How much does it cost to fertilize a lawn?
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Lawn Fertilization Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
If you want to increase the health of your lawn and boost the rate at which it grows at the start of the season, fertilizing your grass can help. Fertilizer adds the right nutrients to your soil so that your grass can grow and come in thick, lush, and green. Most people have their lawns fertilized right before the main growing season of the year - in the spring and summer - but some of them may need additional fertilization or treatment throughout the year if there have been chronic problems in the past.
The average cost to fertilize a lawn ranges from $200 to $500, depending on the fertilization type and size of the area. The average cost of professional lawn fertilization is around $400, covering approximately 10,900 sq.ft. of lawn and includes fertilization materials, supplies, and labor costs. On the low end, you could pay as little as $50 for a single application that is included with an existing lawn care package. At the high end of the price range, some people spend as much as $600 on aeration and premium fertilizers to cover a half-acre (20,000 sq.ft.) of grass.
Lawn Fertilization Prices
|Lawn Fertilization Cost|
|National average cost||$400|
Cost to Fertilize a Lawn per Acre
The average cost to fertilize a lawn ranges from $200 to $500, depending on the fertilization type and lawn size. The average cost of professional lawn fertilization is around $400, covering approximately 10,900 sq.ft. of lawn and includes fertilization materials, supplies, and labor costs. On the low end, you could pay as little as $50 for a single application that is included with an existing lawn care package. At the high end of the price range, some people spend as much as $600 on aeration and premium fertilizers to cover a half-acre (20,000 sq.ft.) of grass.
|Size||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|⅛ Acre||$200 - $300|
|⅙ Acre||$250 - $350|
|⅕ Acre||$275 - $375|
|¼ Acre||$300 - $400|
|⅓ Acre||$350 - $450|
|½ Acre||$400 - $500|
|¾ Acre||$450 - $550|
|1 acre||$500 - $600|
Cost to Fertilize Lawn per Sq.Ft.
The average cost to fertilize a lawn per sq.ft. is between $0.02 and $0.08, with most people spending about $0.04 per sq.ft. on professional fertilization that includes labor and materials. Some people need premium services or additional work done, increasing the cost per sq.ft. to as much as $0.40 or more. The exact cost per sq.ft. depends on the type of fertilizer being used and the exact services being performed, including additional services like aeration. Most landscapers and lawn care companies price by the square foot; however, some also offer per acre prices if the area is quite large.
|Square Footage||Cost (Labor Included)|
|500 sq.ft.||$10 - $40|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$20 - $80|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$50 - $200|
|5,000 sq.ft.||$100 - $400|
Liquid vs Dry Fertilizer Cost
The average cost range for liquid fertilizers is around $150 to $600 for application over a 1/4 acre. Dry fertilizers cost about $100 to $400 for the fertilizer and labor costs to put it down. Typically, liquid fertilizer will be more expensive than dry products, but that also depends on the exact products involved. For example, a liquid synthetic chemical fertilizer might be cheaper than a dry organic compound because the latter is organic. More important than the cost is deciding which type of application will be best for your lawn.
The cost differences are so minute in the big picture that it’s far more beneficial to choose the right product, not just the cheapest one. Liquid fertilizer is easy to handle, apply, and blend with other products, but granular products may offer a more precise application and have better slow-release options. Another consideration is whether the liquid or dry fertilizer could affect things like kids or pets, but there are generally safe products available in both categories. Your fertilization specialist can help determine which type of fertilizer is best for your lawn.
|Type||Cost for 50-Pound Bag (Labor Included)|
|Dry||$100 - $400|
|Liquid||$150 - $600|
Organic vs Synthetic Fertilizer Prices
Most fertilizers come in two varieties, organic and synthetic. Both help nourish your lawn and give it what it needs to grow. Synthetics tend to be faster-acting and more powerful. It is possible to overuse them if you are not careful. Organics work more slowly, but it is difficult to use too much. They also do a better job of enriching your soil.
Synthetics tend to be less expensive in general. It is possible to find some less-expensive organics, depending on the brand, what you need the fertilizer to do, and the fertilizer type. In the table and subsections below, we discuss the average costs of synthetic and organic fertilizer, how the costs are determined, and what factors could impact how much you spend. These numbers are based on a 50-pound bag, which is typically the amount needed to cover 5,000 to 10,000 sq.ft. of lawn.
|Type||Average Costs to Apply a 50-Pound Bag (Labor Included)|
|Synthetic||$100 - $300|
|Organic||$200 - $500|
The average synthetic fertilizer cost is much cheaper than organic fertilizer, costing around $100 to $300 applied to a 5,000 to 10,000 sq.ft. lawn. Synthetic fertilizers are cheaper because they are easier to make. They are composed of compounds that are affordable to create or use. They are also more readily available, which helps offset the cost. Some people don’t like to use chemicals, however, so they may be willing to pay for organic fertilizer.
