The Best Organic Lawn Fertilizer: Grow Your Lawn The Green Way

If you want a healthy, lush, green lawn for the long-term then using the best organic lawn fertilizer is a massive help.

It’s great for your soil, introducing organic matter that’s good for the structure and drainage.

And it slowly releases the all important nutrients without damaging your grass.

It’s also safe for animals and children, as well as good for the environment.

What more can you ask for?

Our top choice is Innova Organic Fertilizer. It’s easy to use and produces excellent results. And unlike many other natural fertilizers, there’s no nasty smell to suffer through as it doesn’t use biosolids, manures, or animal parts.

Our top recommended products at a glance:

All links lead to Amazon, where you can find more information & customer reviews.

The Best Organic Lawn Fertilizer Reviews

The Andersons Innova Organic Fertilizer

Innova

This plant derived fertilizer is free from all added chemicals, and contains no biosolids, animal parts, manures, or composted waste products. Instead, the granules it contains are derived from soy.

Containing a large amount of plant amino acids, along with a natural source of extended release nitrogen, it fuels beneficial microbes that create healthy soil and encourage the growth of plants. It’s NPK values are 7-1-2 (Nitrogen-Phosphoros-Potassium).

If you’ve used natural fertilizers before you’re probably aware of one big unfortunate fact:

Most of them smell pretty bad!

But unlike most brands, this fertilizer doesn’t have an unpleasant odor. So you won’t have to hold your nose every time you step outside for a few days.

The granules are low-dust and they’re easy to apply to your lawn with a spreader or by hand. After application, water the area to help break them down and let the soil absorb the material.

You don’t have to worry about over-applying this product, because unlike chemical fertilizers it won’t burn your lawn. Which also means it’s safe to use even in hot and dry weather.

Results are typically seen after 7-14 days. And for the best results, you should look to use it every 6 weeks in the growing season.

Directions for use come with the product. And even with heavy use, the 40lb bag provides enough granules to cover a 4-5,000 sq. ft.

This product is OMRI certified for organic use and is safe to use around animals and children. As well as being environmentally safe to use near ponds, waterways, and wells.

Pros
  • No animal-based ingredients or biosolids, so less of a smell
  • Extended-release nitrogen to fertilize slowly over time
  • Low-dust, easy to apply granules
  • OMRI certified organic
Cons
  • No real cons
 

Shin Nong Pro Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Shin Nong

This 100% natural and organic fertilizer is made from rice bran and castor meal, combined with 17 different minerals that are naturally extracted from rocks.

Together, the ingredients in this formula promote the growth of lush green grass with a well developed and strong root structure that can efficiently hold and take up water and nutrients.

The NPK values are 4.68-3.6-1.44. And because it’s completely natural, it doesn’t harm microorganisms or worms in your soil. Actually helping to increase their activity, leading to healthier and more beneficial soil. Which has resulted in many happy customers reporting quick and impressive results.

And it’s not just good for grass:

If you have any plants that are struggling to grow, try a bit of this to encourage vigorous growth.

Unlike many other organic fertilizers, this one doesn’t use any animal products so it’s completely suitable for vegans.

It’s OMRI listed for organic use, and certified by the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) department of the USDA.

It comes in a 22lb bag of granules that you can sprinkle every few months for the best long term results.

Pros
  • No animal products used – so the smell is not offputting
  • Vegan friendly
  • OMRI and PPQ certified
Cons
  • Low NPK values, although many customers report strong results
 

Simple Lawn Solutions Natural Liquid Fertilizer

Simple Lawn Solutions

This liquid lawn fertilizer provides a great blend of primary macronutrients for your lawn. The 3-18-18 NPK formula will help your grass grow green and strong, and provides all the nutrients required for root strength.

With its high phosphorus and potassium formula, it’s particularly useful for lawns that have deficiencies in these elements. And it’s great for maintaining lawn health.

