Is 10-10-10 Fertilizer Good for Lawns? How to Use

Using the right kind of fertilizer gives your lawn a lush green color that is enviable in your neighborhood. There are different kinds of fertilizers in the market and you may want to give a try to 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer. So, is 10-10-10 fertilizer good for lawns?

10-10-10 fertilizer is best for your lawn since it contains abundance of 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 that are 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 in your garden such as: trees, flowering plants, shrubs and certain vegetables like broccoli and lettuce. However, it is not suitable on fruiting plants or vegetables. It contains 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:

  • Easy to use liquid 10-10-10 fertilizer,
  • Slow-release granular fertilizer and
  • Organic fertilizer

It is ideal to use liquid fertilizer on your lawn when you want a quick results. It is absorbed by the lawn 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.

On the other, it may take 1 to 2 weeks to see results when you use slow release granular fertilizer or organic. They take more time to break down into a form that a plant can absorb. The good thing is that they are absorbed by the plants for a longer period of time as compared to liquid fertilizers.

Prior to application on your lawn, be sure to read and understand recommended application rate. In general, 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?

It is important to know the best time of the year for application of fertilizer on your lawn in order to get a positive results. When it comes to 10-10-10 fertilizer, it is recommended to apply on the lawn in early spring when the grass growth is most active. Fertilizing your lawn in winter season is optional as the plants are normally dormant during this period.

10-10-10 fertilizer contains equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. High amount of nitrogen will help the lawn to grow lush green. Whereas phosphorus and nitrogen promote root development and resistance against diseases and pest attack respectively.

Fertilizers improves the health of your lawn. However it can be detrimental to both your plants and the soil when used inappropriately. Excessive application of 10-10-10 fertilizer especially during summer season may burn your lawn.

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 granular fertilizer dose is applied at a spacing least 30 days. While liquid fertilizer can be re-applied after every two weeks.

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

Prior to handling the fertilizer, ensure you are wearing protective gear such as gloves, face mask, long sleeved coat, goggles and gumboots to prevent direct contact with skin. Prevent your pets from direct contact with the fertilizer.

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

Prior to applying any fertilizer to your lawn, be sure to conduct a soil test. Your lawn may not even be in need of fertilizer in the first place. Soil test helps to determine the exact nutrients that are lacking in the soil. It also provide recommendations on the proportions needed.

If the soil has 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 is lacking only one primary nutrient, then you have to choose fertilizer with a different ratio.

2. Determine the Grass Type

When intending to apply 10-10-10 fertilizer on your lawn, collect the sample of the grass and take to an extension office to determine whether it’s 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. Second application should be 30 days later.

3. Understand the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Before applying any 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 the company information.

4. Prepare your lawn prior to Fertilizer Application

It is important to prepare your lawn adequately prior to fertilizer application. Mow the lawn and water adequately to moisten the soil. Fertilizer 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 in your lawn without wearing protective gear can cause chemical burns on the skin and other ailments. Wear gloves, gumboots, safety goggles, face mask, long pants and shirt.

6. Apply Fertilizer

Apply 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer 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 position it on the walk sides to deliver the fertilizer to the lawn.

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

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 with the type of fertilizer you are using. Generally, there are two forms of 10-10-10 fertilizer: liquid and granular fertilizer.

Liquid Fertilizer

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

Liquid fertilizer also tend to be gentler when you apply to the lawn. There is reduced chances of lawn burn-out. Also, it doesn’t crust on the soil to stress the plants. It is easy to apply, you just pour it in a sprayer, mix with some water and you 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 find yourself fertilizing your lawn more often since the nutrients are quickly absorbed by the lawn. Additionally, it is more expensive due to its convenience.

When not stored properly, liquid fertilizer can freeze especially during winter season. When in frozen state, some chemical reactions may take place to degrade its nutritional content. They also have an expiry date, cannot be stored for a longer period once opened.

Granular Fertilizer

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

Granular synthetic fertilizers requires water to dissolve before releasing the nutrients. Ensure your garden is watered well prior to application. You do not want to burn your carefully natured lawn. One better thing about granular synthetic fertilizers is that they are readily available in the market at a cheaper 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. However, they improve fertility, drainage and the overall health of the soil when incorporated into the soil before planting.

Final Thought

10-10-10 fertilizer is an all-purpose formula suitable for lawn, trees and some vegetables in your garden. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which are primary nutrients required by plants. For a lush green lawn, apply the fertilizer at the right time and correct ratios. You do not want to burn your carefully natured lawn.


  1. NC Agronomic Division: A Homeowner’s Guide to Fertilizer
  2. University of Massachusetts: Fertilizing Guidelines

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