The 9 Best Organic Lawn Fertilizers of 2023

These organic fertilizers can help you green up your lawn without the use of synthetic chemicals—so you can feel good about your kids and pets playing there.

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One of the best Organic Fertilizers for Grass on a tan background.

Better Homes & Gardens / David Hattan

Maintaining a lush, healthy lawn can add curb appeal to your home, increase its value, and make for an inviting place to entertain guests in warmer months, but keeping your grass green and full can feel like a challenging undertaking.

If your yard is full of weeds, brown patches, or clumps of bare earth that can't seem to grow fresh grass, your lawn probably lacks important nutrients that can foster proper root growth and moisture retention. In this case, you'll likely need to apply fertilizers to help supply your yard with the nutrients it's missing—but not all fertilizers are the same.

While synthetic fertilizers yield quick results when applied to lawns, they release their nutrients immediately instead of providing a long-lasting supply. Organic fertilizer for grass contains the same nutrients your yard needs, but they derive it from natural sources like alfalfa, seaweed, animal manure, and more. Most organic fertilizers also contain additional nutrients like iron or calcium that further feed the health and vibrancy of your grass.

To figure out the best fertilizer for your grass, it's best to start by performing a soil test. This will determine the acidity or alkalinity of your soil and give you a better idea of what nutrients your yard needs to thrive.

"Soil is where plants get the majority of their nutrients, and a soil test helps you better understand the nutrient availability in the soil," says Coulter Lewis, Founder and CEO of Sunday. "A soil test will tell you if your lawn is lacking in any specific nutrients so that this deficiency is corrected by a nutrient product that will help bring your lawn into balance."

Best Overall

Dr. Earth Super Natural Organic Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Super Natural Organic 9-3-5 Fertilizer


Why You Should Get It
  • This organic fertilizer contains crucial micronutrients to help your grass grow stronger and greener.

Keep in Mind
  • This fertilizer contains phosphorus, which can negatively impact the water quality of nearby lakes, streams, and ponds if you don't apply it properly.

The best fertilizer for your grass will depend highly on how acidic or alkaline your soil is, but there are a few key nutrients that most yards will benefit from: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The Dr. Earth Super Natural Organic Fertilizer includes all three of these nutrients, but unlike synthetic fertilizers, this organic fertilizer is made with all-natural ingredients.

According to the manufacturer, its ingredients are sourced from land and ocean plants, fish bones, and mined minerals, which are non-harmful to both pets and humans. This means you don't have to stay off the lawn after applying fertilizer.

The nitrogen in this fertilizer encourages steady growth and allows your grass to achieve a rich green color, while potassium activates enzymes to help the grass grow and protect it against extreme temperatures. Phosphorus transfers energy throughout the plant, making it especially important in new grass.

Plus, the Dr. Earth Super Natural Organic fertilizer releases its nutrients into the earth more slowly than a synthetic fertilizer, which creates more long-term results. This allows your grass to grow at a more consistent rate, create stronger root systems, and go through less stress.

It's important to note that because this fertilizer contains phosphorus—a nutrient that can contaminate local water sources—you'll need to be careful to follow the directions when applying it to your lawn. This helps to ensure that the phosphorus gets properly absorbed and doesn't run off.

Price at time of publish: $47

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 9-3-5 | Recommended Use: Spring to summer | Package Size: 18 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 2,000 square feet

Best for Fall

Espoma Fall Lawn Booster

Espoma Fall Lawn Booster


Why You Should Get It
  • This lawn fertilizer contains lots of potassium, which helps your grass fight off stress and survive frigid winter temperatures.

Keep in Mind
  • Since this fertilizer is designed to be used in the fall, it's not great for warm-season grasses that grow most in springtime.

As the seasons change from summer to fall, you're probably thinking less about your grass and more about other outdoor chores like raking leaves or prepping your plants for the first frost. However, autumn is a great time to apply fertilizer because itcan help ensure your grass has everything it needs to come back strong and healthy next spring.

The Espoma Fall Lawn Booster is the best fertilizer for grass in the fall because it contains a higher percentage of potassium than most spring fertilizers. Potassium helps to fortify your lawn against drought and stressors, such as extreme weather changes and below-freezing temperatures.