It’s made by a family owned business in the USA with over 25 years of experience in the professional turf industry. And contains only naturally derived ingredients, including seaweed.

It’s great for all grass types, including:

  • Fescue
  • Zoysia
  • St. Augustine
  • Bermuda
  • Centipede
  • Bahia
  • Florida Palmetto
  • Ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

The product is easy to use, coming in its own dispenser which sprays at an even rate after you attach it to your hose.

The results are visible overnight. And it can turn a dull lifeless lawn into one that’s just starting to look green and perky by the next day. And even the most uncared for lawns can be brought back to full health with occasional application.

The container contains enough fertilizer to cover a 3,200 sq. ft. area.

Pros
  • Easy to spray
  • Fast results
  • Ideal for phosphorus and potassium nutrient deficiencies
  • Good for new lawns
Cons
  • Phosphorus can be a pollutant to waterways, lakes, and rivers⁠—so be careful with its use
 

Safer Brand Lawn Restore Fertilizer

Safer Brand

The year-round care that Safer Brand provides helps your grass to withstand the stress caused by drought, heat, and cold.

Its 9-0-2 formula contains a high level of nitrogen to help with rapid growth. And potassium to make sure the roots grow strong. Resulting in a thick, green turf, and helping to repair thinning lawns.

Each application provides a slow release of nutrients that lasts up to 8 weeks. Promoting healthy grass growth over time. But the results are also noticeable quite quickly, with visible results in 3-5 days. The company advertises that just 3 applications each year are enough to provide your lawn with all the nutrients it needs.

But it does have some drawbacks as well.

One complaint that many customers have is the smell.

If you can’t stand the smell of animal waste then you’re out of luck. Because that’s exactly what it is: it’s made from blood meal and feather meal. But the smell goes away quickly once it’s on the ground and you water it in.

It’s also tricky to spread, because a decent amount of it is powder, and it also contains chunks around the size of a pea. This means it sticks to the sides of the spreader and is applied to the ground inconsistently.

The bag weighs 25lbs, which is enough to cover a 6,250 sq. ft. area. And it’s safe for kids and pets to use the area immediately after application.

Pros
  • Slow release of nutrients
  • Just 3 applications per year needed
  • Results often visible within a week
Cons
  • Strong smell of animal waste
  • Can be difficult to spread evenly
 

Espoma Organic Fall Fertilizer

Espoma

This product is specially designed for use in the fall. But it also comes in spring and summer formulations.

It’s derived from poultry manure, with extra sulfate of potash added to help with spring greening the following year. And has an 8-0-6 NPK value, with a large amount of slow-release nitrogen.

The granules are easy to apply to your lawn using a spreader. And as they’re chemical free, you can safely allow pets and children on the grass after application.

The only drawback, like many other natural fertilizers, is the natural fertilizer smell. Which can be quite strong when you first lay it down. Fortunately, the unpleasant odor goes away after you water it.

The 30 lb bag is enough to cover 5,000 sq. ft.

Pros
  • Contains slow release nitrogen to fertilize over a period of time
  • Easy to apply granules
  • Can be purchased in special fall, spring, and summer formulations
Cons
  • Strong smell until you water it
 

Purely Organic Lawn Food

Purely Organic

This product comes in a 10-0-2 no phosphorus formula. It consists of food waste that’s blended and refined into a treatment that provides natural nutrients to your soil.

It’s easy to spread evenly without it clumping or clogging in your spreader. But you don’t have to worry about any uneven application, because it won’t burn your grass.

After a couple of days of rain, results start to become noticeable with the grass subtly greening up.

Customers report that it has a brewery like smell. Which is better than the offensive manure type odor of many natural fertilizers.

Many customers are also happy with the long term results, with reports of thick, green grass. And strong growth in areas that were previously patchy.

The bag contains enough fertilizer to cover 5,000 sq. ft. And there are no time restrictions on allowing pets and children back on your lawn, because it’s natural and safe to use.

