Select Page

A Guide to 5 of the Best Organic Lawn Fertilizers

So, your lawn needs some help in being it’s very greenest, and you’re looking into getting some help with a fertilizer. But what kind of fertilizer to go with? There are so many brands, so many different types and styles, so what’s the very best one for you? To begin with, you need to establish what type of lawn fertilizer you want use. Now that question must be broken down, much like a fertilizer. The best organic lawn fertilizer should be strong enough to work, balanced in its nutrients to benefit your whole lawn, from root to tip, and be safe for your little ones – children and pets.

Organic Lawn Fertilizers Comparison Chart

ModelCoverage AbilityTypeWeightNPK RatioPet and Child Safe

Espoma Organic Fertilizer
5,000 sq. ft.Organic30 lbs.8-0-1Yes

Safer Brand Lawn Fertilizer
5,000 sq. ft.Organic 25 lbs.
10-0-6
Yes

Milorganite Organic Fertilizer
2,500 sq. ft.Organic36 lbs.N/AYes

Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer
2,000 sq. ft. Organic18 lbs.9-3-5Yes

Scott's Natural Lawn Food
4,000 sq. ft.Organic30 lbs.11-2-2Yes

 

Organic vs. Synthetic, Battle for the Ages

The two real competitors in this ring are the synthetic fertilizers and their organic counterparts. They are very different in almost every way you can think of, except that they can both give you a beautiful lawn, albeit in very different time frames and for very different lengths of time.

Organic fertilizer is “natural” or “raw” fertilizer that can be more work to apply, might be a bit more expensive at the checkout counter, and it might not be as fast-acting either, but there are some definite advantages if you can get past the (possible) sticker shock of it. One thing that organic fertilizer will give you is stronger soil, in general. If you were to expand into a garden from just a lawn, some organics can help lay the ground work for that, making that job much easier later.

A synthetic fertilizer is a chemically composed and water-soluble substance that does provide a quick and, if done right, efficient means to greener lawn. Though there are some definite advantages to the synthetic way (cost, speed of result, availability), that doesn’t mean it’s right for you necessarily, or that it isn’t. Another advantage to the synthetic is the ratios and nutrient amounts are much more accurate, and possibly higher. By that same token, if there is too much build-up of said nutrients, you can get leaching and/or run-off, and that’s not good.

Why Should One Make the Organic Leap?

One of the primary benefits for going organic, is that if you spill or over-apply an organic fertilizer, the consequences are generally limited to wasting the resource itself, whereas with a synthetic cousin, you may be looking at a burned lawn. The usual suspect in a burned lawn is the nitrogen salts in a synthetic fertilizer; when in too large a quantity combined with sunlight, it “burns” the grass which is basically just browning and scorching away the nutrients from the grass itself. There are ways to dilute and rescue a lawn from burn, but with organics, you don’t need to worry about such an instance.

Organic fertilizer is more soil-dependent to begin with at least, and it usually takes more time to take hold and really show results. However, organic requires fewer applications and lasts longer that its synthetic counterpart. Plus, the best organic fertilizer promotes a healthier soil content for a longer time that will allow for better growth of plant life and very minimal risk of run-off or leaching into the soil and causing health issues for the ecosystem.

What is NPK?

If you are researching, have researched, are about to start the research process, you are either very familiar, or about to become intimately familiar with the term “NPK” which stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (Potassium is represented with a K on the periodic table, for those curious).

Organic fertilizers typically have a lower NPK than the synthetic stuff, but they also feed plants for a much longer sustained period of time. Once again, if it costs more, but you apply it less, the cost over time can balance out. If the NPK is higher it contains more of those nutrients, but that may not be a positive thing in the long run, or the short run if there is a spill or over-application of a synthetic fertilizer.

So, if you go with a lower NPK organic fertilizer, it may take more time to get the result one may want, and the NPK of organic may be lower than one may like, but if the idea is to have a long standing and healthy lawn, the organic family of fertilizers may be the safer bet.

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing!

If you have just received your card from the Green Thumb Society, and you wish to have the lawn that’s on the bag of the fertilizer that you are using, but you are also concerned about screwing it all up and having a fertile pile of brown dirt in front of your house, no worries. You just need to take a few precautions.

