See why DIY Lawn Fertilizer from Home Depot and Lowes vs Online Retailers are better and more cost effective per square foot than you might think! Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seed for your yard’s conditions. Find the right match and top recommendations.
Weed And Seed Home Depot
DIY lawn care is actually much much cheaper than you think and today I’m going to talk through it when it comes to fertilizing your lawn and turning in double-dark green.
I’ve done posts like this before but it came up again recently when I was talking this weekend about the “Easiest Way To Get a Green Lawn, Fast.” In that video I talk about the 3 primary elements you want to look for in any fertilizer if you want to get your lawn green.
All 3 of those elements work directly with, on, or in chlorophyll. It just so happens that it’s chlorophyll that makes grass green. Push the chlorophyll and you push the color of the lawn, deeper, greener and even bluer. Check out the video here if you missed it.
In that video, I made a recommendation for those of you who don’t want to slog to the store and get fertilizer but would rather have something delivered right to your door. That product is 24-0-6 Flagship and it just so happens to have nice amounts of all 3 elements, and in some cases, those elements are in higher concentrations than anything found at your big box retailer anyway.
But why is the bag so expensive?
Answer: it isn’t when you break it down.
24-0-6 Flagship (with 3% Iron) and Bio-Nite™ – Granular Lawn Fertilizer is a 45lb bag and the cost is $55 delivered (includes shipping). So for sure, there is some shipping cost in there that takes the sticker price up some, but what I have done is formulated it to work REALLY well with a lower rate or what we call “fewer pounds on the ground.”
If you want to know the secret, that’s really it. I formulate my DIY lawn fertilizers to work VERY well at low rates. Throwing down less and getting the same results – let’s take a look.
Flagship DIY Granular Fertilizer: 45lbs
Application Rate: 3lbs/1,000 (this means you spread 3lbs of product across each 1,000 sq ft of lawn area)
Bag covers: 15,000 sq ft 45/3 = 15
So you can get 15,000 sq ft of coverage from just one bag. To find out how much this will cost you for a single application, you have to know your lawn size.
Don’t Let The Math Deter You!
If this is starting to get confusing, please DO NOT click away – instead, get yourself some DIY Yard Care training. I have helped thousands of DIYers learn how to care for their lawns by teaching them the basics of lawn care and a lot of that starts with things like understanding your lawn size, and learning the lay of your land.
Before buying any fertilizer, invest in yourself by getting some good training that will set you up for success now and in the future. It’s full video and audio training plus a forum where we answer your questions. I’ll teach you all about fertilizers, what they do and how to apply them and why. We talk about all grass types too. You also get your choice of my warm or cool season full e-guide at the end of the course.
It’s all there, and I know you’ll be more confident after completing this training. Sign up for Yard Care BootCamp here. It’s never too late to invest in yourself so you can translate the knowledge to your lawn.
If You Have a 5,000 Sq Ft Lawn
And we know that a bag of Flagship covers 15,000 sq ft, and you have a typical 5,000 sq ft lawn, then you can get 3 applications from one bag. At a cost of $55 for the bag, that means each application only costs you $18.33.
Not too expensive is it?
Now compare that to a bag of Scotts lawn food at the local Home Depot.
Can you see in the top right that this bag covers 5,000 sq ft? And what is the cost?
Pretty much the same as you getting some Flagship from me and having it sent right to your door.
So far we know Flagship is slightly cheaper and for sure more convenient. But how do these ferts stack up when it comes to nutrients?
I’ll tell you now – both are going to turn your lawn green. There really isn’t a “bad” fertilizer. And any company that is going to take the time to get themselves into a Home Depot is going to make sure their stuff brings the green. Plus, we all know Scotts: your dad and grandad used their products and had an awesome lawn right?
I can also tell you that Flagship works. My DIY friends all over FaceBook are posting results pics nearly everyday.
So how do these two stack up, side by side? Let’s look at the label:
The Scotts on the left has more nitrogen, that’s for sure. However, Flagship contains more potassium and more iron. Overall we can look at those as a wash.
Now the Scotts does have Sulfur and that is an important element, so I have to give them that one, but look at all the other minor nutrients that Flagship delivers for you.
Boron, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc. You will find those in short supply in many soil tests and here they are, riding along with the Nitrogen, Potassium and iron.
What About Bio-Nite?
Now, let’s look at one more differentiator and that’s the filler material. Truth be told, all fertilizers are actually mostly just “filler” material. There is only so much nutrient you can pack in before it becomes overkill so the rest is filler material to help make the fert easy to spread.
