Does Scotts Fertilizer Burn Grass? (A Beginner’s Guide)

Scotts makes several different kinds of fertilizer and weed control products to meet the needs of various lawns. Like many other manufacturers, Scotts provides specific guidelines on when and where to use each product for best results. 

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So, does Scotts fertilizer burn grass? No, Scotts fertilizer is a slow release plant good, which means the nutrients and slowly released to the soil. This also uses a steady application mode within a 6 – 8 weeks period, which doesn’t burn the grass.

After fertilization with any type of Scotts Lawn Care product, watch your lawn closely for signs of burning or discoloration before watering again.

Does Scotts fertilizer burn grass?

Scotts recommends that you refrain from fertilizing your lawn if it has been rained on within 24 hours. If you cannot avoid fertilizing in this situation, water afterward to soak the fertilizer into the soil. 

Both over-fertilization and under-fertilization can cause damage to your lawn.

However, over-fertilization with Scotts fertilizer is unlikely to cause burning or discoloration. Under-fertilization can lead to thin grass growth and an increased likelihood of pest problems in the future.

Most people opt to use Scotts fertilizer because it is widely available and often recommended by “professionals” who work in the lawn care industry.

While this product may be suitable for some, there are many cases where using Scotts fertilizer can actually burn your grass and cause major damage to your property’s landscaping.

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Scotts Fertilizer: Is It Safe?

Quality products like Scotts will list all ingredients and how they work together on their packaging or container. If you’re concerned about what types of chemicals make up the fertilizer that you use I suggest you check the back of the package or call them directly.

If one or more of those ingredients says something along the lines of “Do not use on X type of turf”, then you should consider another brand, or at least research what that ingredient might do to your lawn.

So if you’re one of the many people out there scratching your head wondering what I’m rambling about when I talk about Scotts fertilizer burning grass, please read along! It’s really easy to understand once you get all the facts even though I can’t imagine why this would be happening.

If it wasn’t so common I wouldn’t have spent so much time researching it and writing this article for everyone to reference later.

Scotts Fertilizer: Why Does My Grass Burn?

Here’s where things start to make sense; believe it or not (I wish I had been) it’s because Scotts fertilizer is high nitrogen fertilizer. What does that mean?

It means that while some of the ingredients may benefit your lawn, a lot of them can actually do more harm than good when you use Scotts fertilizer on your lawn.

Let me give you an example: corn gluten meal. This is a big part of Scott’s fertilizers, and it has been known to help with weed control in some cases, but only if used moderately! If you’ve ever heard about people using corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent herbicide, then you know why too much of this ingredient could be bad for your grass. If there were no weeds around then they couldn’t grow out of control and take over your yard, right?

So this is another reason why Scotts fertilizer can burn your grass: too much of the wrong ingredient. Obviously, I’m not trying to say that all fertilizers are high in nitrogen and that you should avoid those as well. There’s plenty of other chemical compounds in fertilizers that provide great benefits for your lawn; it’s just a matter of understanding what each one does and how it will affect your grass (or any other plants or flowers) before using it.


Scotts Fertilizer: How Do Other Brands Compare?

While I’ve found plenty of reports from individuals who were disappointed by their experiences using Scotts products,  there also seem to be many people out there who have had nothing but great experiences. 

The big question is, should you risk it? I wouldn’t – there are plenty of other brands out there that offer high-quality products with less risk involved.

If you’re looking for a fertilizer that won’t stress the grass in your yard then try using Scotts fertilizer alternatives. 

While they may not have all of the benefits that Scotts also has to offer, they will provide all of the essentials without stressing or burning your grass! You can find them online and at local lawn care centers so feel free to do your research before buying anything…after all, there’s no reason to take chances when you don’t have to.

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Avoiding burns:

If you notice brown spots appearing in your yard, this is likely due to over-fertilizing. The best course of action is to water heavily, enough so that it soaks into the soil below the surface. This will help minimize potential harm to vegetation around your yard as well as preventing runoff from entering local waterways. You may also choose to fertilize your yard less frequently.

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Are there other reasons that I may see brown spots on my lawn?

Brown or burnt-looking patches can also appear if water is not reaching the soil below your grass because the roots are unable to get the necessary nutrients from the soil. Be sure to check with your local municipality for watering restrictions during times of drought. Not enough sunlight may also cause browning, so be sure to schedule fertilizing for a time when you know you’ll have at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. 

Additional causes may include weed killer damage, insects eating the grassroots, disease, or poor quality soil.

I didn’t notice any problems with my fertilization routine this year; however, I do notice some areas where the grass is dead or dying in certain spots. Is this normal?

If you find that there are areas in your yard where the grass has died, it’s likely due to over-fertilization (because too much fertilizer is applied at one time) rather than under-fertilization. 

The area affected will be very noticeable and typically reverts back to normal with rainfall. Other possible reasons may be disease, lack of water, weed killers or insects eating the roots of the grass. Visit our website for more information on fertilizing your lawn at different times of the year.

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How To Prevent Grass Burn In The Lawn

Everyone loves having a lawn in their yard, but when you have one, it is inevitable that you will experience some grass burn at some point or another. 

Grass burn can be caused by almost anything, including over watering problems and the growth of certain types of weeds. 

The best way to combat this problem is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips that should help you do just that:

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1. When mowing your lawn, never cut more than 1/3 off at one time.

