Starter Fertilizer really needed?

reggie517

LawnSite Member
I am overseeding this weekend and I have seen some people who say not to put down starter fertilizer when you overseed because the seeds can't use any of the nutrients until after they germinate and usually the starter fertilizer has broken down by then and it will also speed up the growth of the existing turf which will slow the grow of the new seed?

These same people recommend fertilizing after germination but not sure I want to be walking all over those tender blades of grass.

What do people recommend? I am overseeding with a high quality 100% TTTF mix and I am in Southern NH.
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
If you are mowing your grass short during and after germination there is no need to worry about how fast the existing grass is growing, and the clippings from the existing grass will keep feeding the seedlings as they establish, and not all of the nitrogen disappears in the six days it takes for the seedlings to germinate as some seem to think.

There is no need to worry about walking or mowing over the new seedlings from time to time in order to care for them.
 

Mizzou21

LawnSite Member
Location
Kansas
One thing I saw Travis Hogan, head groundskeeper for the KC Chiefs, recommend is apply a starter fert and some 18-2-18 with 75% Polycoated at the same time at a rate of .5 to .75 LBS of N.

If you just do starter fert only, a lot of it has a much lower N rate anyways so really wont push a lot of top growth so I wouldn't be too worried about it.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
My opinion, fertilize just after the seed germinates; this is probably better.
Kerb makes a good point--keep cutting the old grass short, to allow the new grass more space and more sunlight. It will not hurt the new grass (much), if you have to walk on it to mow.
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
As long as the soil is not wet and muddy (usually a bare spot, technically a new seeding) it's ok to walk on your overseed to move a hose or mow it. You can even walk on a new seeding as long as the soil is fairly dry and not muddy. Boy, I would have recked a lot of good seedings if that were not true, but I have to admit that it always surprises me that I can do that. :)
 

That Guy Gary

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
SW Idaho
I started a few k on bare dirt at my place last year and didn't have an irrigation system installed, had to walk on it a few times a day to move the sprinkler and no grass was harmed in the operation.

I was pretty anxious about it at first, after a few days it was obvious that I wasn't doing damage. I just gave it 20-30 minutes after shutting off the water first so it wasn't wet enough to stick to my shoes.
 
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reggie517

LawnSite Member
Thanks everyone! I have a riding mower, if I keep it slow and don't make sharp turns do you think this would be ok?
 

agrostis

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Winston-Salem NC
I say fertilize when you seed. If you are watering 3 times a day trying to germinate seed then that ground is going to be a muddy mess after 2 weeks of watering.
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Thanks everyone! I have a riding mower, if I keep it slow and don't make sharp turns do you think this would be ok?
If this is an over-seed as stated in your original post, I think the rider used in the manner you describe would work just fine. If this is a new seeding on the bare ground, I would refrain from using the rider. Maybe you can rent or borrow a push mower.
 

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