Grass Starter Fertilizer (What Is It, Which Ones Are Best, and More)

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Are you looking to start a new lawn or revitalize an existing one? If so, you may have heard about grass starter fertilizer. But what exactly is it, and which one is the best for your specific needs?

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of grass starter fertilizers. We’ll explore what they are, how they work, and which ones are the best for different types of grass and soil conditions. 

 

What is Grass Starter Fertilizer?

Grass starter fertilizer is a type of fertilizer that is specifically designed to promote healthy root growth in newly planted grass. It typically contains higher levels of phosphorus than regular fertilizer, which is important for root development. 

Some grass starter fertilizers may also contain other nutrients like nitrogen and potassium, but the emphasis is on phosphorus.

What is the Difference Between Starter Fertilizer and Regular Fertilizer?

How does grass starter fertilizer differ from regular fertilizer? In this section, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more.

Difference #1: Nutrient Composition

The biggest difference between grass starter fertilizers and regular fertilizers is their nutrient composition. Regular fertilizer typically contains a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), with each nutrient serving a different purpose.

For example, nitrogen promotes leaf growth, while phosphorus promotes root growth. Grass starter fertilizer, on the other hand, is specifically designed to promote root growth, so it contains higher levels of phosphorus and lower levels of nitrogen and potassium.

Difference #2: Application Timing

Another key difference between grass starter fertilizer and regular fertilizer is the timing of application. Grass starter fertilizer is typically applied when planting new grass, either by spreading it over the soil before laying down the seed or mixing it into the soil before planting sod.

Regular fertilizer, on the other hand, is typically applied throughout the growing season to maintain healthy growth and appearance.

Difference #3: Rate of Absorption

Because grass starter fertilizer is designed to promote root growth, it is formulated to be absorbed more slowly than regular fertilizer. This allows the nutrients to be released over a longer period of time, providing sustained nourishment to the developing roots.

Regular fertilizer, on the other hand, is formulated to be absorbed more quickly, providing a quick boost of nutrients to the grass.

Difference #4: Cost

Finally, there is a difference in cost between grass starter fertilizer and regular fertilizer. Because grass starter fertilizer is formulated with specific nutrients and designed for a specific purpose, it can be more expensive than regular fertilizer.

However, the benefits of using grass starter fertilizer in terms of promoting healthy root growth can be well worth the investment.

 

What is a Good Starter Fertilizer for Grass Seed and Sod?

When selecting a starter fertilizer for your lawn, it’s important to look for a product that is specifically formulated for grass seed or sod. These products will typically have a higher phosphorus content than standard fertilizers, which is essential for promoting root growth.

Look for a fertilizer with a phosphorus content of at least 10%, as well as a balanced ratio of nitrogen and potassium.

Can you Apply a Starter Fertilizer to Grass Seed and Sod?

To apply starter fertilizer to grass seed, you will need to mix the fertilizer with the soil before planting. Start by spreading a layer of topsoil over the area where you plan to plant the grass seed. Then, sprinkle the starter fertilizer evenly over the topsoil, using a spreader or your hands.

Finally, mix the fertilizer into the soil using a rake or garden fork, making sure to distribute it evenly throughout the topsoil layer. Once the fertilizer is mixed in, you can plant your grass seed as usual.

On the other hand, when applying starter fertilizer to sod, it’s important to apply it directly to the soil before installing the sod. Start by preparing the soil as you would for grass seed, by adding a layer of topsoil over the area where you plan to install the sod.

Then, sprinkle the starter fertilizer evenly over the topsoil, using a spreader or your hands. Finally, use a rake or garden fork to mix the fertilizer into the soil, making sure to distribute it evenly throughout the topsoil layer. Once the fertilizer is mixed in, you can install your sod as usual.

 

When Should You Apply Grass Starter Fertilizer?

Grass starter fertilizer is an essential tool for any lawn care enthusiast. It’s designed to help new grass seedlings grow strong roots and establish themselves in the soil. But when exactly should you apply grass starter fertilizer? Here are some tips to help you get the timing just right.