Pros
  • Easy to spread
  • Inoffensive brewery like smell
Cons
  • No real cons
 

Milorganite Organic Fertilizer

Milorganite

Milorganite is well known as the fertilizer that many golf courses have used over the last 80 years to keep their grass lush and green.

It’s largely made from heat-dried microbes from sewage, and has a 5-2-0 formula. And it uses slow-release nitrogen so it provides nutrients for around 10 weeks per application. Reducing the number of times you need to apply it in the growing season.

Have you wondered why it continues to be such a favorite of golf courses?

Well, the secret might lie in the 4% non-staining iron it also contains. Iron deficiencies can affect the color of your lawn as the element plays an important part in chlorophyll synthesis.

When the granules are applied evenly with a spreader, most customers report a green and healthy looking lawn. But don’t expect overnight results. You may have to wait a week to notice significant improvement.

And like most organic fertilizers, it won’t burn your grass. Which means you also don’t have to worry about using it during the summer, unlike synthetic fertilizers.

The main drawback?

Unfortunately, this one does have a bit of a smell when it’s first applied. But that disappears after a few days.

The 32lb bag can cover up to 2,500 sq. ft.

Pros
  • Reputation for building very green lawns
  • Slow release nitrogen fertilizes over a long period of time
Cons
  • Can take a week or more to start seeing results
 

Simple Lawn Solutions High Nitrogen Lawn Food

Simple Lawn Solutions

This natural liquid fertilizer by Simple Lawn Solutions has a 28-0-0 NPK formula that’s specifically designed to boost the nitrogen content in deficient soils and to stimulate fast, green growth.

It contains 70% quick release nitrogen, for immediate results. And 30% slow release nitrogen to fertilize your lawn over the weeks to come.

Many customers report that within a week their lawn becomes noticeably greener after spraying this easy to apply liquid. And it’s especially useful if you have hard, compacted soil as it still absorbs easily and does its job.

It’s the second entry in our listing for this company, so all the information about them mentioned above applies here as well.

The container holds enough fertilizer to cover 3,200 sq. ft.

Pros
  • Fixes nitrogen deficiency
  • Nitrogen fertilizers stimulate rapid growth
  • Helps create a dark green lawn
Cons
  • Animal-based product with a strong smell
  • Applying too much can damage grass
 

Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer

Dr. Earth

This ready-to-spray lawn fertilizer is easy to use: just attach it to your hose and you’re ready to go.

It contains an 8-0-2 NPK formula and produces quick results due to the rapid release of the nutrients it contains.

It’s also rich in prebiotics. Now, it might sound unusual to find prebiotics in a fertilizer, but it’s a good thing. Why?

Because it encourages the growth of micro-organisms in the soil, creating a healthy environment for your grass to thrive.

And it’s not just for lawns, as you can also use it for other garden projects.

It’s 100% natural and organic, and it’s safe to use around pets and people. With no sewage sludge or chicken manure used either, so the smell is not offputting.

It’s recommended to use the product every 2 weeks, and customers report seeing results within the first 2 weeks of using it.

The only downside appears to be the bottle. With some people having problems with the liquid coming out of the sprayer properly. But it can be opened and put in a sprayer of your own if you have one.

It comes in a 32 oz bottle which is enough for 5,000 sq. ft. of lawn.

Pros
  • Quick results
  • Contains prebiotics that help create a healthier soil
  • The smell is not too bad
Cons
  • Some people have problems with the sprayer
 

Natural Alternative Early Spring Fertilizer

Natural Alternative

This organic fertilizer by Natural Alternative contains a 21-0-4 formula that’s high in nitrogen to promote rapid growth and lush green color.

It also contains a blend of microbes. These enrich the soil, encouraging the grass root system to grow strong. leading to better water and nutrient uptake.

And as it’s phosphorus-free, you don’t have to worry about using it around areas of water such as rivers and lakes.

