Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Can You Use Lawn Fertilizers in Gardens?

...
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Garden plants cannot distinguish between the nutrients supplied in fertilizers applied in the landscape, regardless of what the product name suggests. The amount of nutrients, which varies in formulations among fertilizers, does result in different effects, however.

Significance

Lawn fertilizers typically are richly abundant in nitrogen and quite lean in other nutrients like potassium and phosphorus. Nitrogen in the soil allows plants to grow new stems and leaves, which is ideal for a lush green lawn but not ideal for other plants in a diverse garden.

Effects

All garden plants utilize the nitrogen supplied in lawn fertilizers, but the large amounts of nitrogen in lawn fertilizer formulas isn't ideal for nongrass plants. Applying too much nitrogen in the garden causes plants to increase growth rates and produce lots of leaves. The lack of certain nutrients in the lawn fertilizer causes the explosion of leafy growth to falter or become weak. Excessive nitrogen also doesn't promote flower production in the garden -- undesirable in an ornamental landscape.

Potential

As long as the lawn fertilizer doesn't contain a pesticide or herbicide chemical that would harm other garden plants, the fertilizer may be used. To prevent application of too much nitrogen, scatter the fertilizer at one-fifth or one-fourth the rate. Apply another fertilizer that supplies other nutrients to create a well-balanced nutrient application.

Warning

Some plant types in general do not respond well to high dosages of nitrogen. According to Learn2Grow, conifer evergreens don't typically respond well to excessive nitrogen applications, for example.

Related Articles

Uses of Chemical Fertilizers
Uses of Chemical Fertilizers
Fertilizer for Impatiens
Fertilizer for Impatiens
What Are the Dangers of Miracle Grow?
What Are the Dangers of Miracle Grow?
How Often to Apply Miracle-Gro to Grass
How Often to Apply Miracle-Gro to Grass
Can Ashes From Charcoal Briquettes Be Used As Fertilizer?
Can Ashes From Charcoal Briquettes Be Used As Fertilizer?
Are Leaves Good as a Fertilizer for a Garden?
Are Leaves Good as a Fertilizer for a Garden?
Effectiveness of Ironite Fertilizer
Effectiveness of Ironite Fertilizer
The Difference Between Plants & Weeds
The Difference Between Plants & Weeds
Information About Momentum Broadleaf Weed Killer With Fertilizer
Information About Momentum Broadleaf Weed Killer With...
What Does Phosphorus Do for Plants?
What Does Phosphorus Do for Plants?
Alternatives to Weed & Feed
Alternatives to Weed & Feed
What Does Ironite Do for Lawns?
What Does Ironite Do for Lawns?
Why Does Over-Fertilization Kill Plants?
Why Does Over-Fertilization Kill Plants?
How to Put Ironite on Bermuda Grass
How to Put Ironite on Bermuda Grass
Garden Guides
×