Are lawn fertilizers basically all the same? Particularly with the lower cost store brand or off brand, or the big name brands?
I can understand that. They're very different. What happens is you have a spreader and you put the fertilizer in that spreader. And if you have a cheap brand, most likely you'll have different sizes of fertilizer granules in there. And so you are not going to have even distribution. So you might have a lot just dropping right down from the spreader and 4 feet away from the spreader you may have very few granules.
So you want to get high quality. You want to have very little difference in the radius or in the diameter of that fertilizer pellet because it's very important that you have a uniform application. If you don't, you could see stripes in the lawn. You can also have differences in how the fertilizer is carried, how it's going to break down into the soil. A fast release fertilizer is going to break down very quickly. More expensive products might have a sulfur coat or polymer coat, or other method that ensures slower release. And you have to go back to that label to really see what you are getting.