Iron is an important micronutrient for healthy turfgrass, as it facilitates chlorophyll formation. With more chlorophyll, the grass looks greener (more attractive) and can easily create energy via photosynthesis.
Even better, is when the iron is applied in liquid form, as the above positive effects are realized faster. And if your lawn has turned to a pale shade (light green/yellow) due to iron deficiency, applying liquid iron is the fastest path towards recovery.
Is liquid iron good for grass?
Liquid iron is good for grass since it leads to faster greening compared to granular iron products. When spraying liquid iron, it coats the grass blades, leading to foliage uptake which is quicker than root uptake.
- Faster uptake via roots– what’s more, the iron that drops on the ground penetrates through the soil and into the grass root zone much faster than granular iron fertilizer.
- Easy to apply– you simply have to spray liquid iron on your discolored lawn to kick-start the greening process. This saves lots of time, as opposed to granular iron fertilizer which has to be watered in to push the granules deeper into the soil.
- Fewer missed spots– when spraying liquid iron, it’s easy to know which spots you haven’t yet covered by simply checking for turf areas where the grass blades aren’t wet. By comparison, it’s harder to achieve even application of granular iron fertilizers, since it’s hard to tell which spots haven’t been covered yet.
- Faster moss control– iron fertilizers, when applied in excess are also known to control moss problems in lawns. Liquid iron, being a fast-acting fertilizer, will eliminate moss at a quick rate.
Take note, though, that the recommended concentration (6-ounces per gallon of water) is usually too strong and will cause the turfgrass to turn brown as well. Thus, you should only use this method for moss control if the grass is healthy and isn’t suffering from any stressors that might hinder quick recovery.
- Improved turf health– most liquid iron products are usually infused with other micronutrients that also boost turf health. Some of these micronutrients (like zinc, copper, and manganese) improve turf growth rate, while others boost drought and disease resistance.
- Higher Uptake Percentage– most liquid iron products contain chelates, which are organic molecules that engulf the iron particles to prevent oxidation. Remember, grass roots can’t absorb oxidized iron. As such, chelates ensure that iron doesn’t go to waste by preventing reaction with oxygen.
- Reduced leeching– chelates in chelated liquid iron fertilizer prevent water from washing away the ions. They hold onto the iron particles until they’re absorbed by the grass roots.
Note: Despite producing a quicker result, there’s no scientific proof that liquid iron fertilizers make grass greener than granular iron fertilizers. And although granular iron takes longer to facilitate turf greening, the deeper turf color will last longer since the granules don’t leech as easily as pure, liquid iron.
Best liquid iron for lawns
The most effective liquid iron fertilizers for lawns are those that contain chelates, which ensures the iron remain useful to the grass by preventing oxidation. Some of the best chelated liquid iron products include Southern Ag 01952 Chelated Liquid Iron, LawnStar Chelated Liquid Iron, and Simple Lawn Solutions – Liquid Iron Fertilizer.
Southern Ag 01952 Chelated Liquid Iron
- Contains 5% iron
- Contains sulfur
- Stays stable in high pH up to 9.0
Southern Ag 01952 Chelated Liquid Iron contains 5% iron that will boost chlorophyll formation, thus turning your grass turf to a darker, more appealing shade of green. Meanwhile, the sulfur additive adds as an acidifying agent to correct alkaline soils which are prone to iron deficiencies.
LawnStar Chelated Liquid Iron
- Contains 6% iron
- Uses sugar-based chelator
- EDTA free
With a 6% iron content, LawnStar Chelated Liquid Iron quickly fixes iron chlorosis in turf grasses, while encouraging deeper greening. The sugar-based chelated iron provides a faster response than EDTA-chelated iron by rapidly penetrating the cutin layer.
Simple Lawn Solutions – Liquid Iron Fertilizer
- Contains 6% iron
- Contains 0.80% manganese
- Contains 0.75% nitrogen
This product contains not just iron for deeper greening, but also another micronutrient, manganese, that improves grass respiration. Simple Lawn Solutions – Liquid Iron Fertilizer is also infused with nitrogen to boost grass protein synthesis.
When to apply liquid iron on your lawn?
Liquid iron can be applied on lawns during any season of the year. However, for the best results, spring application is recommended. During this time of the year, conditions are usually optimal for maximum efficacy of iron supplements in facilitating turf greening.
In the spring, temperatures typically range from 60-70 °F, which is ideal for iron uptake. Avoid applying liquid iron in the heat of the summer when temperatures may exceed 80-°F, as iron uptake is usually low when it’s too hot.
Another indicator that it’s time to apply liquid iron on your lawn is if the turf is suffering from iron chlorosis. This condition is characterized by lightening/yellowing of the grass blades, which makes the lawn unsightly. Beware, though, that grass yellowing may also occur due to other factors such as nitrogen deficiency and fungal infections.
You should, therefore, rule out these additional causes before adding liquid iron to your lawn. The best way to do so is by undertaking an iron deficiency test with the help of your local extension office.
Note: Yellowing due to iron deficiency usually begins from new growth first (upper section of the grass blades), while yellowing due to nitrogen deficiency usually starts from old-growth (the base of the grass blades).
How to apply liquid iron
Liquid iron fertilizers are usually sold either in concentrated form or as pre-diluted, ready-to-use products. If you’ve purchased concentrated iron, you need to first dilute it to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Improper dilution may result in rather strong solutions that can cause burns on grass blades.
Before spraying your turf grass with a liquid iron fertilizer solution, water your lawn to minimize the chances of grass burn. This problem is more common when liquid iron is applied to a lawn that’s too dry. By watering the grass just before applying liquid iron, the roots won’t be able to take in excess iron at one time, consequently reducing the chances of grass burn.
With your liquid fertilizer and lawn now ready, you can now transfer the liquid iron into your backpack-style garden sprayer/container. Attach a sprayer to the hose and spray the fertilizer back and forth across the entire lawn. Also, you should avoid overfeeding your lawn with liquid iron to avoid suppressing root development and to minimize the amount lost via leeching.
As a rule of thumb, you should apply no more than 16-ounces of liquid iron per 1000 square feet of lawn space. As for repeat applications after initial application (usually after every 2 months or so) you should use no more than 4-ounces per 1000 square feet of yard space.
Take note that liquid iron will easily cause orange staining if it lands on any unintended areas. You should, therefore, adjust the nozzle to a fine spray when spraying on lawn sections next to your concrete, stone, or brick driveway/patio.