Starting a lawn from seed

Asked May 1, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT

I am seeding a new lawn with Kentucky Bluegrass this Spring out in Velva, ND. I have heard conflicting reports on what type of fertilizer to put down first and whether it should contain more phosphorus or nitrogen. Do you have any tips on this?

McHenry County North Dakota turfgrass horticulture

1 Response

"Starter" fertilizers are typically used when sowing a lawn. These fertilizers are relatively high in phosphorus, which is the second number listed on the fertilizer bag. Examples would be 5-10-5 and 12-24-12. Follow the instructions on the label regarding rate and how to adjust your fertilizer spreader. Phosphorus promotes strong root development, which is critical when establishing a new lawn.

After your lawn is established, you will focus more on the nitrogen. In general we recommend fertilizers using a 4 Nitrogen :1 Phosphorus 2 Potassium ratio; for example 24-6-12 or something similar. For best results, now would be a good time to get a soil test to determine the best fertilizer for your yard. Your local county Extension office has soil testing bags and instructions available for you.