Organic fertilizer costs, on average, $200 to $500 for the materials and labor to fertilize a 5,000 to 10,000 sq.ft. lawn. The market for organic fertilizers is continuing to expand, making them more readily available. This helps lower the costs, but it is still a bit more expensive than a synthetic counterpart. While everyone has their own opinion on what will be best, your landscaper will be the best one to determine what’s right for your job, depending on the various circumstances. Organic fertilizer certainly has its benefits for the cost, including being a safer choice for homes with kids or pets.
Lawn Fertilizers Cost by Type
Applying fertilizer ranges in price from $100 to $600, depending on the type. Depending on the type of grass you have, the climate you live in, and your overall goals for your lawn, you may need a specific fertilizer. Fertilizers come in a broad range of synthetic and organic varieties. Your landscaper may recommend or use one specifically, while others allow you to choose. For example, the weed and feed cost will be higher for an organic weed killer compound than a synthetic one. Your lawn care professional will advise you on the best option, regardless of its formula or cost.
In the table below, you will find the price for a 50-pound bag of fertilizer and the labor to have it placed on the lawn. On average, this amount of fertilizer covers 5,000 to 10,000 sq.ft. of lawn.
|Fertilizer||Average Costs for Synthetic 50-Pound Bag (Labor Included)||Average Costs for Organic 50-Pound Bag (Labor Included)|
|Fast Release||$100 - $300||$125 - $325|
|Moss and Fungus Control||$100 - $325||$125 - $325|
|Weed and Feed||$100 - $325||$125 - $325|
|Gradual Release||$125 - $325||$350 - $500|
|Crystalline||$125 - $325||$350 - $500|
|Granular||$125 - $350||$150 - $350|
|Water Soluble||$125 - $350||$150 - $375|
|Liquid||$150 - $350||$150 - $600|
Fast-release fertilizers cost $100 to $325 on average, depending on whether they are organic and synthetic. These products are preferred because they are easy to use and work right away. They are frequently liquid but can be water-soluble or granular. They feed your lawn quickly, not over an extended time. They may be used in addition to long-acting fertilizers or weed control products or on their own.
Moss and Fungus Control
Moss and fungus control fertilizers cost an average of $100 to $325 and are great to help feed the lawn while killing moss and eradicating fungus. If you have issues with moss or fungus, you can get a fertilizer that helps with this. Synthetics do this by adding chemicals that kill the weeds but not the grass. Organics do this by changing the soil’s chemistry.
Weed and Feed Cost for Weed Control
The average cost for weed and feed herbicides and fertilizers ranges from $100 to $325. This type of fertilizer feeds the plants you want to flourish in your lawn while fighting against any weeds that are present. The herbicides fight against dollarweed, dandelions, and other leafy weeds. The feed is a mixture of nitrogen, potassium, and/or phosphorus that makes the lawn grow healthy and green.
Gradual-release fertilizers have an average cost of $125 to $500. These fertilizers are designed to nourish your lawn for a longer period. They are better for lawns that need help all season rather than those that just need a quick boost before the growing season starts. If you have a lawn that has ongoing issues, this might be a better alternative to paying for regular fertilization with short-acting products.
Crystalline fertilizers cost between $125 and $500, depending on the formula chosen and whether it is organic or synthetic. These fertilizers are less common and are generally made up of very specific nutrients that you want to add to your lawn. You may want to have your soil tested before using this fertilizer to find out exactly what is missing and what you need to add.
Granular fertilizer is one of the more common types and has an average cost of $125 to $350. It is typically a gradual-release formula that is scattered over the lawn and dissolves slowly with water. These fertilizers are easy to come by, and they are often the more affordable option for those who want something organic that isn’t going to cost a small fortune.
The average water-soluble fertilizer price is between $125 and $375. Water-soluble fertilizers are usually a solid form that is dissolved in water before application. This is applied using a specific sprayer that hooks onto your hose. It is important to ensure that these products are mixed properly to guarantee complete coverage and protection.
Liquid fertilizers cost between $150 and $600, depending on whether they are organic or synthetic and how much is needed. These fertilizers are usually mixed with water and sprayed onto your lawn. They are easier to work with than water-soluble fertilizers since you do not need to wait for them to dissolve into the water. They do have the highest price, but they typically produce the best and longest-lasting results with the easiest application.
Lawn Fertilizer Service Cost
Of the average cost of $1,000 to fertilize a lawn of 10,900 sq.ft., the labor portion makes up about 80% to 90% of the cost. Labor makes up a big portion of the cost to fertilize a lawn. Landscapers usually purchase fertilizer in bulk, so they do not pay the same price per bag as you do. They may charge less for materials because of this. Depending on the company or landscaper you choose, they may charge labor by the hour at a rate of around $50 to $100 per hour, but it is generally charged by the sq.ft. The amount of time required depends on the size of the lawn and the method being used to fertilize. The average is around one to two hours for a ¼- to ½-acre property.
