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  • Writer's pictureJohn C

Fast-Release and Slow-Release Fertilizers: Choosing the Best for a Healthy Lawn

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

A bag of lawn fertilizer.
A bag of Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4 in 1 lawn fertilizer sitting on top of a lush green lawn.

The journey to a lush, green lawn is paved with many decisions. Among the most crucial is the choice of fertilizer. The fast-release and slow-release options each have their own set of benefits. In this blog, we’ll delve deep into both types to help you make an informed choice for your yard.

Understanding Fertilizers:

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to understand what fertilizers are. At their core, fertilizers provide essential nutrients to plants. These nutrients boost the growth of plants and enhance the quality of the soil.

Fast-Release Fertilizers:


  1. Quick Results: If you're looking for an almost immediate green-up of your lawn, fast-release fertilizers are the way to go. They dissolve and release their nutrients quickly, providing a swift boost to your grass.

  2. Cost-effective: Generally, fast-release options are less expensive than their slow-release counterparts. If budget is a concern, this might be your go-to choice.


  • Short-lived: The effects of fast-release fertilizers are ephemeral. You might find the need to reapply frequently to maintain the green vibrancy.

  • Risk of Burn: Due to their quick release, there's a higher risk of "burning" the grass if applied excessively. Always follow the recommended application rate.

Slow-Release Fertilizers:


  • Long-lasting Effects: Slow-release options provide a steady supply of nutrients over a longer period, reducing the need for frequent applications.

  • Uniform Growth: Since the nutrients are released gradually, the grass grows more uniformly.

  • Reduced Risk of Burn: Slow-release fertilizers have a lower risk of Scorching your lawn because of the controlled nutrient release.


  • Initial Cost: They might be more expensive upfront compared to fast-release options.

  • Slower Green-Up: If you're looking for an immediate result, you might need to wait a bit longer with slow-release fertilizers.

Making the Right Choice:

  • Assess Your Lawn’s Needs: If your lawn looks pale and needs a quick pick-me-up, a fast-release fertilizer might be a good short-term solution. For long-term health and reduced maintenance, slow-release is preferable.

  • Consider Your Maintenance Routine: If you're someone who doesn’t mind frequent lawn care activities, then fast-release might be suitable. However, if you prefer fewer applications and more prolonged benefits, lean towards the slow-release.

  • Budget: If you’re on a tight budget and need an immediate solution, fast-release could be ideal. However, remember that while slow-release options might be pricier initially, their long-term effects might make them more cost-effective in the long run.

JC's Comment:

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to fertilizers. In summer I apply Miracle-Gro 4in1 complete fertilizer about every 6 weeks and Miracle-Gro Autumn & Spring lawn food, once in Spring and Autumn (fall).

My choice:

Summer -

Spring & Autumn -

Whether you choose fast-release for that immediate lushness or slow-release for sustained health, the end goal is a vibrant, thriving lawn. Happy gardening! JC


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