This grass fertilizer also contains 7% nitrogen to help your lawn grow thicker and appear more lush next spring. There's also small amounts of sulfur and calcium, which are both secondary nutrients that support soil health and grass growth.

According to the manufacturer, you should apply the Espoma Fall Lawn Booster in September to November on a dry lawn that has just been mowed, then water lightly to help the soil absorb the nutrients.

However, if your yard is made up of warm season grasses like Bermuda grass or St. Augustine grass, you'll likely see more results by using a spring fertilizer instead. Since these grass types experience their most active root growth in spring, applying a fall fertilizer won't be as effective.

Price at time of publish: $53

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 8-0-5 | Recommended Use: September to November | Package Size: 30 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 5,000 square feet

Best for Spring

Espoma Spring Lawn Booster

Espoma Spring Lawn Booster Natural Organic Lawn Fertilizer


Why You Should Get It
  • This spring lawn fertilizer contains slow-release nitrogen to promote thicker, denser grass growth.

Keep in Mind
  • Because this fertilizer contains calcium, you shouldn't apply it to highly alkaline soils, as it can prevent plants from absorbing other nutrients.

Spring is a great time of the year to start fertilizing your yard, especially if you've noticed that your lawn has a difficult time bouncing back after a long, cold winter. It's important to wait until at least May to begin adding fertilizer since your grass needs to put all of its energy on root development in early spring.

The Espoma Spring Lawn Booster contains 7% nitrogen, which is a critical nutrient when it comes to growing healthy, green grass. Lawns with the right balance of nitrogen will be able to photosynthesize better and grow thicker and stronger blades of grass.

This spring lawn fertilizer also includes 3% calcium, which can help strengthen the grass against disease that could stunt growth or kill the grass. Since the Espoma Spring Lawn Booster is a slow-release fertilizer, it gives your grass small, steady amounts of nutrients at a time to promote the long-term wellbeing of your yard instead of dramatic, short-lived results.

If your soil test shows that your yard is alkaline (a pH higher than 7.5), you'll likely want to skip this organic grass fertilizer. Highly alkaline soils tend to possess a high amount of calcium to begin with, and adding more calcium can inhibit your grass's ability to absorb other nutrients.

Price at time of publish: $43

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 8-0-0 | Recommended Use: February to April | Package Size: 30 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 5,000 square feet

Best Slow-Release

Milorganite Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer

Milorganite 32 lb. Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer


Why You Should Get It
  • This fertilizer for grass, trees, and flowers keeps feeding your yard for up to 10 weeks for long-lasting results

Keep in Mind
  • The slow-release fertilizer contains phosphorus, which can negatively affect water quality.

Slow-release fertilizers are the best fertilizers for grass because they gradually release nutrients into your soil instead of all at once. While this means it takes a bit longer to see results in your yard, the slower process ensures that the maximum amount of nutrients gets absorbed into your soil instead of running off.

The Milorganite organic nitrogen fertilizer is a great option for grass that is yellowing, grows slowly, or is susceptible to weeds. Unlike synthetic fertilizers that derive nitrogen from harmul sources, the nitrogen in Milorganite grass fertilizer is derived from natural sources.

If your yard typically turns yellow or brown in spring and summer, the Milorganite organic nitrogen fertilizer also includes iron in its list of ingredients to help restore your grass to a rich, green color. It also contains calcium, another essential plant micronutrient that helps encourage growth.

Price at time of publish: $32

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 6-4-0 | Recommended Use: Year round | Package Size: 32 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 2,500 square feet

Best High-Nitrogen

Purely Organic Products Grub & Feed Lawn Food

Purely Organic Products Grub & Feed Lawn Food


Why You Should Get It
  • The nitrogen in this fertilizer helps boost steady blade growth and promote a lush, green color.

Keep in Mind
  • You'll want to make sure you don't over-apply it, as this can lead to accidentally burning your grass.

Applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer can help promote steady growth and keep your grass a healthy green hue instead of withering in the heat. The Purely Organic Products Grub & Feed Lawn Food fertilizer contains a high concentration of nitrogen. This is a crucial nutrient that helps your grass produce chlorophyll and transform sunlight into energy.

By applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer while your grass is in the middle of its growing season, you'll be able to provide it with the proper nutrients to create thick, lush blades of grass. The Purely Organic Products fertilizer also contains potassium, which is responsible for healthy development of your lawn's roots.

Instead of using synthetic substances to feed your yard, though, this fertilizer is derived from corn gluten meal, urea, and potassium acetate—all natural ingredients. It also includes botanical oils to prevent grubs or other pests in the soil.

The manufacturer recommends applying this fertilizer on a day when no heavy rains are expected, then lightly watering your lawn to activate the fertilizer. Keep in mind that because this is a high-nitrogen fertilizer, you want to avoid over-applying it to your yard. Too much of this type of fertilizer can increase the nitrogen and salt levels, which may damage your grass.

Price at time of publish: $32

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 10-0-2 | Recommended Use: July to August | Package Size: 15 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 3,000 square feet

Best for Bermuda Grass

Safer Brand Lawn Restore Natural Lawn Fertilizer

Safer Brand Lawn Restore Natural Lawn Fertilizer


Why You Should Get It
  • This organic fertilizer is designed to help your grass withstand hot weather and droughts.

Keep in Mind
  • You'll need to reapply fertilizer every eight weeks, which is more frequently than other organic fertilizers for grass.

Bermuda grass is a popular lawn grass because of its durability against extreme heat and drought conditions. To keep your Bermuda grass looking lush and golf-course green from early spring to late fall, apply a fertilizer with nitrogen and potassium to fuel its growth and further protect it from weather extremes.

The Safer Brand Lawn Restore lawn fertilizer will help both cool- and warm-season grasses withstand stress, develop stronger roots, and grow consistently. If you're noticing that your lawn has bare spots, is yellowing in some areas, or has a lot of weeds popping up throughout the yard, it's possible that stress is the culprit.

Extremely hot or cold weather or long periods without rain can cause your grass's roots to shrink, making it more susceptible to weeds, disease, and insects. However, the best fertilizers for grass supply easy-to-absorb nutrients to stressed lawns.

To combat these issues, the Safer Brand fertilizer includes nitrogen to encourage chlorophyll production and potassium for helping the grass resist drought and disease. This means that, even though you can't control the weather in your neighborhood, you'll be able to better protect your yard from the consequences of a hot, dry summer.

While this grass fertilizer produces quick results—the manufacturer says to expect greener grass in three to five days—it needs to be reapplied more often than other fertilizers. Plan to add more fertilizer after eight weeks to maintain your lawn.

Price at time of publish: $42

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 9-0-2 | Recommended Use: All seasons | Package Size: 20 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 5,000 square feet

Best Liquid

Bare Ground Just Scentsational Trident’s Pride Fish Fertilizer

Just Scentsational Trident’s Pride Fish Fertilizer

Bare Ground

Why You Should Get It
  • This all-natural liquid fertilizer is easy to apply (just mix with water and spray) and helps add beneficial microbes to your soil.

Keep in Mind
  • Because it’s made from fish parts, it does have a fishy smell.

Fish fertilizer is made from parts of the fish carcass (bones, scales, and skin) that would otherwise go to waste. The idea of fish fertilizer may sound strange, but it can improve soil health and add nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium just as synthetic fertilizer formulas do.

This liquid fish fertilizer has a 2-3-1 NPK ratio and increases antioxidants, beneficial microbes, and the number of earthworms in the soil. The increased soil microbes can help decrease the need for pesticides too, allowing for a more organic approach to gardening. This all-natural cold-pressed formula can be used on all types of lawns, as well as fruit and vegetable plants. It’s OMRI-Listed as safe for organic gardening. 

Trident’s Pride fertilizer comes in an easy-to-pour jug—simply dilute the formula with water before applying to your grass or other plants. The company recommends using 4-6 ounces per gallon of water, so 1 gallon will last you for quite a while.

As you might expect, it does have a fishy smell, but it goes away quickly if the product is diluted with water as recommended. 

Price at time of publish: $13

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 2-3-1 | Recommended Use: Spring, summer, fall | Package Size: 1 gallon | Yard Size: Not listed

Best for Centipede Grass

The Andersons 7-1-2 Innova Organic Fertilizer

The Andersons 7-1-2 Innova Organic Fertilizer


Why You Should Get It
  • This slow-release fertilizer will help ensure you don’t burn your centipede grass with too much nitrogen.

