Starter Fertilizer 101: 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Starter Fertilizer

Starter Fertilizer
Starter Fertilizer

Newly planted grass needs an extra nutrient boost to establish quickly and thrive. Starter fertilizer is specially formulated for seeding and sodding new lawns. It stimulates rapid root growth and greening. Our FAQ guide covers everything you need to know about choosing, applying, and troubleshooting starter fertilizer products. Learn when to fertilize, how much to use, what ratios to look for, and tips for best results. Get the key facts and advice to ensure your new lawn gets off to the healthiest start possible.

Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass (4.9 / 5 rating)
GreenView 2131254 Starter Fertilizer (4.8 / 5 rating)
Jonathan Green Green Up Seeding & Sodding Lawn Fertilizer (4.8 / 5 rating)
Lesco Professional Starter Fertilizer, 18-24-12 (4.7 / 5 rating)
Vigoro Starter Fertilizer for Growing New Grass (4.2 / 5 rating)

When should I apply starter fertilizer?

Apply starter fertilizer when planting grass seed or laying new sod. It gives new grass an early boost while roots develop.

How much starter fertilizer should I use?

Follow package directions, but use half the recommended nitrogen rate for mature lawns. Too much nitrogen causes growth spurts that weaken new grass.

How often should I apply starter fertilizer?

Apply once at seeding or sodding. You can reapply a second light dose 3-4 weeks later to support continued root growth.

Should I do a soil test before using starter fertilizer?

Yes, test phosphorus levels first. Starter fertilizer may not be needed if phosphorus is already sufficient in the soil.

What ratio of nutrients should I look for?

Seek a fertilizer with a low nitrogen, high phosphorus ratio like 5-20-10 or 10-20-10. Avoid weed and feed products.

When is the best time to fertilize newly seeded lawns?

Fertilize at the time of seeding and again in 3-4 weeks. Early fertilization boosts establishment.

How soon can I mow or walk on new grass after applying starter fertilizer?

Wait about 4 weeks after seeding or 2 weeks after laying sod before mowing or walking on new grass.

Should starter fertilizer touch grass blades or roots?

Apply evenly over the soil surface. Gentle watering will move nutrients to plant roots.

How long does starter fertilizer last in the soil?

Phosphorus stays available for plant uptake for several weeks after application. Switch to a balanced fertilizer after 6-8 weeks.

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