One of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lawn is fertilization, especially when your lawn is struggling to grow no matter what you do. Many issues can prevent your grass from becoming as lush and green as you would like, but there are certain products that can help!

If you’re new to lawn care or are unaware of what fast-release fertilizers are, keep reading to learn more. The information in the blog post will help you understand what fast-acting fertilizers are and if they are right for your lawn!

How Does Fast-Release Fertilizer Work?


Fast-release (commonly called quick-release or fast-acting) fertilizers work by providing an instant boost of essential nutrients required by your lawn in order to grow. This fertilizer typically comes in liquid form, which is applied with a sprayer, hose-end applicator, or irrigation system. The nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (known as NPK), are quickly absorbed by the grass, promoting greener leaves and better root growth than you would see from just the naturally occurring resources in the soil.

Fast-release fertilizers contain a variety of micronutrients like iron or magnesium, to name a couple, but they are able to take effect so quickly because of their concentration of the NPK macronutrients. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for quick grass growth, and it works even quicker when it is used in a highly water-soluble, liquid product. These products are able to be absorbed into the soil immediately after application, resulting in fast and tall grass growth taking place within a matter of days.

Pros & Cons Of Fast-Release Fertilizers

spraying fertilizer on a lawn

The biggest advantage of fast-release fertilizers is the immediate results they offer. Your lawn can become greener and healthier in just a few days after applying the product. This fertilizer is ideal for homeowners who want to achieve quick results and do not have the patience or time to wait weeks for their lawns to thrive. It is also helpful in areas where the soil is deficient in nutrients, as is the case with all types of fertilizers.

On the downside, fast-release fertilizers can encourage excessive growth, leading to frequent mowing and increased maintenance. This excessive growth is also known to cause grass to become thin and weak, which is commonly referred to as fertilizer burn. When compared to slow-release or granular fertilizers, there are some clear pros and cons of fast-release products:


  • Quick results
  • Easy to apply
  • Covers more ground
  • Consistent nutritional content
  • No clean up required on paved surfaces
  • Easier to tailor mixtures to specifications


  • Turf stress caused by rapid growth
  • Can evaporate on a hot day
  • Will wash away in the rain
  • Frequent reapplications needed
  • Shorter shelf life
  • More expensive in bulk

Types Of Fast-Release Fertilizers

liquid fertilizer spreader

There are several types of fast-release fertilizers, each with different nutrient ratios and delivery systems. When selecting a fast-release fertilizer, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements of your soil and grass. A soil test can help determine the nutrient needs of your lawn, and certain options may be better than others if you need immediate results for your lawn.

  • Liquid – This type of fertilizer, which is pre-mixed and immediately ready to use, is the simplest and most effective option for beginners. Pre-mixed liquid fertilizers are already blended with water when you purchase them, and they often come in convenient hose-end sprayers. All you have to do is attach it to your garden hose and turn on the water, without having to do any diluting or mixing yourself!
  • Powder – Also known as water-soluble fertilizers, this option entails mixing water with a powdery concoction packed with nutrients and minerals, which you purchase in powder form. Gardeners are more likely to use this option than lawn care enthusiasts, as powder fertilizers usually come in very small packages that can’t cover an entire lawn.
  • Concentrate – While this option is the most effective for lawn care, it is best left to the pros! Liquid concentrate fertilizers come in the form of a highly concentrated solution with all the nutrients your lawn needs. This option allows the most freedom in picking out and tailoring an NPK ratio to the specific needs of your lawn. However, these highly concentrated solutions MUST be mixed thoroughly with water, or you risk destroying the grass you are trying to help!

Fast-Release Fertilizer vs. Slow-Release Fertilizer

Slow-release fertilizers are designed to deliver nutrients gradually over time, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients for the lawn. They dissolve slowly and improve soil health as they seep into the lawn. They are less prone to leaching and runoff, which can be harmful to the environment. However, slow-release fertilizers do not provide the immediate results of fast-release fertilizers, which means you have to wait longer to see the grass growth you are hoping to achieve.

Homeowners and lawn care enthusiasts enjoy slow-release fertilizers because they focus on improving soil quality, whereas fast-release options focus on feeding the roots of your lawn as directly as possible in order to see quick growth. While both options have their merits, fast-release fertilizers are the only choice to make when it comes to immediate results. Once grass growth is reestablished with fast-release fertilizers, focusing on improving soil quality can help maintain the lush lawn you have created.

When & How To Apply Fast-Release Fertilizers

lawn fertilization

The best time to apply fast-release fertilizers is during the growing season, typically from spring to late summer. It’s important to apply the fertilizer when the grass is dry and there is no risk of rain for at least 24-48 hours. This enables the fertilizer to settle in the soil and prevents it from being washed away. It is also important to avoid applying these fertilizers in the hottest part of the day to avoid evaporation. The best time of day to apply any liquid-type fertilizer is in the late afternoon or early evening.

Before applying the fertilizer, be sure to mow the lawn to its proper height and remove any debris that might interfere with the application. Use a spreader or sprayer to apply the fertilizer evenly, taking care not to overapply the product. It’s important to follow the package instructions and wear gloves and protective goggles when handling the fertilizer. Walk at a steady pace across your lawn to make sure every area gets treated evenly.

  • REMEMBER! Fast-release fertilizers are most effective for new and dying lawns. Soil that is struggling to support grass growth can get a quick boost from fast-release fertilizers, but proper lawn care must take place once growth is achieved!

Play It Safe With Professional Fertilization

Close up photo of grass with a blurred background

Fast-release fertilizers are an excellent option for homeowners who want to see quick results in their lawn’s growth. They provide an immediate boost of nutrients, helping the grass to become greener and healthier in a short time. However, it’s important to use them responsibly and follow the application guidelines to prevent harmful overfertilization. For the best results, call a local fertilization service provider like Tuxedo Yard Care! Using a professional service is the best way to ensure that you get the best results possible without damaging your turf!

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