Grass requires a lot of water, proper mowing and regular fertilizer applications to keep it green and lush. All fertilizers, though, are not created equal and not all will actually help your lawn grow. In fact, some fertilizers can harm your grass. Therefore, keep several things in mind when selecting your fertilizer so you can find and purchase the best fertilizer for your yard.
Read the label carefully. Fertilizers are labeled with three numbers (e.g., 12-4-8) that indicate how much, in percentage, nitrogen (N), phosphate (P) and potassium (K), the fertilizer contains, respectively.
Find a fertilizer that is ideal for your type of grass. The required amount of nitrogen your lawn needs is based on your specific grass and how fast you want it to grow. Phosphate and potassium are based on your soil conditions, according to Clemson University. Take a sample of your grass and soil to your local county extension office for analysis and it will recommend the best fertilizer for your yard.
Choose between fast-release and slow-release fertilizers. Fast-release fertilizers work best in clay soils, while slow-release fertilizers are best in sandy soils. In other soil types, either one usually works fine.
Measure your lawn to figure out the approximate square footage, which is figured by multiplying length and width. You need this to help you know how much fertilizer to buy.
Research how much you need to buy. Read the package label for application rates, which depends on how much nitrogen is in the fertilizer and your lawn type. For a lawn that requires 1 lb. of nitrogen for every 1000 square feet, for example, you will have to apply 4 lbs. of a fertilizer that has 25 percent nitrogen (as indicated by the first number on the label).
Buy the fertilizer at a local garden supply store or dealer. Consider how many applications are recommended for the season and find a larger package, which will most likely be cheaper per pound than smaller packages.