Can I Use Starter Fertilizer On Established Lawn? (Landscape Advice)

Starter fertilizer is a popular choice for newly seeded lawns, but can it be used on an established lawn? Our post on Can I Use Starter Fertilizer on Established Lawn? Landscape Advice provides expert guidance on the pros and cons of using this type of fertilizer on an established lawn.

Starter fertilizer is typically used for new grass plants and not established lawns.
Follow the recommended dosage to prevent burning your lawn with fertilizer.
Lawn aeration can be done without a machine by using a pitchfork.
Lawn seed can deteriorate over time and lose its effectiveness.
Heavy rainfall can cause damage to lawnmowers.
Watering your lawn at night may not be the best time for your lawn’s health.
There is a difference between lawn starter fertilizer and regular fertilizer.
Mixing starter fertilizer with regular fertilizer is possible but requires careful dosage.
Starter fertilizer is typically applied once during the planting process, and not repeatedly.

If you’re looking for advice on watering your lawn, check out our post on Can I Water My Lawn at Night? Garden Advice for some helpful tips on the best time to water your grass.

Can I Use Starter Fertilizer On Established Lawn?

Yes, you can use starter fertilizer on established lawns. Starter fertilizer is designed to help new grass seedlings grow and is generally applied in the springtime or fall. 

Starter fertilizer contains higher amounts of nitrogen, which promotes quick green growth of the lawn as well as root development in both your new and existing grass.

It’s not necessary to use starter fertilizer on an established lawn, but doing so will give it a boost early in the growing season that might help promote stronger roots later on.

To avoid burning your lawn with fertilizer, it is important to follow the recommended fertilization dosage. Visit our gardening advice article to learn more about the risks of burning your lawn with fertilizer and how to prevent it.

What Is Starter Fertilizer And What Does It Do?

You can use a starter fertilizer to add nutrients to the soil where your new grass will be planted. You might want to apply it before or after planting grass seedlings. Starter fertilizers are also sold for use on established lawns to help them grow faster and healthier. 

These fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients needed by all plants including grasses. 

When these nutrients become depleted in soil due to heavy rains, excessive watering or other factors (such as too many pets), they can quickly restore those levels again so that your lawn continues growing healthily throughout the year instead of slowing down during hot weather months when temperatures soar over 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).

Thoughts on Starter Fertilizer + Backyard Update

How Much Starter Fertilizer Should I Apply?

There is no magical formula for determining how much starter fertilizer should be applied. It depends on the type of turf you have and what kind of results you are looking for. 

The most important step is to ensure that your lawn has all the nutrients it needs before applying any additional fertilizer; this will prevent unnecessary stress on your grass and increase its chances of survival.

A good rule of thumb is to apply 1 pound of lawn starter fertilizer per 1,000 square feet (about 1/3 pound per 100 square feet) if you want a green springtime lawn with minimal browning out in the summer months. 

If you want greener grass throughout the summer months and recommend fertilizing every two weeks from spring until fall with a high-nitrogen product like 6-4-8 Lawn Starter Fertilizer Granules pH 5 – 7 (1lb/3 Gallons).

Lawn aeration can seem daunting, but there are methods of aerating your lawn without a machine. Find out more about aerating lawns with a pitchfork in our landscaping advice article.

How Often Should I Apply Starter Fertilizer?

When you’re applying starter fertilizer to an established lawn, it’s best to do so once a year. This will help ensure that your grass gets the nutrients it needs at just the right time in spring, before new growth begins. 

It’s important not to apply fertilizer in summer or fall because this can actually inhibit growth and cause damage to existing leaves.

What Is The Best Time To Apply Starter Fertilizer?

When you want your lawn to grow quickly and stay healthy, one of the best things you can do is apply starter fertilizer. Starter fertilizers are designed to encourage root growth in established grasses, making them more resistant to disease and stress. 

They also encourage top-growth, which means that your lawn will have a thicker green appearance than it would without starter fertilizer applied.

A great time to apply starter fertilizer is when your grass begins growing again after winter has passed; this will encourage new growth on existing blades of grass while also increasing the overall health of your lawn. 

As soon as spring hits, start preparing for planting by applying half a pound (about 2 tablespoons) of starter fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of turf area. 

You may need less or more depending on where you live or how much sunshine reaches different parts of your yard the amount recommended here should be enough for most areas with ample sunlight throughout most days during springtime months (April through July), though if you have darker spots where sun doesn’t reach often then adjust accordingly so that each blade gets enough energy from light sources like lamps/solar panels etcetera…

Will Using Starter Fertilizer Harm My Lawn?

If you’re wondering whether starter fertilizer can harm your lawn, the answer is no. Starter fertilizer products are designed to be used on established grass and may include a combination of slow-release nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K), but they are low in strength compared to other types of lawn nutrients that you would apply later in the season.

It’s also important to note that starter fertilizers do not contain weed killers or pesticides. For this reason, they are safe for you and your family as well as pets who may play on the lawn after a treatment has been applied.

Lawn seed has a shelf-life and can deteriorate over time. Visit our landscaping advice article to learn more about can lawn seed go bad and what you can do to ensure the effectiveness and germination rate of the seed.

