Is 17-17-17 Fertilizer Good for Lawns?

Now that you are expected to maintain that luscious lawn, you are probably trying to figure out what Fertilizer will be the best. Well, good news, 17-17-17 fertilizer is great for your yard, whether it’s just your lawn or even your vegetable garden!

Quick Answer:

17-17-17 fertilizer can be good for lawns needing equal amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. It aids in leaf and stem growth, root development, and overall plant health. Always conduct a soil test first to ensure these nutrients are needed equally.

A tidbit about this fertilizer is that it helps improve the condition of the plant’s root allowing it to establish itself and grow a deep root system.

This is a bonus for your lawn because it acts as armor to help create a denser root base, crowding out any weeds that may try to take up residence.

Understanding The Label

Scotts Turf Builder Southern Lawn Food, 5,000 sq. ft.

The label may overwhelm you, so let me keep it simple for you. 17-17-17 is a balanced fertilizer with an enriched formula that contains the necessary micronutrients in a ratio that will benefit your lawn the most. Each number on the label in bold represents percentages of each key nutrients in the fertilizer.

N-P-K Ratio

NPK stands for:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium


Nitrogen is essential for plants or your lawn to grow. First, nitrogen drives chlorophyll production (chlorophyll is what gives plants the lush green color and helps them develop healthy cells). It also fuels the production of food by turning the energy the plants have stored into starches and carbohydrates.

Also, nitrogen enables plants to properly utilize enzymes and proteins so that they can regulate their uptake of water and nutrients efficiently. Like all other primary macronutrients, the amount of nitrogen needed to promote healthy growth varies from plant to plant.


This particular macronutrient is the catalyst for all of the processes within plants, including photosynthesis. Suppose you can remember back to 3rd grade when you learned about photosynthesis. In that case, it’s the name of the process that converts starches and carbohydrates into food.

It is also a critical part of both DNA and RNA, which are responsible for the memory of how the plant grows and how the plants read and react to the DNA. Phosphorous bonds and links RNA and DNA together, creating an information center that allows the plant to build proteins, support its reproduction, and use sunlight to produce and store energy efficiently. It is crucial for fruit, flower, and bud development.


Potassium is a particular micronutrient that affects the plant’s quality by enhancing the plant’s resistance to disease. It also helps improve the overall robustness by strengthening the root systems of the plants. As if this wasn’t enough, it also helps plants survive cold weather by building cellulose in the plant as well as helping them resist droughts.

Potassium is like that friend that plays well with everyone and brings people out of their shells. For instance, potassium plays well with nitrogen by stimulating the protein content that nitrogen develops. It also helps phosphorous out by activating the enzymes that help the plant read its DNA.

What Is The Best Fertilizer Ratio For Lawns?

Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food, 12.5 lb. - Lawn Fertilizer Feeds and Strengthens Grass to Protect Against Future Problems - Build Deep Roots - Apply to Any Grass Type - Covers 5,000 sq. ft.

To determine the best fertilizer and the ratio for your lawn, it is highly recommended to use a soil test kit to determine what the soil lacks. The most common ratio is 3:1:3 or 4:1:2, but remember, yours may be different!

To better understand the contents of the Fertilizer, if the bag says it’s 10 pounds of 1-1-1 fertilizer, it contains 1 pound of nitrogen, 1 pound of phosphorus, and 1 pound of potassium. The remaining weight is a filler such as sand, perlite, or rice hulls. 

When And How To Use Triple 17 Fertilizer?

You can use triple 17 fertilizer in several different ways, including on vegetable gardens, trees, lawns or grass, and even Turfgrass. Let me break down each one for you.

Vegetable Garden

Not all the vegetables that you may be growing need the same amount of nutrients, and you will need to customize the fertilizer you use to be specific for each vegetable type. If you decide to use a 17-17-17 fertilizer, make sure you do it before planting any veggies.

Avoid using it or any other high nitrogen fertilizers for root veggies like beets or carrots because the high nitrogen concentration will prohibit the plant’s growth below the soil. Read up on your different plants to see which nutrients they need the most to thrive.


When digging the hole for the new tree you plan on planting, add triple 17 fertilizer to the bottom. It will help provide them with the proper nutrition needed to boost their growth in the early and fast-growing stages of their development.

Suppose your tree is larger and more established. In that case, you can add the 17-17-17 fertilizer to the soil to help improve its color, provide an effective defense against diseases, droughts, and pests, and help correct the drooping and wilting.


Your lawn will definitely benefit from triple 17 fertilizer, especially to balance the soil after planting new sod or sowing grass seed, because it will help establish healthy growth and root development. As we mentioned at the beginning, triple 17 fertilizer will also help protect your lawn from pests, disease, and bad weather.

If your lawn has been thriving for a while, fertilize with 17-17-17 in the spring while actively growing, and then apply more in the fall. Using it before the winter will help it recover from any damage that happened during the summer droughts or repeated foot traffic.

Whatever you do, avoid putting 17-17-17 fertilizer on during the summer months. It will create higher nitrogen levels, potentially doing more damage than good.


Scotts 44615A Green Max Lawn Food 5,000 sq. ft

If you are going to be using a triple 17 fertilizer on turfgrass, make sure you pick up a 17-17-17 professional turf fertilizer for the best results. There will be instructions on the bag that make it easy to follow!

When To Avoid 17-17-17 Fertilizer?

While there are many advantages to using triple 17 fertilizer, there are some situations you want to avoid. If your lawn only needs minor fertilizing, you should not use triple 17. There will be too many macronutrients that may cause more damage to your lawn than good.