best nitrogen fertilizers

5 Best Nitrogen Fertilizers For Lawns and Gardens

With a huge choice of fertilizer products available to the domestic gardener, narrowing down your selection can seem overwhelming. So our experts have picked the best nitrogen fertilizers for any situation.

Whether you looking for the convenience of a leading brand or looking for a more organic natural fertilizer, we’ve done the homework to turn your garden, lawn, or allotment into a green, and bountiful paradise.

What Is Nitrogen Fertilizer

High nitrogen fertilizer put simply is a nutrient source used by gardeners and growers to feed their plants, vegetable, or lawn.

The active ingredient of the fertilizer, in this case, nitrogen, plays a specific role in vegetative growth, and development. When we read the label on a fertilizer product it will display what called an NPK value. This value presented as three numbers E.g. 10-10-10 represents the ratio of active ingredient contained within the product formula.

The active ingredients or macro-nutrient are Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P), and Potassium (K) which correspond to the number on the compound list. So in our example 10 parts nitrogen, 10 parts potassium, and 10 parts phosphate (10-10-10).

Each of these macro-nutrient delivers specific effects to the plant. In the same way Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat provide specific needs within the human diet.

Nitrogen (N)

Nitrogen is primarily responsible for supporting vegetation growth. Often also referred to as the green growth of the plant material. So nitrogen helps plants in the earlier stages of your shoot growth right the way through to the expansive growth of stems and new leaves. It provides that beautiful healthy green appearance of the vegetation.

Phosphate (P)

Phosphate or phosphorus’s main role is to support healthy and abundant flower production leading to higher yields of fruit and seeds. It also contributes to healthy root growth as a secondary role.

Potassium (K)

Potassium or potash is responsible for the healthy development of the plant’s roots and stems. It will also have a minor secondary role in supporting flower and fruit production.

Different Types of Nitrogen Fertilizers

Fertilizers high in nitrogen can plan various roles for us as gardeners and depending on your purpose you may want the high nitrogen food source to be delivered in a specific way.

For example, you may want a granular feed for easy application across a large lawn area. Or perhaps you need a quick injection of liquid feed for your tomato plant’s vegetative growth. But we will cover this in more detail later.

Before we get into the detail of the types and forms of high nitrogen fertilizer, we need to explore our position what form the nitrogen is derived from.

Manufactured Nitrogen Fertilizer

There are many inorganic commercially manufactured nitrogen fertilizers on the market, made with specific control if the NPK based on their intended use. The nitrogen compound is produced by processing hydrogen and nitrogen to produce ammonia. Which is then refined further to produce the fertilizer.

These products are convenient and very effective in terms of purpose and application. For example, you can buy a specific fertilizer with the macro-nutrients design for outstanding performance for treating lawns or perhaps a general-purpose plant food.

Lawn Fertilizer

Typically the macro-nutrients formula will be NPK 10-1-5, meaning high Nitrogen (N) for vegetative growth and moderate Potassium (K) for healthy root development.

General Plant Fertilizer

General-purpose plant food will have a slightly different macro-nutrient make up with a higher phosphate ratio, where the NPK maybe 10-6-5.

Given the manufactured nature of this type of fertilizer, you can find just about any blend of nutrients you desire whether you’re feeding a lawn, growing roses, or looking to develop record size root vegetables.

Natural Nitrogen Fertilizer

Natural high nitrogen fertilizers are exactly that, meaning the nitrogen content is created through natural processes. You can buy commercial products over the counter whereby natural materials are processed into a convenient form and readily available. Or you can try to obtain the material in its natural raw form, which often is not ideal for use in all scenarios.

A few examples of the NPK of natural high nitrogen fertilizer materials:

  • Blood Meal 12-0-0
  • Feather Meal 12-0-0
  • Worm Castings 1-0-0
  • Poultry Manure 3-2-0
  • Rabbit Manure 7-2-0
  • Tea Leaves 4-1-1
  • Silkworm Cocoons 9-1-0
  • Bat Guano 7-3-1

Typically when purchasing a bag of natural high nitrogen fertilizer, you will be purchasing a blended product, best suited to its intended application.

If you have an abundant supply of one or more of these materials at home, and can process it for use, it could be a great organic option. But in practice, it isn’t convenient given the quantity required and the processing required to allow you to distribute it evenly across your lawn.

As an example, for use on lawns you will need to powder it or produce a liquid ‘tea’ form of fertilizer for each application. So understandably most people will prefer to buy a bag of blended finished products.

How To Apply Nitrogen Fertilizer

There are lots of different ways to apply high nitrogen fertilizer, based on the intended use and the form of the product (granule, powder, liquid). Always check the manufacturer labels for specific instructions on commercially purchased products.

Top Dressing

Topdressing is a method used for powders and granules. It is best to apply top dressing in spring, just ahead of the main stages of vegetative growth of your plants, vegetables, or lawn.

Broadcast the material across grass or place around the base of plants, avoiding direct contact with leaves or flowers, to avoid scorching. Topdressing will provide a slow release of the fertilizer as it dissolved and seeps into the soil.

Base Dressing

The base dressing is where you incorporate the fertilizer into the soil or growing medium.  Basically, apply a top dressing and dig in, or mix directly with potting composts or soil during the planting or potting-on process.

