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Will Grass Seed Grow Without a Starter Fertilizer?

Will Grass Seed Grow Without a Starter Fertilizer?

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

I get a lot of questions on whether or not you need to use a starter fertilizer when planting grass seed. Here’s the simple truth of it.

Grass seeds can grow without fertilizer, but you should still use one. Starter fertilizer will give your grass the nutrients it needs to grow faster and stronger. It also helps the seedlings develop deeper roots, which is important for a healthy lawn.

The rest of the article will look at the benefits of using a starter fertilizer and explain why it’s important for establishing a healthy lawn. We will also give tips on getting your lawn off to a great start!

Importance of Starter Fertilizer for Grass Seeds

Starting a new lawn from seed can be a challenging task. But by using starter fertilizer, you can give your grass seedlings the nutrients they need to get a strong start.

A starter fertilizer is important for grass seeds because it gives the seedlings the nutrients they need to grow. In particular, a starter fertilizer helps to promote root development, which is essential for a healthy lawn.

Without a strong root system, the grass is more susceptible to drought, insect damage, and disease. A starter fertilizer also helps to improve the soil’s porosity, allowing water and air to reach the roots more easily. As a result, seedlings given a starter fertilizer are more likely to survive and thrive (source).

Choosing the Right Fertilizer

Choosing a fertilizer specifically designed for grass seedlings is important, as other types of fertilizer can harm delicate young plants. Once your grass seeds have germinated, they will continue to need fertilizer to support their growth.

Several types of fertilizer are available on the market, and choosing the right one for your grass seeds can be overwhelming. However, you can keep a few things in mind to help you choose the right fertilizer for your needs.

  • Pay attention to what type of grass you are planting. Different grasses have different nutrient requirements, so be sure to select a fertilizer specifically designed for the type of grass you are growing.
  • Consider the size of your lawn. If you have a large lawn, you’ll need a fertilizer with a higher nutrient concentration to get the coverage you need.
  • Set your budget. Many high-quality fertilizers are available at an affordable price, so don’t be afraid to shop around until you find one that fits your needs and budget.

NPK Ratio

It’s important to understand that grass seed is a living plant. Just like any other living thing, it needs food to grow. The three main nutrients that grass seed needs are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Therefore consider the NPK ratio when choosing a fertilizer. The NPK ratio is the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer (source).

  • A higher nitrogen concentration is ideal for grass seedlings, as nitrogen helps to promote growth.
  • A lower phosphorus concentration is best, as too much can harm delicate plants.
  • And a balanced potassium concentration is ideal, as potassium helps to promote drought resistance.

Keep in mind, however, that the soil type that you are working with can be a big factor in your grass seed’s growth. Watch this video if you are dealing with growing a lawn in Clay Soil:

Clay Soil Lawn Fertilizer - Don't Make A Huge Mistake!

What if I Don’t Use a Starter Fertilizer?

If you decide not to use a starter fertilizer, keep an eye on your lawn and water it regularly. But remember that your grass may be uneven, will take longer to grow, and might not be as strong or healthy as it could be.

Fertilizer provides essential nutrients that help the grass to grow strong and healthy. The grass may be more susceptible to disease and pests without these nutrients.

In addition, fertilizer can help the grass to establish a good root system, which is essential for surviving hot summer days and periods of drought. For these reasons, it’s generally recommended that gardeners use a starter fertilizer when planting new grass seeds.

So, while you can technically grow grass seed without a starter fertilizer, I recommend using one for the best results.

The Right Time To Use Starter Fertilizer

A starter fertilizer is a great way to give grass seeds the extra boost they need to get off to a healthy start. The best time to apply a starter fertilizer is before planting so that the seeds have access to the nutrients they need from the start.

Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings have emerged, it’s important to apply a regular fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your grass has everything it needs to thrive.

Don’t Overdo It

It’s important to remember that too much of anything can be bad for your plants. This is true of fertilizer as well. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and apply the fertilizer at the recommended rate.

If you apply too much, it can cause fertilizer burn, causing yellow patches and stunted growth. In extreme cases, it can even kill the grass. So, be cautious when applying fertilizer and always avoid using more than is recommended (source).

Following these simple tips ensures that your grass seedlings have everything they need to grow strong and healthy. With a little care and attention, you can have a beautiful lawn in no time!

A Soil Test Is Recommended

Before applying any fertilizer, it’s always a good idea to have your soil tested. This will give you an idea of the nutrient levels in your soil and help you determine which fertilizer will be best for your plants’ needs (source).

A professional can perform a soil test, or you can purchase a kit to do it yourself (link to Amazon). With your soil test results, you can accurately determine which fertilizer will be best for your lawn.


A starter fertilizer is a great way to give your grass seed the nutrients it needs to grow. It’s important to follow the directions on the fertilizer package so that you don’t over or under-fertilize your lawn.

Using a starter fertilizer is the best approach to ensure that your grass seedlings get all they need to grow robust and healthy.

But if you’re unsure whether or not to use them, it’s always best to consult a lawn care professional. They’ll be able to advise you on the best fertilizer for your particular situation.

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