Wait Until You’ve Planted Your Grass Seed

Before you can apply a grass starter fertilizer, you need to plant your grass seed. Wait until you’ve spread the seed evenly across your lawn before applying the fertilizer.

This will help ensure that the fertilizer is evenly distributed and that all of your new grass seedlings get the nutrients they need to grow strong.

Apply the Fertilizer Immediately After Planting

Once you’ve planted your grass seed, it’s important to apply the fertilizer immediately. This will help ensure that the fertilizer is absorbed by the soil and the seedlings can begin to benefit from it right away. Waiting too long to apply the fertilizer can result in poor germination rates and weak, spindly grass seedlings.

Water the Fertilizer In

After you’ve applied the fertilizer, it’s important to water it thoroughly. This will help ensure that the fertilizer is absorbed by the soil and the grass seedlings can begin to take root. Make sure to water your lawn deeply, but avoid overwatering, as this can lead to fungal growth and other lawn problems.

Reapply the Fertilizer as Needed

Grass starter fertilizer is designed to provide your new grass seedlings with the nutrients they need to grow strong. However, it’s important to remember that these seedlings will need ongoing care and attention in order to thrive.

Depending on the type of grass you’re growing and the soil conditions in your area, you may need to reapply the fertilizer periodically to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant.

 

How to Fertilize New Grass With Starter Fertilizer? 

In this section, we will guide you through the steps of fertilizing new grass with starter fertilizer.

Step 1: Test Your Soil Before Planting

Before you start planting new grass, it’s essential to test your soil to determine its nutrient content and pH level. You can purchase a soil testing kit from your local garden center or send a sample to a soil testing laboratory. Once you know your soil’s nutrient content and pH level, you can choose the appropriate fertilizer for your new grass.

Step 2: Prepare The Area

Preparing your planting area is crucial for the success of your new grass. Remove any rocks, weeds, and debris from the area and till the soil to a depth of at least six inches. Rake the area to smooth it out and create an even surface.

Step 3: Choose Your Grass/Sod and the Fertilizer Type and Amount

Choose the type of grass or sod that is best suited for your climate and soil type. Different types of grass require different amounts of fertilizer, so make sure to choose the appropriate fertilizer type and amount based on your grass type and soil test results.

Step 4: Apply Your Starter Fertilizer

Starter fertilizer is specially formulated for new grass and contains a higher percentage of phosphorus, which helps with root development. Apply the starter fertilizer evenly across the planting area, either before seeding or laying sod. Use a broadcast spreader to ensure even coverage.

Step 5: Maintain Your Lawn

After your new grass has started to grow, it’s essential to maintain it with a follow-up dose of fertilizer. Apply a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag for the appropriate amount to use.

Step 6: Follow Up

Finally, in the fall, apply a winterizing fertilizer that is high in potassium. This will help your grass store nutrients and prepare for the winter months.

 

A Look At The 8 Best Grass Starter Fertilizers

A lush, green lawn is the envy of many homeowners. Achieving this requires proper care and maintenance, including the use of the right fertilizer. Grass starter fertilizers are specifically formulated to help new grass seedlings establish roots and grow strong.

In this section, we’ll take a look at the 8 best grass starter fertilizers available on the market today.

Andersons Starter Fertilizer (18-24-12)

The Andersons Starter Fertilizer is a popular choice among homeowners and landscapers alike. Its composition, which includes 18% nitrogen, 24% phosphorous, and 12% potassium, provides the necessary nutrients for new grass to establish roots and grow quickly.

This fertilizer is best for cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass. It can be applied using a broadcast spreader or a hand-held spreader.

Yard Mastery Starter Fertilizer (12-12-12)

The Yard Mastery Starter Fertilizer is a well-balanced fertilizer that provides equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

This composition makes it suitable for all types of grass, including warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass and zoysia grass. The fertilizer can be applied using a broadcast spreader or a hand-held spreader.

Ferti-Lome New Lawn Starter Fertilizer (9-13-7)

The Ferti-Lome New Lawn Starter Fertilizer is a great option for those looking to establish a new lawn. This fertilizer contains a balanced mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with a higher concentration of phosphorus to promote root growth.

