How Long Does it Take Granular Fertilizer to Work?

Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Grow with Bovees

You’ve spread your lawn with fertilizer. You’ve taken care to disperse it. Now, you’re probably wondering when you will see some amazing results. Well, this depends on how long the granular fertilizer takes to dissolve.  

Ensure that too much rain does not wash away the fertilizer, the plant needs these nutrients to survive

The Importance of Fertilizing Your Grass

There’s never been a better way to outdo your neighbors than by having a lush green lawn right there at the front of your house. But having a healthy lawn is about much more than just green grass.

If you think of your lawn as a child, you know that it will need a nutritious diet to grow, to become strong, and even to fight off infections. So, as an adoptive parent to your lawn, it’s up to you to choose a fertilizer that can make this happen.

So How Long Does it Take For Granular Fertilizer to Work?

This depends on a couple of things. First, are you using organic slow-release or synthetic quick-release fertilizers? People who are looking for a quick fix for their lawns often choose a fast release synthetic fertilizer as you see the results within a few days.

Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, can take between two to six weeks to show any benefit. So, you’re probably thinking that only a crazy person would choose slow release and not the quick-release option, but here are a few reasons to think again.

Organic Granular Fertilizer

Why Do Organic Fertilizers Take Longer to Work?

Organic slow-release fertilizer is full of all kinds of good stuff to work effectively on your lawn. They contain the usual nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium but they also include micronutrients, potash, and microorganisms.

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As the name suggests, all these nutrients come from organic sources like bone meal, blood meal and fish emulsion. This may not sound delicious to you, but your grass loves it.

Organic materials are not like chemicals that simply dissolve into your lawn, unlike quick-release lawn fertilizer, they have to decompose. Think about the food scraps you put into your compost box or actually don’t. It’s kind of disgusting, but your lawn is more than happy to get a huge helping of decomposing organic matter.

Synthetic Granular Fertilizer

What Is in Synthetic Granular Fertilizer?

Almost all fertilizers contain three things: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. The producers of synthetic fertilizers create these nutrients artificially in a lab. Because they are artificial, they can easily be made into a fast release fertilizer.

These products also tend to have a high nitrogen content because nitrogen is a component of chlorophyll. You may remember chlorophyll from your school science class as the stuff that makes plants green.

What You Can Do

When it comes to choosing your synthetic quick release fertilizer, you can read the label and check for the amount of nutrients it contains. For example, when you apply fertilizer in spring you want to choose a fertilizer that is a little higher in phosphorus to stimulate root growth.

Another thing you can do is use the best weed and feed for your type of lawn. Even though I love animals, I’m one for killing two birds with one stone. This product nails the nutritional needs of your grass blades and slays weeds at the same time.

Popular Synthetic Fertilizer For use on New Lawns and in Spring

Springtime and new lawns have one thing in common: they both require a rapid dose of nutrition. Scotts Turf Builder, which comes in a weed and feed variety, is my go-to product when thinking about a spring feeding for an existing lawn or when I’m dealing with a new lawn. It’s fast and powerful and provides a jolt of nutrients that is kind of like a morning coffee for your lawn.

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Comparison Between Granular Fertilizers?

The one thing that synthetic fertilizers have over organic is speed. Because they are fast-release fertilizers, you will see results in just two to five days. However, that’s really all it has over slow-release fertilizer.

Organic fertilizer has the added benefits of micronutrients, potash and microorganisms, and, because they are organic, they are not harmful to the environment and require less water.

Why Use Organic Granular Fertilizers?

One thing not to like about synthetic fertilizers is that they create a dependent relationship between your lawn and nitrogen. The grass starts to crave the nitrogen fix like you might crave a cigarette or sugar.

Slow release fertilizer, on the other hand, will work to make your lawn independent. If used correctly, organic fertilizers can teach your lawn to fight weeds on its own, which means saying goodbye to pesticides and herbicides forever.

When to Use Fertilizer for Best Results?

Knowing what time of day and how often to fertilize your lawn is one of those age-old questions that most people don’t agree on. My simple rule for this has never let me down. If the forecast calls for a scorcher, then I would fertilize in the afternoon. If it’s going to be a cool day, I opt for the morning.

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of sun expected on fertilizing day. Just like with people, your lawn can burn in direct sun. It’s best to put off fertilizing until you see clouds in the forecast.

How Often to Apply Granular Fertilizer

If you are using a slow release fertilizer, you should apply four times a year. A general rule of thumb is to apply fertilizer in late and early spring and then again in late and early fall. Summer is generally too hot.

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With slow-release fertilizer, you should water your lawn a day or two before applying to get it ready to decompose. If there is no rain in the forecast, you need to water a few days after you apply fertilizer.

Using fertilizer every six weeks in a granular form as part of your lawn care regime is the best way.

The synthetic variety needs to be applied more often and, most importantly, you need to keep children and pets off of it for 24 hours after applying. You don’t want Fido or your precious toddler to get a mouthful of turf that has been sprinkled with chemicals.

How Long Does Fertilizer Last in Soil?

Organic slow release fertilizer takes two weeks or more to decompose into the soil. Maybe a better question to ask is how long does it last in the soil? An organic, granular fertilizer may provide nutrients to your lawn for anywhere from three months to 10 years after application. Now that’s a lot of green for your buck. Scotts and Pennington are two major players in the lawn care product market that you may want to consider.

Does Fertilizer Go Bad?

So, now that you’re ready to start fertilizing, maybe you’re wondering about that old bag of fertilizer at the back of your shed? How long is that fertilizer good for? Fortunately, the nutrients in fertilizer don’t break down if they are kept dry. Even if humidity has caused the fertilizer to clump, simply break any lumps you find with a hammer and you are good to go.

To Sum Up

Results vary depending on the type of fertilizer used.

There are definite advantages and disadvantages to both organic slow release and synthetic fast release lawn fertilizers. What you choose to feed your lawn is up to you. If speed is of the essence, pick synthetic fertilizer. It dissolves quickly, so you’ll see results in a day or two.

If you are in it for the long haul and want to create a lawn that is more self-sufficient and has less of an environmental impact, I strongly suggest going with an organic slow-release fertilizer. It takes a little more time to decompose, but it’s worth it.