Granular vs Liquid Grass Fertilisers

Granular vs Liquid Grass Fertilisers

As we have discussed, coated, soil soluble, quick and slow release fertilisers all have their place in the Green keeping and Lawnsmithing armouries. It is not a matter of which type of lawn fertiliser is best but which is the best for you and your lawn now and for the following few weeks or months.

Utilising the various qualities and aspects of these lawn fertiliser products will make life easier on you and produce a more consistent healthy response in the grass. This is particularly true when deciding whether to use dry (coated or soil soluble) or liquid feed.

Base Feeding the Lawn

In the professional arena fertiliser is routinely applied as a dry solid to base feed the turf. This is the human equivalent of breakfast, lunch or dinner:

  • It is the only way to get the required quantity of nutrients into the soil cost effectively and in one go
  • It is relatively quick and easy to apply
  • If it is a slow release fertiliser it can feed for months
  • It is often applied at a less than maximum rate but sufficient for good general health

Demand Feeding the Lawn with Liquid Fertiliser

Once again in the professional arena fertiliser is also applied when required. This is NOT routine feeding and more often than not is applied as a liquid. This is the human equivalent of an apple, kit-kat or banana as a snack between meals:

  • Liquid fertiliser is applied to the leaves of the grass (foliar feeding) by spray and enters the plant by the leaf not the roots
  • The response is very quick
  • Slow release or quick release fertilisers can be used
  • Weather patterns change so feed can be added or withheld
  • Allows feeding to be done when needed or predicted
  • The amount applied is smaller in comparison to dry fertiliser. Therefore the effect is limited and may need to be repeated at regular intervals
Liquid fertiliser.

Demand feeding is not better than base feeding – they are a partnership where an underlying nutrient level is maintained by granular products with supplementary liquid feeding as required.


Do not assume chemicals can be mixed. For example iron and seaweed products do not mix with weed killers. Don’t mix two chemicals unless the products specifically allow this.

No fertiliser works on dry grass. Dry products will not be taken up but liquid products can damage dry leaves as they contain salts which may increase the drying effect causing scorch or burn.

Foliar feeding requires a sprayer or a watering can with a sprinkle bar; a rose is not very effective. Weedkillers and iron sulphate solutions can also be applied this way.

You can quite easily supply your lawn with all its nutrient requirements with dry slow release fertilisers. You may not have the flexibility you would by using a combination of dry and liquid fertilisers but what you lose in flexibility you gain in speed and convenience. There is no ‘right way’ so I leave this down to your preference and enthusiasm.