Today I want to talk about what to put down with your grass seed. A couple days ago, we talked about overseeding the lawn and I briefly mentioned about putting a fertilizer down with the seed. I do like putting a fertilizer down, but you really have to make sure you are putting the right one.
There are many different combinations of fertilizer. We discussed in depth in the ‘What do the numbers mean on the fertilizer bag’ blog, so I won’t redo much of that, but I do want to stress to pay attention to what you are buying. There are regular lawn food fertilizer bags. These typically have a high nitrogen content in them. Usually like a 34-6-4 combination. These are designed to be put out in the peak growing time of the year. In Nashville, we usually will put this one out in late June or July. There is also a ‘weed n feed’ type fertilizer. This is that really bad product that has weed killer and fertilizer in it together. The fertilizer is usually a high nitrogen content as well and the weed killer works if you install it properly. (Make sure the grass is wet when you broadcast the ‘weed n feed’ granuals!!) For some reason, the big box stores start early stressing the fact that you need a winterizer fertilizer in September. I guess they want to prey on the ignorant and sell more stuff. The winterizer fertilizer in Nashville, should not be put out until around Christmas time. It should be installed a couple of weeks before the ground potentially completely freezes.
Now, the fertilizer I want to talk about today is the one that I like and use most often, ‘The Lawn Starter Fertilizer’. I recommend using this product any and everytime you are spreading grass seed. It typically has somewhere around a 18-24-12 combination in it. Notice the lower Nitrogen, but higher Phosphorus content. The Phosphorus dramatically increases the germination rate of the seed and strengthens the existing plants without making them grow like crazy. The lower Nitrogen prevents the seed from burning up and dying while producing a new plant. It also has the higher potassium for strong root development.
The lawn starter fertilizer is a slow release type product and should be installed the same day as the grass seed. This gives the fertilizer a chance to do its job while the seed is cracking open and developing roots. Remember, Fescue grass seed takes a minimum of two weeks to germinate. Make sure when you are at a big box buying grass seed or fertilizer, don’t buy what they are selling, buy what you are needing at that time!!