The 20 lb container has enough fertilizer to cover a 6,000 sq. ft. area. It’s best applied using a calibrated spreader to ensure even application.

Pros
  • High in nitrogen for rapid growth
  • Contains microbes that enrich the soil
  • Comes in spring, summer, and fall formulations
Cons
  • Contains biosolids
 
If you’re starting a new lawn check out our guide to the best lawn fertilizers for new grass seed

Buying Guide: Choosing The Best Organic Lawn Fertilizer

fertilizing tool

Not all organic lawn fertilizers are the same. There are many different products on the market with a different balance of nutrients and a different composition.

These are the main factors to consider when choosing the best organic lawn fertilizer:

Types Of Fertilizer

You can split natural fertilizers into several different types depending on what they’re made from and what they do for your soil:

Animal-based

These are often made from things like bone meal, feather meal, blood meal, and manure.

They’re useful for adding a lot of nitrogen to your soil, and most of them release nutrients fairly quickly. But manure can burn plant roots if it’s over-applied.

The smell of blood meal is attractive to some animals. So it’s not the best choice if you’re concerned about attracting unwanted visitors to your yard.

Plant-based

Some people consider plant-based fertilizers, such as compost, to be more valuable for conditioning your soil than they are for contributing nutrients, as they often have low NPK values.

Of particular note, is their ability to help dry soil retain water for uptake by your grass.

Apart from compost, other common plant-based fertilizers include kelp seaweed, alfalfa meal, and cottonseed meal.

Treated Sewage Sludge

You’ll sometimes also see this referred to as biosolids. This is sewage material that’s been composted and treated until it’s considered to be biologically safe.

Often dried when sold for commercial use, it’s not uncommon to find this in organic lawn food. But it’s not recommended when growing vegetables in your backyard, as the USDA has ruled against its use in the US for organic food production. This is due to toxic metal accumulation, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and other unwanted things.

Nutrients

When choosing the best organic lawn fertilizer, pay attention to the NPK value listed on the packaging. This tells you the amount of Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) it contains.

The numbers show the % of each element in the product. So an organic fertilizer showing 8-2-2 consists of 8% Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorus, and 2% Potassium. In a 20 lb bag of fertilizer, this would mean 1.6 lbs of nitrogen, 0.4 lbs of phosphorus, and 0.4 lbs of potassium.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are primary elements that are essential for plant growth. Your grass needs these macronutrients in the greatest quantities.

Your soil probably already has some of these vital elements for your grass to use. But supplementing with the right fertilizer can encourage healthy growth and help to make up for soil that’s deficient in nutrients.

For grass, it’s usually most important to have plenty of nitrogen in your fertilizer. Although new lawns will do better with a smaller amount as their roots are not yet developed enough to handle the growth. For new lawns, phosphorus and potassium can be more important.

These are the main benefits that they have for your grass:

Nitrogen:

  • Essential for proper growth.
  • Needed for developing a strong green color. Deficiency in nitrogen will result in chlorosis producing grass with a yellow-green color.

Phosphorus:

  • Important for the development of strong root systems.
  • A lack of phosphorus can result in slow growth.

Potassium:

  • Protects from cold, disease, and drought.
  • Deficiency can slow the rate of growth.
  • It also plays a part in the phosphorus and nitrogen having their full effects.

Organic fertilizers usually have low NPK values compared to synthetic chemical fertilizers, as they’re made from natural ingredients that contain a wide range of minerals and nutrients.

To find out if your soil is particularly deficient in any nutrients you can test it yourself. Or get your local co-operative testing office to test a sample.

Now, if you’ve looked at the products listed above you might be wondering:

Why do some fertilizers not contain phosphorus?

One of the big reasons is that it’s water-soluble. It can run off during rain into waterways, rivers, and lakes where it acts as a pollutant. Many states are discouraging⁠ the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers.