2. Make sure your lawn gets enough water

This particularly applies when there is no rain in the forecast for an extended period of time. If your grass begins to turn brown, check to make sure all sprinklers are working properly and adjust as necessary.

3. Don’t use lawn fertilizer too frequently

This will help prevent weeds from growing which can damage the grass. In addition, be sure to water your lawn immediately after fertilizing. Applying a mulch around your plants can also help keep down on weeding and watering needs.

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4. Use weed killers sparingly, if at all possible

Weeds cause problems for nearly every type of plant out there and the grass is no exception. However, weeds provide natural nutrients that are beneficial to the soil and should not be killed without careful consideration first (and even then it may not be such a good idea). 

If you decide to do away with those pesky weeds by means of Roundup or another herbicide, only do so after asking your local garden store whether or not such chemicals are safe for use around the grass.

5. Use pesticides responsibly

Make sure you only do so as a last resort and never more than is necessary. Pesticides can be toxic to both animals and humans if misused, but they also kill the very insects that help keep harmful bugs (and weeds) at bay.

Be aware of which types of plants and how often you’re likely to apply pesticides before taking the plunge and bringing it into your home.

6. Inspect your lawn regularly for mold, fungus, algae

These things can quickly kill even the healthiest-looking blades of grass in short order if left untreated. Treating mold is as easy as pouring rubbing alcohol onto it, then covering the spot with an old piece of carpet or wood board to keep rain from diluting the solution until it dries. 

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For fungus and algae, pour straight bleach over the afflicted area to kill off the bacteria that are causing the problem.

Please note that all bleaches are not created equally. Make sure you use regular household chlorine bleach before attempting this or any other treatment for grass burn in your lawn.

7. Water your lawn in time

Most importantly when trying to prevent grass burn, make sure you water your lawn in time for it to dry out at night. This step cannot be emphasized enough because watering your lawn in the middle of the day can encourage the growth of moss, mildew, mold, and fungus which will eventually cause the blades of grass to turn brown.

8. Always read all instructions and warnings on chemical bottles

This is the only way you’ll be able to prevent yourself from inadvertently killing your lawn if and when treatments are necessary for one reason or another.

9. Avoid using any chemicals that slow down photosynthesis in your lawn



These types of chemicals tend to work best in shady areas, but can actually damage grass more than most weeds will over time! That’s because such chemicals reduce the amount of sunlight entering the plant which means it won’t be able to produce enough sugars through photosynthesis (the process by which plants create their own food) for proper nourishment.

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10. When removing weeds, don’t about quality weed killers

Just because a chemical can kill weeds doesn’t necessarily mean it will do the same to all types of grass. In fact, some chemical weed killers are specifically designed to be toxic enough to kill certain types of grass while doing little or no damage to others.

11. Don’t walk your dog on your lawn

This is especially true if you have a small yard that only offers hardy patches of grass here and there for your pooch’s business needs. If you must take Fido on his daily strolls, pick up after him before he leaves any “packages” behind.

Some commercial turf fertilizers can burn tender blades of grass just like a fertilizer does — so always ask first before applying such chemicals near/on your lawn.


12. Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight

In other words, wear a hat and sunscreen if you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time when the sun is at its peak in intensity.

Remember that grass burns when being exposed to too much light, so it’s in your best interest not to walk outside with sunglasses on or sit out in the sun sipping cocktails while reading a book.

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13. Don’t over-water your lawn

Although most people tend to do this more often than they realize, especially during warmer months when grass tends to grow faster. If you want your lawn to remain healthy and green, water it every morning before sunrise but no more than once per day under normal conditions. 

The overall appearance depends largely on how rapidly the blades of grass turn over. If you’re constantly watering your lawn, then the blades of grass never have an opportunity to turn brown and die before the next morning.

The problem with this is that it prevents proper nutrient uptake by the roots which means no nourishment for the blades of grass growing above ground.

14. Avoid walking on/roughing up your lawn

There are times when you may want to walk across your lawn in order to dry off after a rain or spend some time reading, playing cards, or whatever other types of activities people do in their front yard these days. 

However, always remember that walking across your lawn can damage small patches of turf but doing so enough will eventually kill off the entire area leaving nothing but the dirt that no amount of water will soothe.

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15. Don’t cover your lawn with anything but mulch or rocks

Solar reflectors are extremely effective in keeping the blades of grass beneath them nice and dry by bouncing sunlight back away from the ground, while plastic tarps can actually attract more heat to an area which eventually kills surrounding patches of grass. If you must use something to keep the sun out of your face, then try growing shade trees.

They’re extremely easy to grow even if you have a brown thumb because they only absorb nutrients through their roots rather than leaves.

Despite what some people believe, these types of trees do not shed their foliage during fall/winter time which makes them the perfect addition to any yard that needs protection from harsh sunlight all year round.

Tillage induced flush of decomposition of organic matter

Type of tillageOrganic matter lost in 19 days(kg/ha)
Mouldboard plough + disc harrow (2x)4 300
Mouldboard plough2 230
Disc harrow1 840
Chisel plough1 720
Direct seeding860


About Scotts:

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is a leading global marketer of consumer lawn and garden products, with $1 billion in annual revenues from a wide variety of well-known brands such as Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Ortho, and Roundup.

Scotts is dedicated to becoming the world’s most admired marketer of consumer outdoor products by creating winning partnerships with our retail customers, consumers, and employees.

Good luck with everything! If you’ve had any experience with products like this, please feel free to leave a comment below. Your input will be helpful to someone who has never used this product before or is considering doing so.

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