spread compost on lawn v fertilizer on lawn

Compost Vs Fertilizer For Lawn

So your lawn is looking barren or unhealthy and you know you want to add compost or fertilizer to it to make it healthy again but you aren’t sure which is the best option.

There are benefits to both options and in this article, I will do my best to explain what they are.

If you are wondering what is the best option compost vs fertilizer for your lawn you are on the right track as you are looking to do something that will greatly improve the health of your lawn.

Have a read and I’ll try and help you decide what the best option for your own individual situation is.

It is really a matter of preference how you care for your lawn. Compost is a more organic way to add nutrients to your lawn but it takes longer to have an effect when you apply it. Chemical fertilizer will have a more immediate effect on your lawn but it means you are adding chemicals to your lawn.

Benefits Of Compost On Lawn

When you add compost to your lawn it will not have an immediate effect and will take some time for its nutrients to work their way into the soil where it will then start to have a benefit.

Adding compost to your lawn does not directly feed the grass, what it does is enhances microbial activity in the soil that is already there which then benefits the grass.

Adding a layer of compost to your lawn as topsoil is definitely the most environmentally friendly way to improve the health of your lawn as it adds all the natural bacteria and organisms back into your soil.

Your grass constantly feeds off the nutrients that are in the soil so eventually, there will not be enough of these nutrients to maintain a healthy lawn.

Compost is the ultimate recycling project as you are literally taking waste produce and turning it into natural fertilizer and using it to grow your grass.

To sum up the benefits of using compost on your lawn:

  • Completely organic lawn feed.
  • Recycling your waste is good for the environment.
  • Improves the health of the soil.
  • Should result in greener grass.

That is some of what I believe are the main benefits of adding compost to your lawn but read on and I’ll tell you about some of the benefits of using fertilizer on your lawn.

To learn what to do if you do accidentally put a heap of compost on your lawn Click Here.

Benefits Of Fertilizer On Lawn

When you use fertilizer on your lawn, if you do it correctly, should result in thicker, more healthy and greener grass.

The advantage of using fertilizer compared to compost is that it doesn’t alter the soil but it is more like you are directly feeding the grass which means you should see results a lot more quickly.

Another advantage of using fertilizer is that you can use different types of fertilizer at different stages of the growing season, for example, you may want to use a different fertilizer for spring, summer, and fall.

When you use fertilizer on your lawn it will make your grass healthier, will result in fewer weeds growing, and the grass that grows should be more resistant to pests. To sum up some of the benefits of using fertilizer on your lawn:

  • See the results almost immediately.
  • You can tailor your fertilizer routine for the seasons.
  • Improved resistance to weeds and pests.
  • Keeps your lawn nutrient-rich.

I would definitely recommend you fertilize your lawn in one form or other as the soil will eventually become depleted of nutrients it needs to feed the grass and keep it healthy if you don’t.

Do I need fertilizer if I use compost?

When you regularly use compost to feed your lawn then it should have enough nutrients and be healthy enough that you don’t actually have to add any chemical fertilizer.

If your lawn is currently looking unhealthy and you are considering whether to use fertilizer or compost then using both will not do any harm.

When you use fertilizer on your lawn you should see the effect almost immediately whereas if you use compost it will take time for the nutrients to get down to the soil. Any fertilizer that is not absorbed by your lawn should get absorbed by the compost and then released kind of like a slow-release fertilizer.

If you properly look after your lawn then you shouldn’t actually need to use fertilizer and compost together if it’s an emergency and your lawn is in terrible condition then go for it.

Check out my article on whats best fresh topsoil or compost by Clicking Here.

How To Use Fertilizer On Your Lawn

When you decide to apply fertilizer to your lawn there are some decisions you will have to make like what type of fertilizer do you want to use, granular or liquid and what is the best way to spread them evenly over your lawn

  • Use a drop or broadcast spreader for granular fertilizer.
  • Use a spray bottle or hose-end applicator for liquid fertilizer.

It is definitely a good idea to use one of these devices when it comes to spreading fertilizer over your lawn as is difficult to spread the fertilizer evenly by hand.

You may also decide to use different fertilizer for different seasons and what you choose also depends on the variety of grass on your lawn.

You should also learn what the numbers are on fertilizers like 29-0-5, these numbers represent what’s in the mix so this example will have 29% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus, 5% potassium and the rest will be made up of filler materials.

For fertilizing at the start of spring I would go for a 20-5-10 mix, this prepares your lawn for the heat and drought of summer.

For summer fertilizer I would use a 32-0-4 mix, this will strengthen your grass and help it recover from adverse conditions and wear.

For fall I would use a 13-25-12 mix, this stimulates root growth which should result in healthier grass over winter.

How To Use Compost On Lawn

If you’re planning on using compost on your lawn you have to be careful how you apply it as if you get it wrong your lawn could turn into one big pile of mud and that is not what you want to happen.

When you are applying compost to your lawn the idea is to spread a thin layer that is only about ¼ to ½ an inch thick evenly over your lawn.

You do have to keep the layer of compost thin otherwise it could block out too much sunlight and the grass would turn yellow and become unhealthy and that is the opposite effect you are looking for.

To calculate how much compost you actually need to apply to your lawn you should use approximately ¾ of a cubic foot for every 1000 square feet you need to be covered and that should work out to be a thin layer.

I would recommend that you do make adding a layer of compost as topsoil a regular thing as it is the most natural way to add the healthy nutrients back into your soil.

You don’t necessarily have to add compost every year but maybe every other year is the way to go.

Please browse some related articles you should find interesting:


Compost v Fertilizer For Lawns
Compost v Fertilizer For Your Lawn