Understanding how to help your lawn to look consistently lush and green can feel like you need an advanced degree. But paying for a landscaper to come treat your yard can be expensive. Furthermore, many landscapers also rely on harmful chemicals to kill weeds and promote growth. Homeowners, meanwhile, would prefer more natural products to keep their families and pets safe.
If you’re hoping for a professional looking yard but have a do-it-yourself mentality, we can help. With a little bit of know how, getting your lawn in shape can be hassle free. There are several DIY lawn fertilizer recipes that use a combination of ingredients you probably have around the house.
These recipes will provide you with more control over what you put on your lawn. You can remain natural and organic to protect kids, animals, and the environment. Because these homemade lawn fertilizer recipes use common ingredients you can purchase in any grocery or big box store, you’ll also be getting the cheapest lawn fertilizer you can buy. Most synthetic fertilizers use expensive chemicals to create solutions aimed at working quickly.
Homemade fertilizers will work just as well with consistent and regular use. Here are not only some of the best DIY lawn fertilizer recipes, but also some tips on how to use them.
Ammonia is a common household ingredient that’s rich in nitrogen. In addition to its use in many common household cleaners, ammonia is a popular ingredient in many fertilizers.
Ammonia occurs naturally in soil as a result of the breakdown of manure, dead plants and animals. By using an ammonia-based fertilizer, you are helping to restore some of the essential nitrogen back into the soil.
To effectively make an ammonia fertilizer, you don’t need much more than ammonia and water. Use one cup of ammonia per one gallon of water. However, to make an even more potent fertilizer, try adding 1 can of beer, one-half cup of dish detergent, and one-half cup liquid lawn food.
Use about two ounces of your DIY fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of your lawn.
Epsom Salt Fertilizer
Epsom salt is derived from magnesium and sulfate. It’s widely used to as a healing agent, to alleviate rough, dry skin, and added to baths for a relaxing soak. It’s also great as a fertilizer for lawns and plants.
Use 2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt per one gallon of water for a basic, effective spray. However, you could also add one teaspoon of baking soda, and one-half teaspoon of ammonia to give your lawn an extra boost of organic nutrients.
Once you see how your lawn responds to the fertilizer, you can adjust the ingredients as necessary. Try spraying about once a month to start.
Beer is another common household item that makes an excellent fertilizer. (And, if there’s any extra, can make yard work a little bit more tolerable!) Because beer is full of carbohydrates, it acts as fuel for microbes and bacteria in the soil. Beer, primarily made from barley, hops, and water, has nutrients that promote growth and can energize your lawn.
While you could simply add beer and water to your lawn, adding a few other key ingredients will increase the effectiveness of this DIY fertilizer.
In addition to one bottle or can of beer (any kind), add one cup of club soda. The carbonation is beneficial as it adds carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen into the soil without extra sugars contained in regular soda. Add one cup of baby shampoo to help your fertilizer stick to the soil and grass. Be sure it is not antibacterial as grass needs good bacteria to thrive. You could also add one half cup of Epsom salt as a source of magnesium and sulfates.
Use between two and three ounces of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.
In addition to the ingredients above, mouthwash is another powerful ingredient that can be beneficial to your lawn. If your lawn is prone to pests and insects, try a DIY fertilizer recipe with mouthwash. Mouthwash has fungicidal properties that can get rid of pests naturally.
One quarter to one half cup can be added to any of the recipes above or try: one can of beer, one can of club soda, then one half cup each of ammonia, mouthwash, and baby shampoo.
Adding molasses to your homemade fertilizer solution can add even more benefits. The sugars in molasses (or corn syrup) act as useful carbohydrates which help to “feed” the lawn. Molasses also contain iron which has been shown to aid the photosynthesis process and yield a richer green lawn.
Be mindful though that the sugars, if too concentrated, can attract insects and pests. Be sure to keep the proportions minimal. Follow this recipe for best results: 1 cup of beer, 1 cup mild baby shampoo, 1 cup liquid lawn food, one half cup of molasses, one quarter cup ammonia. Add to one gallon of water.
Tips for Having Success with DIY Lawn Fertilizers
If it is the first time you are trying a DIY formula, consider running a spot check before applying to your whole lawn. Not all soil is the same and sometimes the proportion of ingredients will need to be adjusted. Give it a few weeks before applying to your entire yard. If your grass starts to yellow or begins looking stressed, double check you are not using too much fertilizer or you have too much of one ingredient.
When you’re ready, apply each of these recipes evenly and lightly across your lawn.
Water your lawn before and after applying the fertilizer. Wet soil will allow faster rand deeper absorption of minerals.
If you feel your fertilizer is not rendering noticeable results, aerate. Aerating your lawn can help to encourage the fertilizer mixture to better penetrate the soil. Aerating helps add more oxygen as well and spurs growth.
DIY fertilizers won’t fix major damage or turn a dirt pile into the fairways at Augusta National, but they will improve the look and appearance of your front lawn. Think of these recipes as vitamins to improve the appearance of your lawn and help it remain lush.
Remember This When Using Easy Homemade Fertilizers
Most of these recipes can be used once every two weeks but again, beware of signs of over fertilizing. These include a yellowing or burnt look to your lawn, a visible “crust” of fertilizer on the surface of the lawn, blackened or limp roots, or if your lawn is slow to grown after fertilizing. If you do notice any of these signs, stretch the time between fertilizer application. You could also try diluting your fertilizer solution with more water.
Homemade fertilizers are an excellent way to improve the look and health of your lawn without adding chemicals that are harmful to your family or the environment. They are easy to make and don’t require any specialty equipment or ingredients. They’re also easy to customize and adapt for your needs. Try one of these recipes and see how your lawn responds!