Most companies use something benign as their filler material – you could even say “useless” – and that’s ok. It’s just what is done.
With Flagship, however, I go a step further and add 10% of my filler as Bio-Nite. Bio-Nite is the Florida version of Milorganite and it contains additional slow release nutrients, including additional chelated iron, calcium and some other goodies. These are not claimed on the label because we use them as filler – but they are still there and they deliver the smell of success in the fert.
That smell of success is also great for building overall soil health because natural additives like biosolids (Bio-Nite is a biosolid) increase the soil’s overall carbon percentage. You don’t get that with the cheaper fillers used in the Scotts.
Lastly, there is the small business angle. Yard Mastery is now entering its third year in business my team and I work hard everyday to help our customers succeed while creating positive content for this community I have been building for more than a decade now. So let me once again say, “Thank you for supporting an American small business!”
I hope you’ve learned something here – even if you never buy fert from me, I hope you will take the thinking, approach and strategy I’ve taught you today and take better control of your budget as you continue on your DIY lawn care journey!
The Best Grass Seed of 2022
Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seeds for your yard’s conditions.
By Tony Carrick | Updated Jun 29, 2022 6:15 PM
BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Many homeowners dream of a lush, green carpet of grass upon which their children and pets can frolic. Growing a lawn that makes neighbors green with envy begins with choosing the right grass seed.
There is a seemingly endless variety of different seed types and products on the market, which can make choosing the right one an involved process. Climate, shade, and foot traffic all play roles in which grass seed is right for your lawn. This guide features factors to consider when choosing the best grass seed that will turn your yard into a striking carpet of green.
- BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade-3 in 1
- BEST BUDGET:Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix, 3lb.
- BEST WARM-SEASON:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
- BEST COOL-SEASON:Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses Sun or Shade
- BEST FOR DENSE SHADE:Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
- BEST FOR HIGH-TRAFFIC:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
- BEST KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass
- BEST BERMUDA GRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass, 5 lb
- BEST FAST-GROWING:Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
- BEST LOW-MAINTENANCE:Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
Types of Grass Seed
Grass seed falls into two main categories: warm-season and cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses endure hot southern climates much better than cool-season grasses. During the winter, warm-season grasses turn brown as they go dormant. Cool-season grasses grow quickly in the cool weather of fall and spring before going dormant in the summer heat. Warm-season grasses can be reseeded during the spring and summer, while spring and fall are the optimal time to reseed cool-season grasses.
- Bahia: This warm-season grass is popular in hot climates because of its heat tolerance and drought-resistant qualities. While other grasses burn to a crisp in the hot sun, with its broad leaves and coarse texture, Bahia grass thrives. This makes it an attractive grass species in the Deep South.
- Bermuda: As with many other warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass thrives in hot climates thanks to its exceptional ability to tolerate heat and withstand high traffic. Bermuda grass requires good drainage, full-sun exposure, and plenty of nutrients. The grass does not tolerate cold weather well, making it a good option in the southern part of the country.
- Buffalo: Even though it is considered a warm-season grass, buffalo grass thrives in a broad range of climates and is quite common in states such as Montana that experience harsh winters. Like other warm-season grasses, it goes dormant and turns brown in colder weather. Planting season for buffalo grass is from April to May.
- Centipede: Centipede grass is known for being heat tolerant and very low maintenance. This makes it a popular grass with those who don’t enjoy spending a lot of time managing their lawns. Centipede grass thrives in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Due to those requirements, it does best in the Southeast. Plant centipede grass seed in the spring when all danger of frost has passed.
- St. Augustine: One of Florida’s most popular grasses, St. Augustine can tolerate high heat and humidity. It features blue-green grass blades that spread quickly through a lawn. St. Augustine also can tolerate salt water, which makes it a popular option for coastal yards. Since it spreads rapidly, one of the most effective ways to establish St. Augustine grass is by planting plugs. Plant St. Augustine seed in the spring or the summer.
- Zoysia: Zoysia is a durable, dense variety of grass that’s known for its ability to stand up to heat, drought, and high foot traffic. Possibly the softest grass for bare feet, zoysia forms a dense lawn that chokes out weeds with very little maintenance required. Although some types of zoysia can only be grown from sod or plugs, some grass seed companies offer a variety that can grow from seed. Zoysia grass should be planted in the spring once the threat of frost has passed.
DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.
Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
Free Lawn Analysis
- Fescue: Tall, fine fescue grass seed is perhaps the most common grass type in the country. This is because it adapts well to many different climates as it tolerates heat, cold, shade, and drought reasonably well. This is primarily due to its deep roots that can reach as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Tall fescue is perhaps the easiest grass to grow, but it can suffer under heavy traffic. Plant and reseed fine fescue grass seed in the fall and spring. Shoppers will sometimes see fescue sold in all-season grass seed mixes, which claim they’re good year-round.
- Kentucky bluegrass: This is the type of grass most people imagine when they consider the perfect lawn. With its lush, deep-green appearance, Kentucky bluegrass is a prized species. This grass is not easy to grow, requiring a high level of maintenance and care. Its shallow root system does not tolerate heat well, making it more suitable for northern lawns. Kentucky bluegrass should be planted and reseeded in the spring and fall.
- Perennial ryegrass: Perennial ryegrass should not be confused with annual ryegrass, which is a temporary grass used for erosion control. Perennial ryegrass comes back year after year. Ryegrass germinates quickly, making it popular for new lawns. It does best in colder climates with mild summers; however, it can still be found in the southern part of the country. Perennial ryegrass should be planted or reseeded in the fall.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed
When deciding which grass seed is best for a front yard or a backyard oasis, it’s crucial to consider several important factors, including climate, maintenance, and sun requirements. A good grass seed should thrive in the specific conditions of your yard. Check below for some of the elements you should consider when purchasing the right grass seed.
With enough determination and money, you can grow most of the above grass seeds just about anywhere in the country. It’s not uncommon to see beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawns in the baking heat of the Southwest. But going against climate guidelines will make the job a lot harder and more expensive, requiring significant investments in irrigation systems, water, and fertilizers. Paying attention to climate will make establishing a lawn much more manageable. Consider where you live and what grass types will thrive in your region with minimal maintenance and watering.
Reseeding vs. New Planting
How you go about reseeding a lawn versus planting a new lawn is quite different. When seeding a new lawn, you’ll be applying seed to the bare dirt you’ve prepared for new planting. For reseeding, you’ll be attempting to thicken an already existing lawn. With that in mind, you typically need about twice as much seed to start a new lawn as you need to reseed an existing lawn.
Grass types vary in how well they tolerate foot traffic. If you have kids or pets and plan to use your backyard extensively as an area for play, consider selecting grass types that can take some abuse and still keep on growing. Zoysia and Bermuda grasses are the most tolerant of foot traffic, while fescue does poorly with heavy traffic.
While some property owners enjoy fussing over their lawns, many homeowners dread long hours spent maintaining a yard. Consider which grass types require the least amount of care and how much work you’re willing to put into a lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, requires annual dethatching, while perennial ryegrass will not self-repair and requires patching. Bermuda grass, in comparison, requires very little maintenance.
Various grasses tolerate different levels of sun exposure. Some grasses, such as Bermuda grass, demand full sun but other varieties, such as tall fescue, do well with partial shade. Assess the sun exposure of your lawn to determine a good lawn grass seed for the lighting conditions there. Some seed companies produce specific seed mixes for full shade, full sun, or lawns with shaded areas and full-sun areas.
Single Seed vs. Mix
When selecting a type of grass seed, you can choose one specific seed type or a blend that combines several different species. Go for a single seed type if you’re trying to achieve a particular look for your lawn. While single seeds are more difficult to maintain, the effect of a single species lawn can be well worth it.
Mixes are easier to grow and maintain because companies blend the mixes for improved drought or heat tolerance. They also generally grow more uniformly with little need for patching. However, your lawn will lack the attractive uniform look of a single species lawn.
Despite your best efforts to prepare your yard for seeding, some seeds simply weren’t meant to become plants. This is where germination percentage comes into play. Germination percentage is a measure of the viability of a collection of seeds. It is calculated by dividing the number of seeds that germinate by the total number of seeds.
Given how much grass seed can cost, the higher the germination percentage the better, and it mostly relates to seed quality. Although you might be tempted to buy the cheapest grass seed on the shelf, chances are it will have a lower germination percentage, resulting in significant waste. High-quality grass seed has a 90 to 95 percent germination rate, making it worth the additional investment.
Our Top Picks
You can find grass seed for sunny areas, shade, high traffic, hot and cold climates, and more. These top-rated grass seed picks cover lots of lawn and grass types to suit various uses.