Will Using Starter Fertilizer Help My Lawn?

First things first, you need to know that starter fertilizer is not for use on established lawns. Starter fertilizers are made up of low-nitrogen fertilizers which help establish new grass and encourage root growth. 

The most common starter fertilizer on the market today contains only 1% nitrogen, but some manufacturers offer slightly higher nitrogen levels (1.5% to 2%).

The best time to apply starter fertilizer is when you’re starting a new lawn from seed or sod. 

If you’re planning on growing your own grass from seedlings, applying starter fertilizer will help get them off to a fast start and give them the nutrients they need to grow strong roots that can hold onto their soil in tough conditions like drought or excessive rainfall. 

You’ll also want to use it if you’re planting sod instead of sowing seeds directly into soil because this method requires pre-established root systems in order for success

Is It Safe To Use The Same Starter Fertilizer On New Grass As Well As Established Grass?

Despite the name, starter fertilizer is not recommended for use on established lawns. Starter fertilizer is specifically designed to stimulate growth in new grass seedlings, and you should only apply it while they are still young and tender.

It’s important to note that starter fertilizers differ from lawn food or other types of fertilizer; they contain smaller amounts of nutrients than other varieties, so there’s no danger of over-fertilizing your lawn with these products.

How Long Does It Take For My Lawn To Respond To A Starter Fertilizer Application?

A starter fertilizer will not work overnight. If you’re looking for fast results, this is probably not the best option for you. The time it takes for your lawn to respond depends on what type of starter fertilizer you use, as well as how much grass you have growing on your property and how much sun it gets each day.

Heavy rainfall can cause damage to lawnmowers if not appropriately managed. To learn more about the effects of rain on lawnmowers, visit our landscaping advice article for tips on how to protect your equipment.

Why Would I Need To Apply A Starter Fertilizer On An Established Lawn In The First Place?

A starter fertilizer is an application of nitrogen and other nutrients added to a lawn before any new grass seedlings have been planted. A starter fertilizer can also be applied to an established lawn during periods of stress such as winter or drought, when the grass will require extra nutrition to recover.

Starter fertilizers are most beneficial when applied in the spring, which is when most homeowners want their lawns to begin growing again after winter dormancy. 

Applying a starter fertilizer helps ensure that new seeds germinate quickly and grow strong roots, so they can withstand extreme weather conditions such as cold spells or heat waves without being harmed by them later on in the season.

Does Applying A Starter Fertilizer Increase The Growth Rate Of New Grass Seedlings?

The primary benefit of applying a starter fertilizer to an established lawn is that it can help new grass seedlings grow faster and stronger. A healthy, vigorous lawn will have better nutrient absorption capabilities than a weak one, so it’s important to give your lawn a boost before you plant new grass seedlings in the spring.

However, if the purpose of using starter fertilizer on existing turf is simply to improve its appearance while preparing for fall mowing or winter snow removal (as opposed to attempting to strengthen its overall health), then this may only be temporary. 

As soon as you begin mowing/raking/blowing again later in the season or even when winter arrives any color enhancement from your starter application will fade away entirely once more!

] What Are The Benefits Of Applying A Starter Fertilizer On An Established Lawn In The Spring?

There are many benefits of applying starter fertilizer to established lawns in the spring. A starter fertilizer application will increase the rate at which grass grows, improve the health of your lawn, increase its density and make it greener and more uniform. 

The application will also help your lawn recover from winter damage, make it more resistant to diseases, and prevent damage caused by insects or weeds.

Watering your lawn at night may seem like a convenient option, but it may not be the best time for your lawn’s health. Find out more about the best time to water your lawn and how to maintain a healthy lawn in our garden advice article.


As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to applying a starter fertilizer to your lawn in the spring. It is important that you don’t overdo it on the quantity and frequency of applications, however. 

In addition, if you plan on using a starter fertilizer for other purposes such as adding nutrients or improving soil health, then you should make sure that it has all the necessary components before applying it on your grass.

Further Reading

For more information on the differences between lawn starter fertilizer and regular fertilizer, check out Green Seasons Lawns’ blog post.

Learn more about whether starter fertilizer is good for established lawns in Turf Mechanic’s article.

Check out Lawnstarter’s blog post for 9 FAQs about applying starter fertilizer to your lawn.


Is starter fertilizer safe for established lawns? Yes, starter fertilizer is safe for established lawns, but it may not be necessary. The main purpose of starter fertilizer is to promote root growth, which is beneficial for new grass plants.

Can I apply starter fertilizer to my lawn in the fall? Yes, you can apply starter fertilizer to your lawn in the fall. However, its effectiveness may be reduced as the grass begins to enter dormancy.

How often should I apply starter fertilizer to my lawn? Starter fertilizer is typically applied once during the planting process, so it is not necessary to apply it repeatedly. However, you can apply it again in subsequent years if desired.

Can I mix starter fertilizer with regular fertilizer? Yes, you can mix starter fertilizer with regular fertilizer. However, it is important to follow the dosage recommendations and not to over-fertilize your lawn.

When should I apply starter fertilizer to my lawn? Starter fertilizer should be applied during the planting process of new grass or when overseeding. It is not typically necessary for established lawns.