One of the easiest ways to destroy a lawn, as you’ve read already, is over-application, or nutrient build-up, leaching, run-off, ratios being off, or any number of things that a synthetic fertilizer may cause, create, or intensify depending on the pile of dirt you start with. Going organic may not give you immediate results, or the faster reaction, but the overall product, with the minimal health risks overall, and if done right, can afford you a much longer-term dividend on investment.

I’ve Decided, and I’m Going Organic

So, you’ve decided to go with the organic option. Figuring out which brand is the best comes down to a lot of different factors. The options in organic lawn fertilizer are almost as varied as types of cars out there. Maybe you’ve got a nice midsize sedan that needs new paint, or a compact hatchback that needs a complete overhaul; perhaps a minivan with room for growth, or an SUV that really needs some elevation so it can play in the dirt? Actually, it’s not like cars at all, it’s really just fertilizer, so let’s stick with that.

You can find some one-size-fits-all organic fertilizers out there, but it may be better for you to choose one that has higher nitrogen levels, or a little bit of phosphorus added. And you want to make sure it works for your lawn. Read through these organic lawn fertilizer reviews to help you decide which one is right for you and your soon-to-be Instagram-worthy lawn.

Organic Lawn Fertilizer Reviews

1. Espoma EOSR30 Organic Summer Fertilizer

Quick Info

  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Covers: 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Type: Organic
  • NPK Ratio: 8-0-1

Made from poultry manure, iron oxide and elemental sulfur, this product contains 2% non-staining iron, and is an 8-0-1 NPK formula, and comes in 30-pound bags. It should be enough to cover about 5,000 square feet, and the nitrogen is a slow-release kind, so that you see continued growth over time. The benefit of this Espoma organic fertilizer is that it works to improve and protect your lawn over the summer. You may notice your lawn is slightly greener, but it won’t be a dramatic difference the way it can be with synthetic fertilizer. However, your lawn will be easier to take care of even in the hottest months, thanks to this fertilizer’s slow-acting formula.

That tiny bit of potassium in Espoma’s Organic Summer Fertilizer is going to help protect your lawn from draught, which could mean less watering from you will be needed. Plus, your lawn will head into the fall and winter seasons strong and ready to survive.

Pros

  • 30-pound bag feeds up to 5,000 Square Feet
  • Environmentally friendly formula is safe for pets and kids
  • Has shown almost immediate improvement for previous users
  • Fine granules are easy to distribute

Cons

  •  Expensive
  • Possibility of a strong odor
Z

Best suited for

Although Espoma EOSR30 Organic Summer Fertilizer is a bit expensive, one 30-pound bag covers 5,000 square feet, and you should only need to apply it once per summer season to improve your lawn’s soil and grass.

2. Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer

Quick Info

  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Covers: 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Type: Organic
  • NPK Ratio: 10-0-6

Made from plant-based nutrients, which means no bio-solids from animals at all – so, no foul (or fowl) smells. It is a 10-0-6 NPK formula, and comes in 25-pound bags. This is a lawn fertilizer designed with rejuvenation in mind as well as promoting a healthy and long-living ecosystem, the Lawn Restore II formula is backed by over 25 years of research and refinement.

Thanks to the organic formula of Safer Brand Ringer Lawn Fertilizer, you can go overboard with each application with no worry – even if you do it intentionally. What you’ll get in about two weeks’ time is a greener lawn that’s thicker on top, and with a stronger root system that sucks up and holds onto water better. You’ll need to be patient to see real improvements to your soil, but applied regularly, it can do wonders for your lawn.

Pros

  • 25-pound bag covers up to 5,000 Square Feet
  • Non-toxic formula is safe for kids and pets
  • Septic safe
  • Odor free
  • Only requires three applications per year

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Slow to show results
Z

Best suited for

Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Lawn Fertilizer works best at growing thick, green lawns for those who already have established lawns – plus, there’s no manure, so you won’t have to deal with smelly applications.

3. Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Quick Info

  •  Weight: 36 lbs.
  • Covers: 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Type: Organic
  • NPK Ratio: N/A

Perhaps one of the most popular lawn fertilizers, Milorganite Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer is primarily comprised of heat-dried microbes and 4% non-staining iron. It comes in 36-pound bags, and has a 5-2-0 NPK formula. Milorganite is specifically designed for a deep green lawn, but it also works well with trees, vegetables, and flowers. Works very well a seed carrier, and meets the EPA’s Exceptional Quality standards, which is known for its extremely stringent criteria in the fertilizer world.

