Can organic lawn fertilizer scorch your grass?

A while back, I came across a Youtube guide about lawn fertilizer. In this guide, the uploader claimed that beginners should use organic lawn fertilizer. Why? Because “it won’t damage your grass if you use too much.” “You can’t really make a mistake with it”, he remarked.

The Youtuber in question was pretty knowledgeable about lawn care. He had all of the right tools, and in fairness to him, his lawn did look immaculate.

However, I think that he was wrong about this particular piece of advice. That or he over-exaggerated how “fool-proof” organic fertilizer actually is.

Can organic lawn fertilizer damage your grass if you apply too much?

Yes, it can. There is no doubt about it. If you throw too much fertilizer onto your lawn, it won’t matter if it is inorganic or organic. It is likely that it will damage your grass and leave it looking “scorched”.

A lot of people react positively to the word “organic” because they assume that if something is organic, it is more “natural” and therefore can’t do as much harm. Consequently, they let their guard down and fail to take the proper precautions.

Take the following photograph as an example:

Scorched Grass from Fertilizer

The photograph above was taken three days after too much organic fertilizer was applied to a single spot on the lawn. As you can see, the grass is pretty much dead, to the point that it will probably have to be watered down for a few days and then raked out (see: Repairing fertilizer burn).

Here is another example of what organic fertilizer can do to your lawn if it isn’t applied properly:

Fertilizer damage on a lawn

In this case, brown patches have appeared on the lawn after a couple of days. As you can see, it looks pretty similar to when a lawn hasn’t received enough water.

Both of the “mistakes” above occurred because the fertilizer in question was spread by hand instead of using a spreader.

The problem with spreading it by hand is that one misjudgment or mistake can cause too much of it to fall in one spot.

It also makes it more difficult to get the quantity right. Applying fertilizer by hand is kind of like trying to draw a straight line without a ruler. It’s possible to do, but it’s much easier to mess up.


In conclusion, you should handle all lawn fertilizers with the same precautions. You will find that a lot of organic fertilizers will specifically warn you not to apply too much.

Therefore, throwing caution to the wind because it has the word “organic” written on the bag is not worth the risk. You do not want to set your lawn back weeks because of one split second mistake.

Hopefully, this saved you the hardship of having to repair brown patches on your lawn.