Using Spring Fertilizer and Lawn Seed to Promote Growth

Using Spring Fertilizer and Lawn Seed to Promote Growth

When it comes to nurturing a lush and vibrant lawn from the very beginning, the step following the initial irrigation of your grass seeds holds immense importance. Once you have watered your seeds and they have sprouted and taken root, it’s time to apply fertilizer to emerging grass seedlings in order to significantly bolster their growth and development. This process should begin when the seedlings reach a height of about three inches, which is a stage at which they are strong enough to benefit from additional nutrients without suffering from potential damage. After this, weekly fertilization becomes key until the seedlings are ready for transplanting. It’s important to understand the specific nutrients these young plants need to flourish.

Grass seedlings require a balanced diet of essential nutrients, each of which plays a pivotal role in their growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the primary nutrients seedlings crave. Nitrogen is crucial for promoting vigorous leaf growth, giving the seedlings the green color often associated with health and vitality. Phosphorus supports the development of robust root systems essential for water and nutrient uptake. Conversely, potassium contributes to overall plant health, aiding in disease resistance and drought tolerance.

The presence of these nutrients in the right balance is vital for the seedlings to develop into resilient, mature grass capable of withstanding environmental stresses. That being said, knowing the types of nutrients your seedlings need is one thing; applying them correctly is another.

How to properly fertilize seedlings

person composting


As you navigate the early stages of caring for your grass seedlings, you’re faced with a pivotal choice: grabbing a ready-made fertilizer off the shelf or embracing the organic path by creating your own mix. If you prefer to go organic, composting is a popular and effective method. This is the controlled decomposition of organic matter, such as manure and kitchen waste, by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen. This process balances the nutrient content of the materials, making them more accessible to plants.

The benefits of composting extend beyond merely providing nutrients. Compost also improves soil structure, enhances moisture retention, and fosters beneficial microbial activity. The raw materials commonly used in composting include kitchen waste such as vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, leaves, and animal manure. By layering these materials and allowing them to decompose, you create a rich, balanced fertilizer that can significantly enhance the growth of your grass seedlings.

If mixing and turning compost isn’t quite your style, there’s always store-bought fertilizer. If you go this route, look for an all-purpose blend with a balanced mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These fertilizers are crafted to support the growth and development of young plants like seedlings. However, the key here is to follow the instructions on the label. Applying the right amount of fertilizer

ensures your seedlings get just what they need without tipping into over-fertilization, which can be just as detrimental as neglect.

Tips for fertilizing seedlings

person holding lawn fertilizer


Tending to your grass seedlings with fertilizer is an art that demands attention and a gentle hand. Think of it as seasoning food — too much salt spoils the dish. If your seedlings look a bit under the weather, it’s best to hold off on fertilizer. The adage “less is more” holds true in this situation. Using too much fertilizer can harm your seedlings, leading to nutrient burn, which can manifest as yellowing or browning of the leaves. It’s a serious setback that can stunt your seedlings’ growth, the opposite of what you want for your seedings.

Beyond the need for fertilizer, seedlings also crave the basics: ample water and light. These are the true cornerstones of their growth. Water, more than just a thirst quencher, is essential for transporting nutrients within the seedlings, helping them absorb the food they need from the soil. Light, on the other hand, is the powerhouse behind photosynthesis, enabling your grass to convert sunlight into the energy it needs to grow. Balancing water and light ensures your seedlings not only survive but thrive, laying down strong roots and sprouting vibrant, green leaves. So, as you nurture your grass seedlings, approach fertilizing with a mindset of precision and moderation.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.