The Scoop on Granular Fertilizers


There are many variables to consider when choosing lawn fertilizer, like which application is best, which nutrients your lawn needs, or when is the best time to apply lawn fertilizer.

Granular fertilizer is one choice to consider.

Lawn care ingredients and ratios can be overwhelming, but they don't have to be. In this guide, we'll dissect the pros and cons of granular fertilizers so that you can make the best lawn care decisions for your yard. 

Yellow House with Fertilized Lawn 

Understanding Granular Fertilizer

Granular fertilizer is a reliable, dry pellet form of fertilizer that will nourish and feed your lawn when equipped with the proper nutrient blend. Granular fertilizer is the result of natural or synthetic nutrients taking shape in pellet-form. This type of lawn fertilizer is slow-release, meaning it takes time to break down into a more liquid state that the soil can absorb. There are different reasons you might choose a slow-release fertilizer; it depends on your lawn's needs and how established it is. 

Granular fertilizer also requires spreading equipment in an attempt to distribute the nutrient-rich pellets onto grass equally. The process of granular fertilizer differs significantly from that of a liquid fertilizer application.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fertilizer

Lawn care products are not equally beneficial. One type of lawn fertilizer won't work for every lawn. We've listed some different factors that will help you pick the right type of fertilizer for solving your specific lawn care issues:

  •     Slow-release vs. fast absorption
  •     Nutrient distribution and even application
  •     Equipment requirements and ease-of-use
  •     Salt content

All lawn fertilizers contain a blend of these macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Different lawn fertilizers will have a varying blend of each of these nutrients, so you can choose a fertilizer suitable for tackling your specific lawn care challenges.

Green Blue and Yellow Chemicals in Beakers

Maintaining grass health and treating underlying nutrient deficiencies will require very different lawn fertilizers.  It is important to heavily consider all of the issues you have with your lawn, as well as the outcome you would like to achieve.


Slow-Release vs. Fast Absorption

The solid pellets of granular fertilizer take time to break down to achieve proper nutrient absorption, which can be beneficial in some instances. Watering or a timed application in line with rain is required after granular fertilizer application to help with this process. With granular fertilizer, you may run the risk of missing certain areas of your lawn or seeing uneven results as lawn fertilizer pellets break down at different speeds. Even worse, you run the risk of the fertilizer getting washed away before proper absorption. 

If these risks deter you from using granular fertilizer, fast-absorbing may be the right option for you. Liquid fertilizer is already in a liquid state upon application so that you can reap the benefits of nutrient absorption without the risk of untimely, non-homogenous nutrient distribution of granular fertilizers.


Nutrient Distribution and Even Application

When it comes to lawn fertilizers, nutrient distribution plays an impactful role. With liquid fertilizer, the nutrient content is homogeneous, allowing for equal distribution during lawn care application.  With granular fertilizer, each granule comprises individual nutrient components that will not give an even, homogenous application when used. These granular fertilizer pellets are a blend of nutrients. Still, it is not always the case that each fertilizer pellet contains the same amount of nutrients, leading to unequal nutrient distribution.  


Equipment Requirements and Overall Ease-of-Use

One of the greatest downfalls of granular fertilizers is the requirement for massive lawn spreading equipment. It is possible to distribute granular fertilizer by other means, such as by hand, but this does not equate to an equal distribution. Even with a fertilizer spreader, you have to be very careful when applying the fertilizer pellets to your lawn. Getting a uniform application of nutrients with the spreading equipment and your footpath and is nearly impossible. Additionally, lawn spreading tools used in the granular fertilizer application process can be heavy, expensive, and unnecessary.

Liquid fertilizer application does not require any fancy equipment for lawn care applications. With liquid lawn care products, you can ditch the added cost of lawn equipment and save yourself time, energy, and shed space. Liquid fertilizer is overall more comfortable to use. To apply liquid fertilizer, attach your bottle of fertilizer to your hose, turn on the hose, and start distributing the liquid fertilizer. With a thorough but straightforward lawn watering application, you will be on your way to healthy, green grass using the liquid fertilizer.


Watching Out for High Salt Content

Though salt is not a macronutrient or micronutrient, this ingredient still makes its way into lawn fertilizer. Too much salt content in a lawn fertilizer can lead to grass dehydration, lack of nutrient penetration, and grass burns. Granular fertilizers tend to have a higher salt content compared to the salt content in liquid fertilizers.

You don't have to worry much about salt interfering with the nutrient-release and distribution process with liquid lawn fertilizer. If you live in an area prone to a higher salt content in your lawn, like Florida, you can opt for a salt-tolerant grass and use a lawn fertilizer with high salt contents very sparingly and cautiously.


When to Use Granular Fertilizer

Like all lawn care products, granular fertilizer has a place and time for best use. Granular fertilizers work well for established lawns and lawns that are entering colder seasons of dormancy. Because of the slow release of nutrients, granular fertilizer is best for spreading the nutrients out over a prolonged period for long-term results. Though you may not see much top-growth during these months, the fertilizer works to nourish the roots and prepare it for adverse weather. Choosing a granular fertilizer will give you more options when it comes to size, shape, and weight of the fertilizer you are looking to apply.


Opting for Liquid Fertilizer

If you find yourself leaning toward an easy lawn care application, liquid lawn fertilizer is an excellent option for your lawn care needs. With quick absorption, fast results, and no tools required, liquid lawn fertilizer is as easy as watering your lawn.

2 Responses

Simple Lawn Solutions
Simple Lawn Solutions

July 23, 2021

Hello Bryan,
Please send us an email at hello@simplelawnsolutions.com
Thank you!

Bryan Stevens
Bryan Stevens

July 23, 2021

Extension service analyzed my soil and instructed to apply 16-4-8 “6 lbs per 1,000sq. ft”.
I have very small front yd. Less than 600 sq ft.
How much Simple Lawn Solution 16-4-8 is this?

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