Phosphorus is very important for new lawns. But it’s not as important to have in your fertilizer when maintaining an established lawn unless your soil is deficient.

Is Organic Lawn Care Better?

Woman fertilizing lawn

Although organic fertilizer usually doesn’t have as high an NPK value as chemical fertilizers, there are some big advantages to using it.

Firstly, organic fertilizers add a large amount of organic matter to your soil. Micro-organisms thrive on this material producing a healthy nutrient rich medium for your grass to grow in.

Chemical fertilizers can kill the established microbe population. And they also harm other life in the soil that contribute positively, such as earthworms, bacteria, and fungi.

So the longterm use of organic fertilizer produces a more nutrient rich soil in the long term, with better composition and texture. Which also improves drainage and soil structure, enhancing root growth.

And because organic material needs to be broken down by organisms in the soil, they release their nutrients slower without overwhelming, or in worst cases burning, your grass. This also means that fertilization of the soil continues over a period of weeks or months even when the lawn is watered or exposed to heavy rains.

So although the best organic lawn fertilizer can sometimes cost more, you end up applying them less often which can balance out the cost.

It’s also better for the environment as it’s totally biodegradable and not harmful to animals that enter your garden.

And last but not least, it’s safer for people and for pets!

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Using Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Because the nutrients contained in organic fertilizer are not obtained by your grass before the organic material is broken down, there’s a delay between when you apply it and when you see the full effects on your lawn.

So it’s important to plan ahead. Don’t leave it until your lawn is looking unhealthy before using it.

You can buy organic fertilizer in pellets, granules, meal, or liquid form. Granules and pellets are the easiest to apply evenly. Because although it’s easy to spray a liquid lawn fertilizer, it can be more difficult to get even coverage. Put granules in a spreader and apply them at a steady rate as you walk around your lawn.

But you can get quicker results from liquid fertilizers.

Some products include beneficial microbes. These are an excellent choice if your soil has become sterile due to previous use of chemicals as it helps to produce healthy soil and revive your grass. If your lawn is already healthy then it might not be necessary to go to the extra expense.

Here are some further tips on using it:

Although a spreader is often ideal, you can spread many organic fertilizers by hand as well. It might be worth getting a pair of gloves if you decide to do this.

Compared to chemical fertilizers, you don’t have to worry about overdoing it. But using the same setting on your spreader as you would with chemical fertilizer granules will probably do the job.

It’s recommended to mow your grass before you apply the fertilizer. This makes it easier for more of it to get through to the soil. Leave the grass cuttings on the lawn and allow them to decompose into the soil as well.

Water the lawn thoroughly after you apply the fertilizer. But not to the point that you have water running off it.

It’s safe for pets and children to use the area after application. But be aware that dogs might be attracted to products that have blood or bone meal in them and may try to eat it. So it can be a good idea to keep them away until after it’s watered in. Watch your dog and see if it shows an interest.

The best time to apply organic fertilizer for grass is the fall. This conditions the soil nicely ahead of spring growth.

It’s also okay to add it in the spring. But because organic fertilizer needs microorganisms to break it down, warmer soil is often required. Which means it can take a while for visible results.

You can also apply the best organic lawn fertilizer in the summer. Some brands make separate organic fertilizers that are specially formulated for spring, summer, and fall.

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Final Thoughts

Using organic grass fertilizer is a great choice for the long-term health of your lawn. It provides a large amount of organic matter to the soil that worm and microbe populations thrive on. Leading to the slow release of nutrients over a long period of time, and good texture, drainage, and aeration of the soil.

And because of the time the nutrients are released over, you don’t have to worry so much about overdoing it when you apply it. So you won’t damage your lawn.

Our favorite choice of the best organic fertilizer for lawns is Innova Organic Fertilizer. It comes in easy to use granules, using a source of extended release nitrogen, and with no unpleasant odor due to not using animal parts or manures.

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