The Pros and Cons of Liquid vs. Granular Lawn Fertilization

Dry Granular Fertilizer for Lawns

Pros

1. Allows much greater flexibility in administering a program. Instead of a "one size fits all" approach, products can be easily substituted or changed to fit the specific needs of a property.

2. More controlled-release nutrient sources can be used. Although initial green-up takes a little longer, the results last MUCH longer. A properly selected dry-granular fertilizer can accomplish in four applications what it takes five or six of a liquid, fast-release application to accomplish. Since the price you end up paying is based on the number of applications made, you can actually save money with a dry-granular application.

3. Fertilizer and pesticides are not tank-mixed together. Two separate trips are made over your lawn; one for fertilization, one for pesticide application. Not only does the extra trip increase the thoroughness of the application, but pesticides are only applied in areas where they are needed.

Cons

1. Controlled-release nutrient sources are more expensive to purchase. Some companies charge more for their services because of this.

2. Much more time is necessary at each site, first to make two trips over the lawn. Second to sweep stray fertilizer granules off of paved surfaces and back onto the turf.

Liquid Fertilizer for Lawns

Pros

1. Nutrients are already in solution, and are immediately available to the plant. While most nutrients are absorbed by the plant's root system, a very small amount can be taken in through the leaves. This results in a quick green-up of the lawn within just a few days of the application

2. Fertilizer and pesticides are mixed together and sprayed on in one pass over your lawn, saving time and money.

3. No clean-up to do -- just spray and go. This saves time which saves money.

4. Nutrients are less expensive to purchase. Since the lawn care companies mix huge quantities of solution at a time, nutrients and pesticides are purchased in bulk quantities from an inexpensive source, saving a substantial amount of money.

Cons

1. Since the nutrients are already in soluble form, most of them are readily available to the plant. Fast-release supplies of nutrients are usually used which produce good results for awhile, but they don't last. This is why some companies who make liquid applications aim for more applications per season. The extra applications are needed to maintain the color of the lawn.

2. Because pesticides are already mixed in with the fertilizer, pesticides end up being applied over your entire lawn, many times in areas where it's not needed. Constant "blanket" applications of pesticides are not a part of good turfgrass management.

3. The cost savings to a company who makes liquid applications are substantial. If these savings aren't passed along to the consumer, the consumer loses.