Average Cost to Fertilize Lawn per Year
Many landscapers offer discounts if you sign up for regular services. This includes having your lawn fertilized up to 10 times a year at roughly $50 to $100 a visit for a total yearly price of $500 to $1,000. The discounts typically allow you to spend 10% to 25% less than you would with single fertilization services. Other annual packages are available as well through lawn care companies. In some cases, landscapers provide packages that include fertilization and other lawn care services, such as aeration, grub control, and dethatching.
Lawn Treatment Cost by Company
The three major companies hired for lawn fertilization charge an average of $300 to $800 for their services on a lawn that is 10,900 sq.ft. depending on the size of the area and the materials used. Several well-known companies provide lawn fertilization services, but these are the most popular services people choose for this project. Each has its own types of materials or methods used, rates, and other considerations. In the table and sections below, we will look at the average cost of each service, what’s included, and other important things to know.
|Company||Average Cost per Application (Labor Included)|
|Scotts Lawn||$300 - $500|
|Lawn Doctor||$400 - $700|
|TruGreen||$550 - $800|
Scotts Lawn Service
The average Scotts Lawn Service cost is between $300 and $500, depending on the conditions of the lawn and the type of treatment requested. Some people spend more on this service if they have a bigger area that needs fertilization. Others spend less if they have a smaller yard or choose a less comprehensive treatment plan and ongoing maintenance. Usually, these services are offered as yearly maintenance plans and are provided as one-time services. Scotts Subscription Lawn Program is a personalized plan based on your location, lawn condition, and grass type that includes various lawn care services.
Lawn Doctor Fertilization Service
Lawn Doctor fertilization service costs an average of $400 to $700 with a yearly maintenance contract, depending on the fertilizers used and the conditions of the lawn being treated. This company provides a selection of customized maintenance plans for consumers to ensure that people get the services they need. They have a strong reputation and offer organic fertilizers in addition to synthetic chemicals. Lawn Doctor offers annual treatment plans that include fertilization and weed services. Other annual options are available for mosquito and tick control.
TruGreen Lawn Service
TruGreen lawn service prices average $550 to $800, making them some of the most expensive in the industry. However, the company is known for providing higher-quality products and more detailed or comprehensive services for customers. The brand also has a strong reputation and offers a wider selection of organic fertilizers and products. They can provide fertilization, weeding, and other maintenance solutions. Annual plans are available that range from basic services like weed control and fertilization to more intensive help, including aeration, overseeding, and shrub and tree care.
When to Fertilize a Lawn?
The most common time to fertilize a lawn is at the start of its growing season. Depending on whether you live in a warm or cool climate, this could be anytime from the spring to summer months. However, your lawn may have other needs that vary the timing of the fertilizer application. For example, if your lawn has weeds you want to kill, wait until after they come up, but while your grass is still growing, before applying a weed and feed fertilizer. Some lawns that need a lot of help may require periodic applications of fertilizer to help facilitate good growth. Speak to your landscaper about a schedule that will work for you and your lawn.
How Much Fertilizer for a Lawn?
Another consideration in your project is how much fertilizer you’ll actually need. Several factors must be considered here. Even though a lot of the focus has been on square footage, that is only one of the things that affects how much fertilizer you need. Fertilizer is a key element in maintaining a healthy lawn. When it isn’t done correctly, it can be bad. There is even such a thing as too much fertilizer.
For starters, you’ll want to plan for a total of five feedings throughout the season to deliver the best results. You’ll also want to think about the type of fertilizer you’re spreading and how it spreads. For example, a professional might be able to apply a liquid in a short time. Granules might require a little more material to cover the ground well.
The final consideration is the amount of nitrogen that different grasses need throughout the season. The amount of fertilizer you need depends on the type of grass you have and its nitrogen requirements. This is where working with a professional comes in handy. They know the requirements for different types of grass and how to apply the correct amount of fertilizer for each job.
Compost vs Fertilizer
Compost and fertilizer are two different materials that have two different purposes. Compost feeds the soil like fertilizer, but the latter is designed more to help with the growth of plants, including grasses. On the other hand, compost is more focused on restoring the nutrient balance in the soil just for the sake of creating balance. Composting is becoming a popular choice for those who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint. It can be an affordable way to improve the health of your soil. However, fertilizer may still be needed for total lawn health. On average, fertilizing ¼acre of lawn costs between $200 and $500, while introducing compost to the same yard size ranges from $100 to $500.
|Type of Application||Cost per ¼ Acre (Labor Included)|
|Compost||$100 - $500|
|Fertilizer||$200 - $500|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Lawn aeration costs about $140 for the aeration of a 10,900 sq.ft. lawn. When you seed your lawn, you may want to aerate and fertilize it to facilitate good growth. Aeration involves removing the physical barriers preventing the soil and grass from absorbing nutrients and allowing air and water in to promote a healthier lawn.
