Milorganite has been a very popular organic bio-solid fertilizer for both lawns & gardens for many years now. This is mainly due to it’s wide national availability, it’s low price, and it’s ability to actually stimulate healthy growth year after year.
The problem with Milorganite however is that it is getting more expensive with each passing year and that the phosphorus levels in the product are too high relative to the nitrogen content. If you fertilize with Milorganite at rates high enough to provide adequate levels of nitrogen then you run the risk of applying too much phosphorus to the lawn as the years go by.
Not only does Milorganite contain high levels of phosphorus but it also contains no Potassium of any kind, it smells really bad, it covers only 2500 sqft per bag, and it is a biosolid made from processed waste.
Before we dive into the alternatives let’s get a baseline for comparison and look closely at what Milorganite offers
Milorganite (6-4-0) is a spreadable bio-solid organic fertilizer that is produced in Milwaukie, Wisconsin. It’s basically an organic fertilizer made from processed waste.
That’s one of the reasons why it has such on obvious odor but it’s also why it’s a non-burning options for the lawn too. It is fully organic and it needs biological life in the lawn to break it down and turn it into plant available nutrition.
Obviously this product is popular because it works well and because it is relatively cheap for a fully organic product but the price for it has been rising over the years and lots of lawn owners are becoming increasingly more aware of the excess amounts of Phosphorus that comes with this product. When used occasionally Milo is a great feed for the lawn but when used exclusively it can be a problem after a few years pass and lawn-soil P saturation gets a bit too high.
The bag rate for Milorganite is 32-lbs covering 2500 square feet meaning a bag-rate app provides approximately 0.77 lbs nitrogen per 1000 square feet and 0.51 lbs of Phosphorus per 100 square feet. You can read more about Milo through the link below.
You can read more about what makes Milo, Milo on the official Milo website: https://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/what-is-milorganite
These Alternatives To Milorganite Need To Be Used More Often IMO
These days there are a number of alternative products that fall into the fully organic category, all of which will feed the lawn slow release nitrogen just like Milorganite will. Most of the organic alternatives use ingredients like Blood Meal, Soybean Meal, Alfalfa Meal, or Feather Meal to provide nitrogen and Potash to provide some Potassium into the products.
You can get any of these basic ingredients all by themselves at many gardening supply stores however they can be hard to apply to a full lawn. That’s why a dedicated lawn food product that uses these ingredients is so helpful – they make spreading the active ingredients out over a lawn possible.
Here’s a video I made for the sole purpose of explaining what these main ingredients are and how they work in the lawn.
Now, without delaying any longer let’s look at the best alternatives to Milorganite that I’ve tested on my own lawn including their NPK numbers, application rates, nitrogen sources, and any side-benefits the products may include.
1. Jonathan Greene Organic Lawn Food 10-0-1
I’ve been really excited about this product for a while now because it’s a high nitrogen organic product with a touch of Potassium instead of being overloaded with Phosphorus.
JG’s organic lawn food uses Feather Meal, Soybean Meal, and Blood Meal along with Sulfate of Potash for the minor inclusion of Potassium and to get the orgainc label.
One of the side benefits of using this product is due to the inclusion of Soybean Meal which has a biological tendency to reduce “small seed” germination like a pre-emergent does. It’s not a strong weed preventer by any means but it does provide a very slight suppression of weeds when applied.
If you pick up the 17 lb bag then you are getting 5000 square feet of coverage at the bag rate which equates to 0.34 lbs of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. That seems a little light to me but not overly so. Bag rate also delivers 0.034 lbs of Potassium per 1000 square feet which is tiny but appreciated.
Here’s a video I made all about this product just before I applied it to my lawn in the Spring of 2021, if you’d like to give it a watch of course.
► I recommend buying this product from Yard Mastery. You can see pricing and availability through this affiliate link.
In my lawn I’ll probably be going above the bag rate with this product since it’s derived from Feather Meal predominantly and it won’t burn the lawn like synthetic fertilizers would. You can learn more about this option through the link below.
2. Dr. Earth Organic & Natural Nitrogen Fertilizer 5-0-2
This product comes in an 18 pound bag and covers 2000 square feet. The nitrogen is sourced from Alfalfa Meal and Feather Meal and at the bag rate an application delivers 0.45 pounds of nitrogen, zero pounds of Phosphorus, and 0.18 pounds of Potassium per 1000 square feet.
