilizer that provides a steady supply of nitrogen for a long period.

Use it sparingly according to the manufacturer’s instructions or can be mixed into compost.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the application rate– Check the packaging for recommended application rate.
  2. Apply the blood meal– Apply the blood meal evenly across your lawn using a spreader. Water the lawn to prevent it from sitting on the grass blades.

Check out this video for the benefits of using blood meal:

Pros And Cons

Blood meal can be used to promote the lush growth of grass due to its high nitrogen content. Excessive amounts can cause burning of the grass. It will repel deer, rabbits, and moles due to its strong smell.

2. Fish Emulsion For Lawns

Fish emulsion is a quick-acting organic fertilizer made from byproducts of the fish industry. It is a thick concentrate rich in nitrogen.

It has a strong fishy odor and can be added to the lawn after dilution.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Dilute the fish emulsion– Add ½ ounce or two tablespoons of fish emulsion concentration in a gallon of water. Mix well.
  2. Apply the diluted fish emulsion– Spray the diluted emulsion evenly over the lawn. Lightly water the lawn to help the fertilizer penetrate the soil. You may reapply if the frequency is working.

Here is a video for tips on using fish fertilizers:

Pros And Cons

Fish emulsion can be used as a lawn fertilizer for promoting the lush growth of grass due to its higher nitrogen content. It also increases soil fertilizer. Avoid overuse as it may cause nitrogen burn and affect growth.

3. Feather Meal For Lawns

Feather meal is an organic fertilizer that is a rich source of nitrogen. It is a dried powder produced from feathers from poultry animals harvested from meat.

It can be incorporated into the soil before planting or side-dressing throughout the growing season.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the application rate– Check the packaging of the feather meal for recommended rate and determine the amount required per square foot.
  2. Apply the fertilizer- Sprinkle the feather meal over the lawn. You may use a spreader to evenly spread the fertilizer. Water the lawn lightly to settle the fertilizer into the soil.

Here is a video on using feather meal for lawns:

Pros And Cons

Feather meal provides a slow release of nitrogen for the lawn. It can also be added to the compost to provide a source of nitrogen.

Also, it can be used to improve soil structure. Pay attention as it may burn your grass if over-applied.

4. Alfalfa Meal For Lawns

Alfalfa meal is rich in nitrogen and contains trace elements that can be used on the lawn. It is a natural fertilizer made from dried and fermented alfalfa plants.

It is airy and earthy that can be added to the compost pile.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Determine the application rate– Read the manufacturer’s instructions and determine the application rate.
  2. Apply the fertilizer– Apply the fertilizer over the lawn and spread it evenly throughout the lawn. Avoid concentration of fertilizer over a particular area. Water the lawn and reapply as directed.

You may watch this video for the benefits of alfalfa meal:

Pros And Cons

Alfalfa meal helps to provide nutrients and benefits the overall health of the lawn. It also helps improve soil structure and promotes microbial activity.

5. Cottonseed Meal For Lawns

Another nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer that can be used to slow-release nitrogen to the lawn is cottonseed meal. It also feeds potash, phosphorus, and other minor nutrients over a long period.

It is safe to use and doesn’t cause foliage burn.

How to Use/Apply?

  1. Apply the cottonseed meal- Apply 3/4 of the cottonseed meal over the graded area of the lawn. It may be used about 4 to 5 pounds per 100 square feet if the soil is extremely sad.
  2. Work into the lawn– Spread and work into the soil. Water well.

Check out this video for additional information on using cottonseed meal:

Pros And Cons

Cottonseed meal is perfect for lawn care due to the slow release of nutrients over time. Also, it helps in improving soil density and aid in water retention.

When And How Often Do I Fertilize The Lawn With Nitrogen Fertilizer?

The lawn fertilizing schedule using a nitrogen fertilizer will depend on the type of grass. It is preferably added in spring and summer.

The recommended rate of nitrogen for lawns is one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. The preferable NPK ratio is 3:1:2 or 4:1:2.

The cool-season grasses are fertilized in the spring and fall. It prefers 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

The warm-season grass requires 3-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per year. Organic fertilizer can be applied at least once a year.

Avoid applying nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the lawn is dormant. Also, don’t fertilize during a drought or after a rainstorm.

Liquid Vs Granular Nitrogen Fertilizer For Lawn: Which is Better?

Both liquid and granular fertilizers are available for the lush growth of lawns.

Liquid nitrogen fertilizers are available as water-soluble powders that can be dissolved or as liquid. It can be applied by spraying them over the lawn.

It is easy to apply and is fast-acting. However, the results are not long-lasting.

Granular nitrogen fertilizers are made of granules that can be applied to the lawn with a fertilizer spreader. Water the lawn immediately to let the granules incorporate into the soil.

It releases nutrients slowly and so, doesn’t require frequent application. But, it may sit on the surface level and increases the risk of the evaporation of the volatile compounds.


When to avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers?

Heavy nitrogen fertilizer is not recommended during all stages of growth. It is preferred during the early reproductive stages. Similarly, if the soil test shows excess nitrogen in the soil, avoid using nitrogen-heavy fertilizers. Else, it may cause lawn burn.

What are the controlled-release nitrogen fertilizers?

Controlled-release nitrogen fertilizers are used for more uniform grass growth. It includes ureaform, sulfur-coated urea, water-insoluble nitrogen, and IBDU. It is not likely to burn grass or less likely to lose through soil or air. But, it can e expensive.

How do I know when my lawn is deficient in nitrogen?

The grass leaf shows yellowing when there is nitrogen deficiency. The condition is known as chlorosis and occurs when the roots fail to locate the usable nitrogen in the soil. It prevents chlorophyll production.

Bottom line

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the necessity and the few best nitrogen fertilizers available for your lawn.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on using these fertilizers. Also, you may write to me for any queries. I will respond as I can.

If you find the guide helpful, do share it with your friends and family!

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