Keep in Mind
  • This fertilizer does contain low levels of phosphorus, so it should not be overused on centipede grass.

Centipede grass is well suited for Southern areas of the United States and is relatively low maintenance, but regular fertilizer applications can help it look its best. Just be sure not to over apply fertilizer (as centipede grass doesn’t need too much fertilizer) and choose a fertilizer with low levels or no phosphate.

Innova Organic Ferilizer is a slow-release formula that will help you ensure you don’t burn the centipede grass by applying too much fertilizer at once since the nutrients in the fertilizer will slowly be released over time. This product can also be applied in hot/dry weather, which makes it ideal for Southern regions where centipede grass thrives. 

Innova Organic Fertilizer can be used on all types of grass and is OMRI-listed as safe for organic gardening. Unlike many other fertilizers, you won’t notice a strong smell when you apply it and it’s safe to use where kids and pets play. It’s made from plants and doesn’t include any manure, animal parts, or other composted waste products. It also supplies carbon to the soil to help introduce beneficial soil microbes and improve soil health. 

This fertilizer can be used on any grass type and is best applied in spring through fall. It works well for establishing new lawns and restoring lawns that have seen better days. Centipede grass doesn’t need much phosphorus, so do a soil test to check on existing phosphorus levels in the soil if you want to use a fertilizer with phosphorus on a regular basis. 

Price at time of publish: $80

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 7-1-2 | Recommended Use: Spring, summer, or fall | Package Size: 40 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 11,200 square feet

Best All-Season Fertilizer

Scotts Natural Lawn Food

Scotts Natural Lawn Food


Why You Should Get It
  • This granular fertilizer can be applied in any season and used on any type of grass.

Keep in Mind
  • It doesn’t have as large a coverage area as some products on our list.

If you’re looking for the best all-purpose fertilizer, Scotts Natural Lawn Food is an excellent choice—you can use this fertilizer in any season on any grass type. Plus, it’s made from natural ingredients so you can feel good about using it, too.

This granular fertilizer can make your grass thicker and greener (thanks to its high proportion of nitrogen), without all the chemicals that synthetic fertilizers include. It’s OMRI-Listed for organic gardening and it’s safe to use around kids and pets. You can walk on the grass right after you apply this product, which makes it more convenient than some products since you don’t have to plan ahead for a time when you won’t be using the yard for outdoor gatherings. 

Apply this fertilizer four times a year with a drop or rotary spreader, waiting 6-8 weeks between each application. This 29.1-pound bag of fertilizer will cover up to 4,000 square feet, which is a smaller coverage area than many other fertilizers. 

Price at time of publish: $33

Product Details: Fertilizer Analysis (N-P-K): 11-2-2 | Recommended Use: Year-round | Package Size: 29.1 pounds | Yard Size: Up to 4,000 square feet

The Bottom Line

The best fertilizers for grass will provide essential nutrients to your yard to help it grow fuller and stronger, alleviate stress from drought or extreme temperatures, and appear bright green. Depending on your soil, your yard may need different nutrients than other lawns.

The best overall fertilizer for grass is the Dr. Earth Super Natural Organic Fertilizer, because it includes the three main macronutrients your soil needs: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

What to Know About Grass Fertilizer Before Shopping

Synthetic Fertilizer vs. Organic Fertilizer

When selecting the best fertilizer for your grass, it's important to know the difference between synthetic and organic fertilizers. While synthetic fertilizers often produce quick results, much of the fertilizer doesn't absorb into the soil and instead gets washed away by rainfall.

This can negatively impact water quality and local habitats, and the substances contained in this type of grass fertilizer can contribute to mineral depletion in your soil, waterway pollution, and air pollution.

Alternately, the best organic fertilizers for grass get their nutrients from natural sources, like compost, manure, bone meal, and even seaweed. While it can take slightly longer to see results from them in your backyard, organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly, allowing them to absorb deep into the soil and reach your grass's roots. This produces longer-lasting results and doesn't pose the same environmental threats as synthetic fertilizers.

Fertilizer Analysis

When reading the label on most organic and synthetic fertilizers, you'll probably notice the letters N, P, and K paired with a trio of numbers. These letters stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are three essential nutrients for plant growth, and the numbers are the corresponding nutrient percentage in the fertilizer.