Crabgrass treatment generally costs an additional $30 to $80. If you have crabgrass, you may want to treat it with your weed control regiment. Crabgrass might not seem like a problem, but it can be unappealing and isn’t very comfortable to walk on. It may invite insects and other unwelcome guests into your lawn, leading to further damage.
Getting rid of grubs costs an average of $30 to $80, depending on how severe the infestation is and what kind of grubs you have. The size of the area being treated may also impact the cost. Grubs may show up in your lawn during the later months of the summer. They attract other pests that may dig holes in it. Using a grub-killing fertilizer treatment usually helps eliminate the problem and adds a little extra boost to your lawn.
Adding lime to the soil costs $2 to $3 per pound. A 50-pound bag of lime fertilizer is enough for 1,000 sq.ft. of lawn. Grass grows best in acidic soil. If your soil is not very acidic, have a lime treatment done to facilitate good growth. This treatment is typically done in addition to fertilization and other treatments, but it can also be done as a standalone service. Speak to your professional to learn more about adding lime.
Dethatching has an average cost of $265 to $295. Sometimes a layer of dead and living roots and material buildup between your grass and the soil, making it hard for the fertilizer to reach the soil. Dethatching removes this layer of buildup so that the soil and grass grow as they should and get the nutrients they need. Removing the dead roots and buildup provide better water and air intake, as well.
The average cost of mulching is around $150 to $400 and can be done to enhance your newly fertilized lawn. Mulching is decorative, but it can be a protective feature in your landscaping, promoting proper drainage and protecting plants from the elements and various creatures or insects. Many people choose to have a complete lawn service performed with fertilization or different services to enhance the overall look of their lawn. Putting down mulch is often done in tandem with fertilization and other maintenance tasks. The exact cost depends on the size of the area being mulched and what type of mulch is used.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. While it is possible to apply your own fertilizer for less money, using a professional service means that you also gain their expertise. They know which fertilizers will work best for your lawn and determine when it is safe to use your lawn after applying certain synthetic fertilizers.
- Safety concerns. Always read the label and follow instructions carefully when using fertilizers. Proper application keeps your children and pets safe and prevents lawn damage.
- Benefits. Fertilizing helps your grass grow thicker with stronger roots, which may reduce weeds. It also helps prevent soil erosion and mud buildup.
- Proper application. Using the wrong fertilizer type on your lawn can burn the grass and leave it looking worse than before. The fertilizer must be spread properly to ensure even distribution and at the correct time in the growth cycle. It is important that the grass is not too wet or the ground too dry when applying fertilizer to ensure that the right amount of the nutrients reach the grass and prevent denitrification or burning of the plants.
- Fertilizer composition. Most fertilizers contain varying amounts of specific chemicals, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The exact amount of each of these, as well as other materials in the mix, depends on several factors, including location, soil type, grass type, and what you want to accomplish with your lawn. Your landscaper can assist you in determining the correct fertilizer for your lawn.
- What is the best lawn fertilizer for early spring?
This depends on the grass type and your goals, but generally, a gradual-release fertilizer designed for your soil acidity is the right choice.
- How much does it cost to have your lawn fertilized?
The average cost to fertilize a 10,900 sq.ft. lawn is around $400.
- What should I put on my lawn in the spring?
This depends largely on your lawn needs, but generally, either lime or a good gradual-release fertilizer is the best choice.
- What is the best fertilizer for tomatoes?
This depends on your soil type, but bone or blood meal works well in all kinds of gardens.
- How often should you fertilize your lawn?
This depends on the needs of your lawn. Some lawns require fertilizing every 6 weeks, others only once a year.
- Can I fertilize right after mowing?
If you bag the clippings, yes in general this is fine. Otherwise, the clippings could prevent the fertilizer from reaching the roots.
- Should I fertilize my lawn before or after rain?
If the ground is not too dry, fertilizing before it rains is better.
- How much does a bag of fertilizer cost?
Fertilizer has a wide range of costs depending on how many square feet it needs to cover, fertilizer type, what it is designed to do, and whether it is synthetic or organic. A 50-pound bag of fertilizer covers between 5,000 and 10,000 sq.ft. The cost of this bag ranges between $100 and $600, depending on these factors.
- What if I put too much fertilizer in my lawn?
Placing too much fertilizer on your lawn causes the salt and nitrogen levels to rise very quickly. This leads to dead grass or yellow and brown strips of grass across an otherwise green lawn. Removing any excess fertilizer is important to avoid severe damage to a lawn.