It’s best suited for cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue. The recommended application rate is 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and it should be applied before seeding or laying sod.

Scotts Turf Builder Starter Fertilizer (21-22-4)

The Scotts Turf Builder Starter Fertilizer is a popular choice among homeowners and professionals alike. This fertilizer contains a high concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with a focus on promoting strong root development.

It’s best suited for warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass and zoysia grass. The recommended application rate is 2.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and it should be applied before seeding or laying sod.

Espoma Organic Lawn Starter Fertilizer (7-2-2)

The Espoma Organic Lawn Starter Fertilizer is a great option for those looking for an all-natural alternative. This fertilizer contains a blend of organic ingredients, including bone meal and poultry manure, to promote healthy root growth. It’s best suited for all grass types and can be applied before seeding or laying sod. The recommended application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Pennington Ultragreen Starter Fertilizer (22-23-4)

The Pennington Ultragreen Starter Fertilizer is another popular choice among homeowners and professionals. This fertilizer contains a high concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with a focus on promoting strong root development and rapid growth.

It’s best suited for all grass types and can be applied before seeding or laying sod. The recommended application rate is 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet.

Jonathan Green Starter Fertilizer (12-18-8)

The Jonathan Green Starter Fertilizer (12-18-8) is a well-balanced formula that contains 12% nitrogen, 18% phosphorus, and 8% potassium, along with essential micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and manganese. It also includes a special blend of organic ingredients, including bone meal, feather meal, and sulfate of potash, which help to promote healthy root growth and improve soil structure.

This grass starter fertilizer is ideal for use on newly seeded or sodded lawns, as well as for overseeding existing lawns. It is suitable for all types of grass, including cool-season and warm-season varieties.

The Jonathan Green Starter Fertilizer (12-18-8) can be applied using a broadcast spreader, drop spreader, or hand-held spreader. The recommended application rate is 4 lbs. per 1,000 square feet for newly seeded lawns, and 3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet for established lawns. It should be applied evenly and watered thoroughly after application.

What to Look For When Buying Grass Starter Fertilizer?

Below we’ll discuss what to look for when buying grass starter fertilizer.

The Perfect NPK Ratio for Lawn Starter Fertilizer

When purchasing grass starter fertilizer, you should first consider the NPK ratio. NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are the three essential elements that plants need to grow. The ideal NPK ratio for a lawn starter fertilizer is 20-27-5.

This means that it should contain 20% nitrogen, 27% phosphorus, and 5% potassium. Nitrogen helps with leaf growth, while phosphorus promotes root development, and potassium aids in disease resistance.

Quick-Release vs Slow-Release

Grass starter fertilizers come in two forms: quick-release and slow-release. Quick-release fertilizer delivers nutrients to the grass immediately, but the effect is short-lived.

On the other hand, slow-release fertilizer releases nutrients gradually over time, providing long-lasting benefits to the lawn. Slow-release fertilizer is ideal for busy homeowners who don’t have time to fertilize their lawn regularly.

Organic vs Synthetic Fertilizer

Another factor to consider when buying grass starter fertilizer is whether to choose organic or synthetic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is made from natural materials, such as bone meal, blood meal, and compost. It is an excellent choice for eco-conscious homeowners who prefer natural products.

Synthetic fertilizer, on the other hand, is made from chemical compounds, which provide a quick nutrient boost. However, it’s important to note that synthetic fertilizer can harm the environment if not used correctly.

Type of Fertilizer (how it’s applied)

Lastly, you should consider the type of fertilizer and how it’s applied. Some grass starter fertilizers come in granular form, which is easy to spread over the lawn using a broadcast spreader.

Others come in liquid form, which is applied using a hose-end sprayer. The choice between granular and liquid fertilizer depends on personal preference and the size of your lawn.

Conclusion

Choosing the right grass starter fertilizer is crucial to achieving a healthy and thriving lawn. With this article as your perfect guide, we hope that you’ll be able to select the best grass starter fertilizer for your lawn

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