I actually think this product is a “must apply” product for everybody, even people who use synthetic fertilizers. You can see this video I made on why I use it in my lawn and why I recommend it.
You can find out more info on this product on the following webpage: https://drearth.com/product/nitrogen-fertilizer/
3. Scott’s Natural Lawn Food 11-2-2
This product comes in a 18.2 pound bag and covers 2500 square feet. Nitrogen is sourced from Feather Meal, Meat Meal, & Blood Meal. Bone Meal provides P. This means that at the bag rate you get 0.8 lbs of nitrogen, 0.15 lbs Phosphorus, and 0.15 lbs of Potassium for every 1000 sqft application.
Here is a video I made explaining what I like about this product and what I think you need to supplement with should you choose to use it.
You can see product info, pricing, labeling, specs over on the Scotts website linked below.
4. Lawn Luxe OMRI Listed Organic Fertilizer 7-0-7
This is a soybean meal based nitrogen fertilizer with extra potassium derived from Potassium Sulfate. What makes this special is the balanced Nitrogen to Potassium which is uncommon in natural lawn fertilizer products as well as the added humic acid included in the product. This is something that isn’t found mixed in with any of the other options listed on this page.
I’ve fully reviewed Lawn Luxe on my YouTube channel, you can see the full review embedded below.
You can price out Lawn Luxe through this Amazon affiliate link.
5. Anderson’s Innova Lawn Fertilizer 7-1-2
This product is basically a straight Soybean Meal lawn fertilizer. Instead of trying to apply soybean meal directly to the lawn which is quite hard this product packages up the meal into spreadable granules making the process super simple and consistent across a full lawn.
Soybean meal is a really great lawn fertilizer because it’s got a bit of all three macro-nutrients without going to high on Phosphorus like Milorganite does. Soybean meal has also shown some ability to suppress the germination of small seeds for short durations of time meaning it is a very mild natural pre-emergent during times of weed seed germination. It’s not as strong of a weed preventer as Corn Gluten Meal or chemical pre-emergents but even a little bit of suppression is nice to have.
The Anderson’s product comes in a 40-pound bag and is labeled for 11,000 square feet. At bag rate that give you 0.25 lbs of nitrogen, 0.04 lbs Phosphorus, and 0.07 lbs of Potassium for every 1000 sqft application. If I used this in my lawn I’d double or triple the bag rate making this a very expensive product for lawn fertilization.
You can learn more about this product on Anderson’s website: https://andersonshomeandgarden.com/products/innova
It can also be purchased on Amazon making it a convenient product to have delivered to your door. Here’s an Amazon affiliate link to Innova.
6. Safer Brand Lawn Restore 9-0-2
Lawn Restore is the new brand and label for what used to be called Ringer Lawn Restore II. The product is quite a bit different now in my opinion because it’s not only got a new label and brand name but also a new nutrient mix.
Lawn restore derives most of it’s Nitrogen from Feather Meal, Soybean Meal, and Blood Meal in that order just like many of the other products on this list. The product also includes some Alfalfa Meal which adds to the Potassium contents of the product.
My favorite part of Lawn Restore is that they add a bit of Molasses into the ingredient list which is a well known food source for soil microbes. Basically applying this product to the lawn will give you a great mix of natural nutrient sources while also helping to build up the microbial life in your soil.
I also like anything that includes Alfalfa Meal in the mix because of the naturally occurring Triacontinol found in it. Triacontinol is a chemical that helps stimulate root growth in plants and grasses and it’s part of my grass root system course which you can learn more about here.
Safer Brand Lawn Restore comes in a a 25lb bag and is labeled to cover 6,250 sqft. At bag rate you get .36-lbs of nitrogen, 0-lbs Phosphorus, and 0.08 lbs of Potassium for every 1000 sqft application. If I was using this product in my lawn I’d double the application rate because those numbers are quite small.
You can learn more about this product on Safer Brand’s website linked below. It’s sold at a number of big box stores too although I’ve never actually seen it on the shelf at any stores near me.
7. Purely organic Lawn Food 10-0-2
8. Green Edge Slow Release Fertilizer 6-2-0
9. Espoma Fall Winterizer Lawn Food 8-0-5
If you have a Menards locally then their e-Corganite Natural Lawn Fertilizer 4-3-0 might be a good option. It’s a bio-solid very similar to Milorganite. You can see the product through the following link but it’s not available for sale online… at least I don’t think it is.