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Ace vs. Scotts Fertilizer: Choosing the Right Brand

The Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware Corporation is America’s largest cooperative retail store with a market share and presence in over 60 countries worldwide. Ace Hardware specializes in non-grocery retail and with over 5200 retail outlets globally, A major distributor of hardware equipment as well as gardening and lawn merchandise including fertilizer. 

However, not a manufacturer of fertilizer but widely distributes fertilizer under the brand name Ace. Along with its own brand, Ace Hardware also carries many other brands of fertilizer and one of its best-selling fertilizer brands is Scotts.

Scotts fertilizer

Ace vs. Scotts Fertilizer

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company as it is called today is a multinational corporation that was established 154 years ago in 1868. It was first instituted as a lawn seed company and over the years became one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of garden, lawn, and pest control products.

Previously known as just Scotts, it changed its name to Scotts Miracle-Gro following a   merger with Miracle-Gro gardening company in 1995. Today Scotts manufactures and distributes fertilizer and lawn food using the brand names Scotts, Miracle-Gro, and Ortho.

Properties of fertilizer

  • All fertilizers have the same constituent elements which include the three main nutritional components needed in vast quantity by plants or macronutrients:
  • N; Nitrogen
  • P; Phosphorous
  • K; Potassium
  • The three secondary nutrients are;
  • Ca; Calcium 
  • Mg; Magnesium and
  • S; Sulfur
  • Last but not least, are micronutrients that may or may not be included in every formulation and may not even be suitable for inclusion depending on what you wish to plant among other factors. They are;
  • Cu; Copper
  • Fe; Iron
  • Zn; Zinc
  • B; Boron
  • Mn; Manganese
  • Mo; Molybdenum
  • Si; Silicon
  • Co; Cobalt
  • V; Vanadium

Fertilizers function in one of two ways;

  • To provide nutrients in a form that is bioavailable to plants. 

Of particular note is nitrogen which is bountiful in the atmosphere as air but in its gaseous form is unavailable to nearly all plants apart from a few that have the capacity to convert it into ammonia, therefore, availing it in an absorbable form to the plant. 

Nitrogen-rich fertilizer monumentally boosts plant growth and in most cases, plants will not grow beyond the early stages since nitrogen is a major building block of plants’ DNA and the proteins that form plant tissue. It is essential, not supplementary.

Phosphorous is a factor in energy production which is the process of every macro and micro function of plant growth and development.

Its availability affects the plant’s capacity to develop at a faster rate without the problems of stunted growth that arise from a lack of adequate ‘power’ in the cells to carry out the duties that the cell is responsible for. 

A lack of phosphorous will cause plants to redistribute energy in favor of survival only and set aside growth and proliferation.

Potassium is essential for strong stem and root formation, movement of water within plants, and promoting blossoming and fruit formation.

  • To improve the general condition of the soil by;
  • Making soil more adaptable to the absorption of fertilizer.
  • Improving the water retention capacity of soil to avoid leaching.
  • Improving soil aeration

All fertilizers come with an N: P: K ratio and depending on what you intend to do with it different formulations of this ratio attend to different plants, different functions, and different seasons.

Ace fertilizer Vs Scotts fertilizer

The only difference between these two brands could very well be the names. No discernable differences in performance or formulation are evident.

In some of the formulations, the Ace fertilizer prills are said to be of varying sizes depending on what element they are formulated to carry for instance the nitrogen pellets or prills may be of a different size compared to the potassium pellet.

In contrast, Scotts fertilizer pellets or granules are all uniform in size, color, and constitution. This difference has not been shown to affect the performance of either.

Important to note is that brand names do not reference anything in the fertilizer especially in terms of performance since fertilizer is a highly regulated industry and formulations are heavily governed by world bodies and informed by the specific needs of plants. 

Companies do not get to formulate fertilizer as freely as the way cosmetic products are manufactured. 

The brand names more often than not speak to price and other economic and marketing considerations instead.

The four-step fertilizing program by Ace hardware

Ace vs. Scotts Fertilizer

NB: The four-step program which Ace hardware employs extensively as a marketing tool for its fertilizer is actually developed by Scotts fertilizer. Scotts also markets a four-step fertilizing program which makes the two products very much the same thing.

Step 1: 

This is a seeding and weeding fertilizer that basically helps your seeds take root as evenly and as steadfastly as possible which will eliminate the problem of bare spots showing up. The seeds take root without the weed killer killing the seed. Use this early in the spring.

Step 2:

This is a weed and feed and it gives the planted seedlings a thicker more robust growth spurt and a boost to make your lawn really green and lusher.

Step 3:

This is a summer application that protects your lawn from suffering the harshness of the sun which could stop your grass and plants from making as much food and taking in as much water causing them to wither and die. 

This application also enhances root formation which is an essential aspect of water access and water retention for the plant.

Step 4:

This is an essential step since this is the winterizing application. This is a time-release fertilizer or a slow-release fertilizer that will release nutrients into the soil slowly over months which makes it possible for plants to survive some of the harshest winters. 


Whether you go for Ace hardware fertilizer or Scotts fertilizer, you are likely buying the same things that have different names and possibly different prices. The most important thing to know is what stage of plant development you need fertilizer for. Get either brand!