Asked May 4, 2019, 10:10 AM EDT

Hi! I am reseeding part of my boulevard after the winter has done it's damage. I have raked out the dead grass and have spread a fresh layer of top soil. My question is, should I put down the spring fertilizer first over the good existing grass, wait a week or two then seed, or seed first before fertilizing? Thank you for your help! -- Gary

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for your question.

The University of Minnesota has an excellent publication that deals with issues about grass seeding:

In this publication, you will see that fertilizing before seeding is the recommended practice. Let me add to that. If you go this route, for the areas that you will be seeding use what is called "starting fertilizer". This designation will appear on the fertilizer container. This type of fertilizer, in contrast to "regular fertilizer" is specifically designed to promote grass seed germination. It has an elevated amount of phosphate in it which is a key element for seed germination. If you can't find this, just go ahead and use your regular grass fertilizer. Most Minnesota soils have rather high levels of phosphate in them so this starter fertilizer is not an absolute requirement.

After working the fertilizer into the soil and spreading the grass seed, you may wish to cover the area with some burlap. I use this whenever I seed areas and it truly makes a difference. The burlap does three important things: (1) when you water the area it prevents the grass seed from running off; (2) it keeps the little tweety birds from eating the seed; and (3) it prevents the soil from drying out too quickly. Once you see grass shoots sticking up through the burlap - usually within two weeks of seeding - gently remove the burlap.

Good luck!!