Nitrogen allows your grass to grow thicker and greener by helping create chlorophyll for photosynthesis. Phosphorus is useful for developing sturdy, deep root systems, which make it great for applying to new grass. Finally, potassium fortifies your grass so it can better withstand drought, weather extremes, and disease.

Depending on what issues you're hoping to address with your lawn, you can use the fertilizer analysis numbers to determine which fertilizer will produce the best results.

"While your lawn needs phosphorus, it's usually already available in most lawns at sufficient levels," Lewis says. "This is a nutrient you should avoid in your fertilizer unless you have a deficiency or a new lawn. When fertilizer includes this ingredient, it can oversupply it to the ecosystem and cause more problems than it solves."

Your Lawn's Soil Test Results

Before picking out the best fertilizer for your grass, you'll need to conduct a soil test. This simple test will tell you how acidic or alkaline your soil is, allowing you to better understand what nutrients it needs for your grass to thrive.

If your soil is too alkaline, you'll likely need to add an organic nitrogen fertilizer that also has iron sulfate in it, whereas a yard that is too acidic may benefit from limestone to increase its pH. Adding the correct types of nutrients to your soil can help ensure that your grass grows steadily and remains green all season long.

Yard Size

You'll also want to consider how large your lawn is when selecting the best fertilizer for your grass. The larger the yard, the more fertilizer you'll need—and most organic fertilizers clearly state the recommended yard size right on the label. This helps ensure that you don't accidentally over-apply fertilizer to your yard

Your Questions, Answered

When should I fertilize my lawn?

The best time to add fertilizer to your lawn is in late spring, after the ground has warmed up and your grass has already begun growing. It's important not to apply fertilizer too early in the season, as this can stunt your grass's growth. Many people choose to apply more fertilizer once or twice more during the growing season, but this depends on your yard's specific needs.

What type of lawn fertilizer should I use?

Depending on your growing region, typical rainfall, the type of grass you have, and the results of your soil test, the best fertilizer for your grass could differ from others. Most organic fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or some combination of the three.

However, you'll also be able to find nutrients like iron sulfate, calcium, copper, nickel, and more in your fertilizers' list of ingredients. Based on your yard's soil test results, you'll be able to narrow down which nutrients your lawn needs most and which ones you should avoid.

"Fall is the time of the year when nitrogen in fertilizer is generally used by plants to build root systems and help plants store energy to survive the winter," Lewis says. "Late spring and early summer applications tend to promote greenup and shoot growth and help to fill in and crowd out weeds. … It will also build up strength to help your lawn thrive through the tougher conditions [like heat and drought]."

What is the best N-P-K ratio for lawn fertilizer? 

The N-P-K ratio of a fertilizer tells you the proportion of three key elements in the fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. (This should not be confused with a fertilizer analysis, which tells you how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium there is by weight.)

“For turfgrass the optimum ratio is somewhere between 3:1:2 and 4:1:2,” says Bob Mann, senior director of technical and regulatory affairs with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. “This means that any multiple of that would suffice. For instance, 24:6:12 would also work. This is the ratio in which these elements are found in turfgrass plants.” 

There are many fertilizers available that don’t match this exact N-P-K ratio and they may still work well for your yard. If you’re confused about whether a fertilizer is right for your lawn, Mann recommends reaching out to a professional lawn care service

Who We Are

Samantha Jones is an associate commerce editor at Better Homes & Gardens, writing and editing stories about home essentials like vacuum cleaners, window air conditioners, towels, and more. To write this story, Samantha conducted research into organic and synthetic fertilizers, looked into the best fertilizers for grass on the market. She also consulted Coulter Lewis, founder and CEO of Sunday, an all-natural lawn care service, for this story. This article was updated by Renee Freemon Mulvihill, who consulted expert Bob Mann, senior director of technical and regulatory affairs with the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

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  1. Jones, Keri et al. "Potassium in Mississippi Soils." Mississippi State University Extension," 2020, pp. 1-4

  2. Buchholz, Daryl, "Nitrogen in the Plant," University of Missouri Extension, 2022

  3. "Importance of Phosphorus to Plants." Plant & Soil Science eLibrary, 2023

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