If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn of your own, chances are you’re keen to get the best out of it. Besides the summer mowing sessions and occasional watering, indulging your grass with a specialised feeding routine throughout the year will help prevent weeds and moss from taking over, as well as encouraging any limp, sparse grass to grow greener and thicker.
A good lawn feed can banish dry, brown patches with a good dose of nutrients to the soil beneath, and encourage lush, green and fast-growing grass. Depending on the combination of nutrients included, you can boost the greenness of your grass in just a few days with a water-soluble lawn feed, or allow a slow-release of fertiliser to keep working for months on end.
With a few different varieties of lawn feed available, each ideal for application at different times of year, it’s worth getting to grips with a few basics before making a decision. We’ve set out a short guide to lawn feeds below, along with our top recommendations.
How to choose the best lawn feed for you
What does lawn feed actually do?
Lawn feed isn’t exactly food; it’s more a combination of mineral nutrients that help your grass to grow. Just like other plants, grass needs a regular supply of nutrients to keep it growing healthily. The main nutrients needed are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), each of which provide your lawn with different benefits.
- Nitrogen aids with leaf growth, resulting in a deep green colour when your lawn is happiest. Nitrogen-heavy lawn feeds are best applied when grass puts out new growth, so in the spring and summer.
- Phosphorus (or Phosphate) helps with root development, as strong roots mean less disease and fewer pests. It’s best applied in early spring or autumn.
- Potassium helps to build plant cells, which means more resistance against diseases and drought, and is best applied in spring or autumn.
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How do I read a lawn feed label?
Typically, a lawn feed label will provide information about the percentages of each mineral nutrient via its NPK number: the nitrogen (N) number, followed by the Phosphorus (P) number and the Potassium (K) number. There are different nutrient combinations for different times of year and various types of grass.
A balanced lawn feed will have these three mineral nutrients in equal measures, i.e. a ratio of 5:5:5. This would indicate a fertiliser that’s applicable all year round. A more nitrogen-heavy lawn feed will have a less balanced NPK number. It’ll give grass a green boost but also makes your lawn more susceptible to scorching in hot weather – so it shouldn’t be used as your main fertiliser, and should be used in combination with a slow-release fertiliser too. Luckily, lawn feed companies understand that this information is confusing so most also explain what season a particular feed is intended for.
When should I feed my lawn?
Although it depends on the type of lawn you have and what condition it’s in, an easy rule to adhere to is feeding once each season or even just once a year with a slow-release fertilizer. If you opt for the former, your feeding schedule might look like this:
- In mid-spring (late March to April), when the soil is moist or when rain is expected, you can feed your lawn with a product that contains weed and moss control. It’ll kill off any moss that’s grown over winter, and help accelerate grass growth after the cold months. Once the weeds are under control, it’s fine to use a lawn feed that solely feeds the grass.
- In the heat of an English summer, the grass won’t be growing – in fact, it’s more likely to be scorched by any fertilisers. Stop feeding your lawn during prolonged dry spells, and once there’s been a good rainfall, wait a few days then feed again. Aim to feed the lawn every six to eight weeks throughout the summer.
- In autumn, your grass should be fed so it grows at a slow rate and so the roots can be strengthened against the cold. That’s when a specialised ‘autumn feed’ is needed. You should also rake well during autumn to remove dead grass and weeds.
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Anything else I should know?
Lawn feed comes in various forms: liquid and granular are two of the most common. Although there isn’t much difference between the results they achieve, liquid lawn feed is typically cheaper as it’s concentrated, and is easier to store. Don’t over-apply a lawn feed if you don’t see immediate results either, as that can lead to black marks, holes and scorching.
The best lawn feed to buy in 2021
1. Westland SafeLawn Child and Pet-Friendly Natural Lawn Feed: Safest lawn feed
Price: £9 for 5kg | Buy now from Amazon
If your lawn is often frequented by children and animals, it makes sense to opt for a safe, non-chemical fertiliser. Westland SafeLawn is made from 100% natural ingredients, including granulated chicken manure plus other organic matter – ingredients that may result in a slight smell when opening the packaging.
Simply scatter around 35g of the granular feed per 1m² patch of lawn and water it thoroughly straight after application. If you’re keen to help the germination of the added grass seed present in the feed then keep the lawn well watered for the next fortnight. The organic matter won’t stain like other fertilisers if you happen to step across it, and won’t scorch your lawn either, even if it’s over-applied.
You can apply Westland SafeLawn every three weeks between February and September, but it’s advised not to use during either a drought or when the ground is frosted over. This 5.25kg bag should provide 150m² of lawn coverage.
Key Spec – Type: Granular; Application: By hand or spreader; Seasons: Feb-September
£9.00 Buy now
2. Miracle-Gro Evergreen Fast Green Liquid Concentrate Lawn Food: Best liquid lawn feed
Price: £8 for 1 litre | Buy now from Amazon
This liquid lawn feed kicks into action in just 24 hours, so it’s a great option if you need fast results. Using the measuring cap provided, add 40ml of the liquid feed into four litres of water. Once it’s been thoroughly mixed in, use a rose or sprinkle bar attachment on your watering can to apply it to the lawn. Wait until the lawn has dried off before allowing children and pets into the area again, and you shoul