Is 10-10-10 Fertilizer Good for Lawns? (When and How to Use)

Using the right kind of fertilizer gives your lawn a lush green color that is enviable in your neighborhood. Different kinds of fertilizers are in the market, and you may want to try 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizers.

So, is 10-10-10 fertilizer good for lawns?

10-10-10 fertilizer is best for your lawn since it contains abundant nutrients. It has high ratios of primary nutrients required by the lawn i.e., Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). It is also found in different forms and easily absorbed by the lawn.

Is 10-10-10 Fertilizer Good for Lawns

10-10-10 fertilizer is suitable for lawns and other non-fruiting plants, such as trees, flowering plants, shrubs, and vegetables like broccoli and lettuce. However, it is not suitable for fruiting plants or vegetables.

It contains a high amount of nitrogen that may promote lush foliage growth at the expense of fruits.

It is easy to apply this type of fertilizer on your lawn since it comes in different forms that include:

Using liquid fertilizer on your lawn is ideal when you want quick results. The lawn absorbs it almost immediately after application. Nutrients are readily available to the plant in a liquid form. You will be able to see positive results within 1 to 5 days.

Conversely, it may take 1 to 2 weeks to see results when using slow-release granular or organic fertilizer. They take more time to break down into a form that a plant can absorb. The good thing is that the plants absorb them for a longer period as compared to liquid fertilizers.

Before applying fertilizer on your lawn, read and understand the recommended application rate. Generally, you may apply at the rate of 1 pound per 1000 square feet of lawn or 45 grams per square foot. Water the lawn lightly after applying the fertilizer.

When should you use 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn?

Knowing the best time of the year for applying fertilizer on your lawn is important for a positive result. When it comes to 10-10-10 fertilizer, it is recommended to apply it on the lawn in early spring when the grass growth is most active.

10-10-10 fertilizer contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The high amount of nitrogen will help the lawn to grow lush green. Phosphorus and nitrogen promote root development and resistance against diseases and pest attacks.

Fertilizers improve the health of your lawn. However, it can harm your plants and the soil when used inappropriately. Excessive application of 10-10-10 fertilizer, especially during the summer season, may result in lawn fertilizer burn.

A more potent dose can also cause soil compaction. Be sure to use a rate of 10 pounds per 1000 square feet of lawn. It is also important to understand that a granular fertilizer dose is applied at a spacing of 30 days. While liquid fertilizer can be re-applied after every two weeks.

Like any other fertilizer ratio, 10-10-10 fertilizers have their own advantages and disadvantages. It contains chemicals that can harm your health, plants, and soil. It has a high risk of corrosion. Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions before using.

Check: How long to keep the dog off the grass after fertilizing

How to Use 10-10-10- fertilizer on your lawn

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn:

1. Conduct a Soil Test

Before applying any fertilizer to your lawn, conduct a soil test. Your lawn may not even need fertilizer in the first place. A soil test helps determine the exact nutrients lacking in the soil. It also provides recommendations on the proportions needed.

If the soil has a deficiency of the three primary nutrients, i.e., Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Then you can go ahead and apply 10-10-10 fertilizer to your lawn. However, if the soil lacks only one primary nutrient, you must choose a fertilizer with a different ratio. You can find soil test kits many places online.

2. Determine the Grass Type

When intending to apply 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn, collect the grass sample and take it to an extension office to determine whether it’s a cool or warm season variety. Cool-season varieties are fertilized once in spring and twice in the fall. Spacing should be 30 days from the first application.

On the other hand, fertilize warm-season grass twice in both spring and fall. Apply the first application when new growth starts to appear. A second application should be 30 days later.

3. Understand the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Before applying fertilizer to your lawn, read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions. They give information on how to apply the fertilizer, safety precautions, nutritional ratios, and company information.

4. Prepare your lawn before the Fertilizer Application

It is important to prepare your lawn adequately before fertilizer application. Mow the lawn and water adequately to moisten the soil. Fertilizers may not break down easily when applied on dry soil. It may also cause stress and burns to your lawn. Allow leaf blades to dry completely before fertilizer application.

5. Wear Protective Gear

Fertilizer contains harmful chemicals that are detrimental to your health. Applying fertilizer to your lawn without wearing protective gear can cause chemical burns on the skin and other ailments. Wear gloves, gumboots, safety goggles, a face mask, and long pants.

6. Apply Fertilizer

Apply 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizers at the rate of 10 pounds per 1000 square feet of lawn. Calibrate the spreader to release fertilizer at this rate.  Measure the fertilizer and pour it in the spreader before positioning it on the walk sides to deliver it to the lawn.

7. Water the lawn

After fertilizer application, water your lawn to a depth of 3 inches to dissolve the fertilizer in the soil. This can be achieved by positioning a sprinkler at the center of the lawn to reach the entire grass surface.

Also check: Why 15-15-15 is Not Good for Lawns

How long does it take 10-10-10- fertilizer to work?

You have applied 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn, and you are wondering how long it takes to see amazing results. However, it depends on the type of fertilizer you are using. Generally, there are two forms of 10-10-10 fertilizer: liquid and granular.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers are quick-release; the lawn absorbs them through the leaves and roots almost immediately after application. Therefore, you will see a noticeable change in a few days. In liquid form, the nutrients are readily availed to the plant.

Liquid fertilizer also tends to be gentler when applied to the lawn. There are reduced chances of lawn burn-out. Also, it doesn’t crust on the soil to stress the plants. It is easy to apply; you pour it into a sprayer, mix it with some water, and are ready to go.

Like any other type of fertilizer, it has its pros and cons. Since it is a quick-release fertilizer, you may fertilize your lawn more often than needed. Additionally, it is more expensive due to its convenience of use.

Liquid fertilizer can freeze when not stored properly, especially during the winter. When frozen, some chemical reactions may degrade its nutritional content. They also have an expiry date and cannot be stored longer once opened.

Granular Fertilizer

Granular fertilizers are either synthetic or organic. Synthetic fertilizers are quick-release. Therefore, you will likely see results 1 to 5 days after application. Synthetic fertilizers contain nutrients that are readily available for your lawn. They don’t need to undergo decomposition to release nutrients into the soil.

Granular synthetic fertilizers require water to dissolve before releasing the nutrients. Ensure your garden is watered well before application. You do not want to burn your carefully natural lawn. One better thing about granular synthetic fertilizers is that they are readily available at a lower price.

On the other hand, it will take more time to see results when you apply granular organic 10-10-10 fertilizers on your lawn. They take more time to decompose before releasing nutrients into the soil.

Also Check: How Long Does Lawn Fertilizer Last

Final Thought

10-10-10 fertilizer is an all-purpose formula suitable for lawns, trees, and some vegetables in your garden. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are primary nutrients required by plants. Apply the fertilizer at the right time and correct ratios for a lush green lawn.


  1. NC Agronomic Division: A Homeowner’s Guide to Fertilizer
  2. University of Massachusetts: Fertilizing Guidelines
  3. Clemson University Cooperative Extension: FERTILIZING LAWNS

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