This is organic fertilizer with low concentrations of nutrients, so you can’t expect intense greening three days after applying it. However, if you give it a little time, you’ll notice a difference in the hue of your grass, the strength of the blades, and the overall health of your lawn. Plus, because of that low NPK formula, you don’t have to worry about “burning” your grass.

Pros

  • Can be applied anytime during the growing season
  • Not climate dependent
  • Child and pet safe
  • Has been used on golf courses
  • Better price tag than some competitors

Cons

  • Not as good for root growth
  • Only covers 2,500 Square Feet
Z

Best suited for

If you just want to focus on improving the health of your lawn’s top growth, Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer can help with that, and it’ll give a boost to your grass’ root system.

4. Dr. Earth 715 Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer

Quick Info

  • Weight: 18 lbs.
  • Covers: 2,000 sq. ft.
  • Type: Organic
  • NPK Ratio: 9-3-5

This 18-pound bag of a homogenous blend of fish bone meal, feather meal potassium and calcium sulfate, and seaweed extract will feed your lawn for up to three months with one application, with a 9-3-5 NPK. Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer is great for St. Augustine, Fescue, and Blue grass. It promotes a strong and hardy root system. It’s also great for controlling thatch build-up (debris from grass roots).

It’s sometimes rare to find a lawn fertilizer with phosphorus, as it’s not allowed in some cities and counties, but it can really help establish a newly seeded lawn. The fertilizer works to strengthen your lawn’s root system, contributes to an overall healthier lawn, and it can reduce the amount or frequency of watering you have to do.

Pros

  • Conserves water
  • Safe for children and pets
  • 18-pound bag covers 2,000 Square Feet
  • Slow release for three months of feeding
  • Enhances existing lawn environment

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Odor can be strong
Z

Best suited for

Dr. Earth 715 Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer is a great product if you’re looking to supplement all aspects of your lawn, but it will work slowly, and you may end up paying more in the end because the bags are small and expensive.

5. Scott’s Natural Lawn Food

Quick Info

  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Covers: 4,000 sq. ft.
  • Type: Organic
  • NPK Ratio: 11-2-2

Scott’s is a brand well known in the synthetic fertilizer game, but here they have dipped a toe into the organic realm with this 11-2-2 NPK formula made of feather meal, meat meal, bone meal, blood meal, and sulfate of potash. There are some pesticides in it, so be aware of what you’re buying, but it is all-natural formula.

Although it’s safe for children and pets, dogs might get a whiff of the manure-filled bag and want to snack on it. If that happens, you may end up with a couple of messes, but your dog should be fine. After applying this fertilizer, make sure you water your lawn well to help it absorb into the soil, which will also reduce the odor a bit. The high nitrogen levels will help promote quicker growth of your grass blades, and make your lawn greener. The lower phosphorous and potassium nutrients promote overall health of your soil and grass, and strengthens the root system.

Pros

  • 30-pound bag covers 4,000 Square Feet
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Lawn is safe for walking on immediately after application
  • Good for any season and grass type

Cons

  • 23.00 price tag, pretty close to synthetic prices, but still
  • Not sold in CT, MD, ME, MN, NJ, NY, WA, WI
  • May attract dogs
Z

Best suited for

Scott’s Natural Lawn Food includes all the nutrients your lawn wants and needs to help it grow strong; while it is a natural product, the strong odor may attract dogs.

Conclusion

The one thing all of these boast is being child- and pet-safe, so no matter which one is chosen, the kids and the puppies should be safe around them. Milorganite 0636 Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer has been used on golf courses, so it can be trusted to turn your lawn from scrawny to strong. It can be applied during any season, to any grass to make it strong. It does have a bit of a smell to it, and it’s slow to show results, but if you have patience, you should be rewarded with a thick, lush, greener lawn than before.

So, with Green Thumb Society card in hand, and armed with the knowledge of how organic lawn fertilizers work, you should check out Milorganite and take before and after pictures to show off the safe and healthy lawn you get – one like the picture on the bag.

About The Author

Candace Osmond

Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for over a decade. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. When she’s not typing away from the comforts of her desk, Candace can be found travelling to warm destinations, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven that is her backyard. Candace currently resides in the breathtaking Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids and one slobbery bulldog.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To support our work we earn a commission if you purchase through some of the links listed below at no additional cost to you. This does not influence our opinions, but we believe in transparency so you can make informed choices. Read more here.