Best Northern CO lawn fertilizer

Asked March 10, 2017, 1:20 PM EST

What is the best lawn fertilizer for northern Colorado? We have used Scott's in the past with no luck at all. Get a lot of weeds in our grass and weeds get worse with Scott's. Need a suggestion for something other than Scott's that works really well here in northern Colorado and also what the 3 numbers should be for the best fertilizer in this area. Thanks

Larimer County Colorado lawns and turf

5 Responses

Hello,

Tell me more about how and when you applied the fertilizer. Was it in spring? Fall? Did you use a push spreader? Was it set at the correct spreader setting for the fertilizer you purchased?

Also, tell me more about your other lawn practices...how often you irrigate, fertilize, mow, etc. The best defense against weeds in the lawn is to have a healthy, well-fertilized and well-irrigated lawn. The denser the lawn is, the less chance weeds have to develop. That said, you may have to do some weed control if you do have a lot of weeds currently (especially perennial weeds).

There is no "best" fertilizer for Colorado, but it does depend on your preferences of organic or synthetic. Of the three numbers on the bag, the first one is the most important (nitrogen). A synthetic fertilizer will have a larger percent nitrogen (15-46%) compared to organic (<10%).

You can apply both organic and synthetic with success, but knowing what you've done in the past and how you did it would be helpful.

Have lived in the same property for 20 yrs. Have applied fertilizer (with and without weed killer) spring and fall every year. Have a lot of dandelions, some clumps of crabgrass, etc. Lawn is NOT green like our neighbors, never does get really green but grows and have to mow about twice a week. Have used Scott's in the past and end up with more weeds and doesn't kill what we have. Have also purchased off brand at Gully's with higher numbers (the 3 numbers). Sprinklers are on about 2-3 times a week. Don't over or under water. Just need something (a name brand would be helpful) that is a good all around fertilizer and also one with weed killer in it to try. Something that is fairly easy to find in our marketplace. Thanks for your help

Hi again,

How are you applying the fertilizer? Do you use a spreader? A push spreader or a hand-crank spreader? Do you water in the fertilizer following application?

Again, the type of fertilizer really doesn't matter and could come down to application. I cannot recommend a specific product, as Extension is unbiased and we do not promote products.

Generally, if you use a fertilizer and apply it as directed, it will give you one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. If you're fertilizing twice per year, then that's two pounds, which should be sufficient for a lawn that is 20+ years old.

Do you mulch your grass clippings? Or do you remove them?

We have a program called Lawncheck where we make site visits to assess and offer recommendations on lawns. The cost is $75 and includes a consultation and written report. If you're interested in this, we can look to schedule sometime in the spring. Otherwise I am happy to help you with written correspondence.

We use a spreader to put the fertilizer on. Watering before and after as indicated on the bags so it sticks and then doesn't blow away afterwards. I am really careful about not getting too much on in one spot, etc. and it is set so that it spews out just the right amount. We have the clippings picked picked up and removed when the growing season is at his height. Early in the spring and late fall, there isn't that much grass to pick up so we don't. I can't afford $75.00 to have someone come and look at my yard, am on SS and set income. Can hardly afford the fertilizer and have to have it mowed as am partially disabled. I understand you can't give me a specific name brand but even several decent ones would help or at least tell me what to look for on the bags (29-0-4) or whatever the best recommendation would be. We had a beautiful yard years ago but can no longer find the fertilizer that we used to use. Think it was Mountain something.

You're probably thinking of Mountain States? It's a good fertilizer, but so are many of the others on the market.

As I mentioned, the most important number on the bag is the first one (nitrogen). Synthetic fertilizers will have higher amounts of nitrogen and you'll apply less "stuff" to get one pound of N per 1000 square feet. Organic will have a lower nitrogen number and you'll put on more "stuff" per 1000 square feet. The lawn doesn't care about the kind of nitrogen it receives, so you really can use whatever you'd like.

I truly think it's a problem separate from your fertilizer application, such as the sprinkler system or something else. We can still schedule a visit if you could consider making a donation to our office for the site visit.

If you'd like to do this, or can send me photos of the lawn, please email me directly: astoven@larimer.org