Does Ammonia Kill Grass? – Debunking the Myths

  • By: admin
  • Date: July 2, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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When it comes to lawn care, one of the common concerns that gardeners have is the potential harm that ammonia can cause to grass. While it is true that ammonia has the potential to kill grass if not used properly or if the wrong type is applied, it is essential to understand the nuances of ammonia usage to make the most of its benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will debunk the myths surrounding ammonia and provide you with accurate information to help you navigate its usage without putting your grass at risk.

The Short Answer.

Yes, ammonia can potentially kill grass if it is not used properly. Ammonia is a compound that contains nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for plant growth. However, when ammonia is applied in excessive amounts or in an undiluted form, it can be harmful to grass and other plants.

Ammonia is highly alkaline and can cause damage to the grass by altering the pH levels of the soil. Most grass species prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range, and an influx of ammonia can increase the alkalinity of the soil, making it unsuitable for grass growth. The high concentration of nitrogen in ammonia can also lead to an overabundance of this nutrient, causing imbalances in the soil and potentially burning the grass.

If ammonia is to be used as a fertilizer, it should be diluted with water and applied in appropriate amounts. This helps to minimize the risk of damage to the grass and allows for better absorption of nutrients by the plants. It is crucial to follow the recommended application rates and guidelines provided by fertilizer manufacturers or consult with a gardening professional to ensure the safe and effective use of ammonia as a fertilizer.

In conclusion, while ammonia can be beneficial as a fertilizer when used correctly, it has the potential to kill grass if applied in excessive amounts or in an undiluted form. Proper usage and dilution are essential to avoid harming the grass and to promote healthy growth.

Understanding the Different Types of Ammonia

ammonia in glass, chemical in the laboratory ammonia in glass, chemical in the laboratory and industry ammonia  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

1. Ammonium Nitrate: A Double-Edged Sword

Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used form of ammonia in fertilizer blends. It is a great source of nitrogen, which is essential for promoting healthy grass growth. However, caution must be exercised when using ammonium nitrate because it releases nitrogen quickly, which can potentially harm new seedlings or unhealthy grass. It is best suited for well-established and happy grass that can effectively utilize the rapid nitrogen release. To ensure optimal results, it is recommended to apply three pounds of ammonium nitrate per every 1,000 square feet of area, supplying your lawn with one pound of ammonium nitrate.

2. Common Household Ammonia: Proceed with Caution

Ammonium hydroxide, found in common household cleaners, is sometimes used to create homemade lawn tonics. However, it is crucial to be aware that common household ammonia can easily kill your grass if not used properly. The concentration of ammonia in each product may vary, making it challenging to gauge the right amount to apply. Due to this variability, it is easy to burn your lawn if you are unfamiliar with the specific concentration of ammonia in the product you are using. Moreover, household ammonia does not provide enough nitrogen to significantly benefit your grass. It must be applied in small quantities to prevent burns. For these reasons, it is not typically the go-to choice for gardeners seeking ammonia-based products.

3. Ammonium Sulfate: A pH Game Changer

Ammonium sulfate is not commonly used in commercial grass fertilizers because of its tendency to cause changes in soil acidity. It is primarily used to lower pH levels, which promotes the growth of acid-loving plants rather than directly benefiting grass. It is essential to exercise caution when using ammonium sulfate as over-application can result in chemical burns in the grass. To supply grass with one pound of chemical, it is necessary to use five pounds of products containing ammonium sulfate. The application should be done carefully, as overdoing it can have detrimental effects on your grass.

4. Ammonium Phosphate Sulfate: A Gentle Boost

Ammonium phosphate sulfate is a gentler form of nitrogen, making it suitable for newer and younger grasses. It is commonly used before planting new grass seed or to kick-start the growth of fresh grass. While it contains less nitrogen than ammonium nitrate, it also provides beneficial phosphorus. Six pounds of ammonium phosphate sulfate will yield one pound of nitrogen per every 1,000 square feet. Among the common ammonia types, this one is the least likely to cause harm or burns to your grass.

Ensuring Safe and Effective Ammonia Usage

Anhydrous Ammonia Anhydrous Ammonia tanks in newly planted wheat field ammonia  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Now that we have explored the different types of ammonia, it’s time to understand how to use ammonia safely and effectively in your lawn care routine. Follow these guidelines to ensure optimal results and protect the health of your grass:

  1. Read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer carefully. Different ammonia products may have specific guidelines for usage, dosage, and application frequency.
  2. Assess the specific needs of your grass. Consider factors such as its age, health, and environmental conditions before deciding which type of ammonia to use.
  3. Avoid over-application of ammonia-based products. Applying excessive amounts can lead to chemical burns and damage the grass. It is crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage for each specific product.
  4. Consider alternative ammonia products formulated specifically for lawn care. These products are often designed with consistent and reliable concentrations of ammonia to ensure predictable results without harming your grass.


In conclusion, ammonia can be both beneficial and potentially harmful to grass, depending on the type used and how it is applied. Understanding the nuances of ammonia usage is crucial to safeguarding the health of your lawn. Ammonium nitrate, common household ammonia, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium phosphate sulfate are among the most common forms of ammonia encountered in lawn care. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can confidently make informed decisions about the use of ammonia-based products, ensuring the well-being and vibrancy of your grass.

For further inquiries or assistance with your lawn care journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you in creating and maintaining a lush and beautiful lawn.

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