Watering In

Watering in fertilizer is applicable to liquid feeds. Generally, you will be required to mix the concentrate with water (ideally rainwater) and spray or pour into the soils around the plants. This will provide faster absorption and can be a great way of providing a ‘recovery’ shot of macro-nutrients to plants showing signs of slow growth or to boost root development.

Foliage Spray

A foliar spray is simply a diluted concentrate sprayed directly on the vegetative growth to correct nutrient deficiencies. The most tender parts of the plant will provide better absorption of the nutrients. Take care to avoid foliage spray in bright strong sunlight (can cause scorching) or just before the rain (to avoid washing off).

5 Best Nitrogen Fertilizers For Any Situation

We’ve tested and reviewed the best nitrogen fertilizers for every situation. From easy to use lawn fertilizers to organic products suitable for your vegetable plot. So let’s take a look at our 5 top picks.

Best Nitrogen Fertilizer For General Use

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

When it comes to commercially manufactured high nitrogen fertilizers there are not many products that can match Miracle-Gro’s product range and proven track record. Based on performance alone, many people will argue it’s the best nitrogen fertilizer on the market.

Of course, the beauty of this product is the convenience factor. Use this with Miracle Gro’s Watering Hose Garden Feeder Kit, allowing you to water it into very large areas in no time at all. Or just pour the stated amount of product into your watering can or spray and apply to lawn, plants, or vegetables.

This general-purpose high nitrogen fertilizer is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. 1.5lb covers 600 sq feet of garden. NPK 24-8-16. Recommended use every 1-2 weeks.

Pros
  • Proven track record of delivering results
  • Easy to use and fast-acting
  • No scorch guarantee
Cons
  • Premium price for a premium brand

Best Water Soluble Lawn Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Lawn Food

Yes, its Miracle-Gro again! When compared to the many other products we have tried over many years of treating lawn, Miracle-Gro just delivers predictable and reliable results. I guess that’s why it’s the biggest brand on the market.

This purpose made lawn feed is formulated for turfgrass with high nitrogen and chelated iron; it feeds through both the roots and grass blades.

This general-purpose high nitrogen fertilizer is specifically designed for use on the lawn. 1.25lb covers 600 sq feet of lawn. NPK 30-0-6. Recommended use every 2-3 weeks.

Pros
  • Stripe free, deep green grass
  • Visible results in one week
  • Water-soluble for use with spray kit
Cons
  • Premium price for a premium brand

Best Nitrogen Fertilizer for Lawns: Granular

GreenView Fall Lawn Food

If your looking for a slow release granular feed then GreeenView Fall Lawn Food may be right for you.

A granular feed has different qualities to the liquid spray feed. You will need to apply the granules in the fall and leave it sitting over winter. This will give your lawn a head start in spring by up to two weeks and offer 8 weeks feeding period to allow the grass to really establish a strong root system. Being granular it can be broadcast with a spreader for quick application.

We recommend applying a fall feed and follow it up through the growing season with a liquid spray every 2-4 weeks for the best results.

16lb of product will cover 5,000 square feet of lawn. NPK 20-0-10.

Pros
  • Great for strong spring growth
  • Slow release, feeds for 8 weeks
  • Low cost for large coverage
  • Can use in a broadcast spreader
Cons
  • Needs to be applied in fall/autumn
  • May still need a liquid feed throughout the growing season

Best Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer For Lawns

Espoma EOFW30 Organic Fall Fertilizer

Espoma Organic Fall Fertilizer works in much the same as GreenView Lawn Fall Food. Apply in fall and you will get an early boost on your lawn, with an extended feeding period from the slow release formula resting in the soil. The only real difference being Espoma’s Organic ingredients.

Made with feather meal, poultry manure and potash its an easy product to apply as a top dressing.

30lb covers 5,000 square feet. NPK 8-0-6.

Pros
  • 100% Organic
  • Can use in a broadcast spreader
  • Added potash to support healthy root development
Cons
  • Organic nature makes it more expensive than other product

Best Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer: General Use

Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer Mix

Blood meal is a traditional organic high nitrogen fertilizer. It provides a readily available source of nitrogen in powder form for use as a top dressing or base dressing.

If organic traditional gardening is your priority then there’s no need to look any further than blood meal. The one downside of using animal-based products is that they ironically attract interest…from animals. But this is true of blood meal, bone meal, fish meal. It’s advisable to take extra precautions to protect your crop if you have a risk of deer or other large animals in the surrounding area.

Coverage 2-4lbs per 100 square feet. NPK 12-0-0

Pros
  • 100% organic
  • Easy to apply, just sprinkle or broadcast
  • Present no risk to animals or waterways
Cons
  • May attract the interest of wildlife
  • Relatively expensive to use on large areas

Summary: Best Nitrogen Fertilizer

That concludes our review of the best nitrogen fertilizers for general use and for lawns. No matter what your needs we’ve shared top-rated and tested products on our shortlist.

Consider what you intend to use your nitrogen fertilizer for and whether you need a powder, granule, or spray. Then your own priorities will decide the rest; organic, low cost, or a brand with a proven track record of delivering time and time again.

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