Is fertilizer made for grass or soil?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

Simply put, the answer is that fertilizer is good for both grass and soil. Treatments made for both grass and soil will differ slightly depending on your needs. Fertilizers treat the soil. Lawn food treats the grass. The purpose of each product is to ensure that your garden has an adequate supply of nutrients available in it depending on the quality of your soil, and the type of grass you have. 

There are some key differences between fertilizer and what is considered “lawn food”, for your grass sometimes, you need to treat the soil, and other times it’s the plants themselves. Both treatments have their importance in the garden but you should read on to help decide which is the better option for you. 


Fertilizers are used to adjust the chemical makeup of the soil. Fertilizers come in different forms, such as liquid, granular, and powder. It is imperative that you fully read the instructions that come with the fertilizer you choose, as each product will differ slightly. Keep in mind that liquid fertilizers are absorbed more quickly by the soil and root systems. Granular fertilizers take time to break down and be absorbed so they are a slow-release fertilizer. 

Lawn Food

Lawn food is a mixture of chemicals that are formulated specifically to promote green grass and strong roots. You can purchase lawn food with herbicides included to perform double duty: your lawn will be nourished and it will also nutritive and straggling weeds. Lawn food is made to be absorbed quickly and is a good option if your yard just needs a quick boost

Seasonal Grasses

Most plants could benefit from a bit of fertilizing from season to season. It is important to understand the plants that are in your yard and the conditions that they like to have met. Warm-season and cold-season plants need to be fertilized at different times of the year. Some species prefer more phosphorus than they do nitrogen. The more you know about the specific plants in your yard, the better prepared you will be to give them what they need. 

Soil Testing

Soil testing is an option to help get you on the right track. If you inspect your lawn and see that your grass has yellowed out in a particular area, you may be tempted to apply a nitrogen fertilizer. That is certainly an option, but if it doesn’t help or worse yet, burns grass – you may want to consider soil testing. A soil sample is collected from your yard and tested for all core nutrients. This will tell you exactly what you have and what you’re missing. 

Treat Your Whole Yard

With just a little bit of research on the particular needs of your lawn, and using a combination of fertilizers and lawn food, you can treat your whole lawn to ensure that everything is well nourished. Always be careful to measure products carefully, because “too much of a good thing” does exist in this scenario. There are a wide variety of products on the market so there is no trouble finding a blend to treat your individual yard. 

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