The Great Debate: Lawn Starter Fertiliser vs Maintenance Fertiliser

If you’re looking to transform your yard or start a new garden, using fertiliser is the key to achieving a lush, healthy lawn. However, choosing between lawn starter fertiliser and maintenance fertiliser can be confusing. Selecting the wrong type could impact the growth and establishment of your lawn.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll unravel the differences between these two options and share the best ways to use them. We’ll also answer some common fertiliser FAQs to help you gain a deeper understanding of these products.

What is Lawn Starter Fertiliser?

Lawn starter fertiliser is packed with nutrients that promote growth in new lawns. It is available in both liquid and granule forms, depending on the brand you choose. Every lawn starter fertiliser contains three essential components: phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), and potassium (K).

Manufacturers often indicate the percentage of each component on the packaging, known as the NPK ratio. This ratio helps you understand the nutrient composition of the fertiliser. The main objective of using lawn starter fertiliser is to provide new grass with the necessary nutrients for faster and healthier growth.

The Truth About Starter Fertilisers

Let’s clear up a common misconception about NPK ratios. Contrary to popular belief, the NPK ratio is not a true ratio but rather a representation of the percentage of actual nutrients in the fertiliser. For example, an NPK ratio of 5:1:5 signifies 5% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus, and 5% potassium.

When it comes to normal maintenance growth, a maintenance fertiliser is typically blended with a ratio that compares all nutrients to the main nutrient, nitrogen. As a general rule, potassium (K) is applied at 50-80% of the nitrogen level, while phosphorus (P) is applied at 10% of nitrogen.

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However, when a lawn is new, it requires additional phosphorus for root development. In such cases, it is recommended to increase the phosphorus level to approximately 50% of the nitrogen level. This adjustment creates a N:P ratio of 2:1, as exemplified in our LawnPlay Underlay product.

When Should I Use Lawn Starter Fertiliser on My Lawn?

If you’re starting a new lawn from scratch, it’s best to apply lawn starter fertiliser to the soil before laying sod or seeding. This ensures that the nutrients are in place before the growth process begins. It’s important to note that during the establishment process, it’s advisable to wait for 6-8 weeks before reapplying fertiliser. This period allows the new growth to settle and reduces the risk of disease or over-fertilisation.

How Do I Use Lawn Starter Fertiliser?

To use lawn starter fertiliser effectively, the first step is determining the appropriate amount for your lawn. The quantity required may vary based on the nitrogen concentration in the product and the size of your yard. If you’re unsure, consult the packaging or seek expert advice.

Once you have the correct quantity, evenly distribute the fertiliser using a spreader. If you’re fertilising before planting, make sure to work the product into the soil at a depth of 4-6 inches. This precaution prevents the granules from blowing away.

What is Regular Fertiliser?

Regular fertiliser, also known as maintenance fertiliser, is used for ongoing lawn care. Like starter fertiliser, it contains a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, the ratio of these elements differs to support the maintenance of established lawns.

When Should I Use Regular Fertiliser on My Lawn?

The optimal time to use regular fertiliser is approximately 12 weeks after seeding. Unlike starter fertilisers, regular ones do not contain a high amount of phosphorus, which is crucial for root growth in seedlings. Starting too early with a maintenance fertiliser can potentially damage new growth.

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For existing lawns, it is recommended to use regular fertiliser three times a year. Apply it in spring to awaken your lawn from dormancy, in summer to support its growth, and in autumn to prolong the growing period and store nutrients for the following spring. The type and frequency of fertiliser used often play a significant role in determining the quality of your lawn.

How Do I Use Regular Fertiliser?

Before applying regular fertiliser, ensure that the leaves of your lawn are dry. The fertiliser breaks down with water, and you don’t want it to break down in the morning dew, potentially burning the leaves. Simply rub your hand across the lawn to check if it’s dry.

Once the lawn is dry, measure the required amount of fertiliser and begin applying it around the edges. Starting from the edges helps ensure even coverage. Then, proceed to fill in the middle area using a back and forth motion.

It’s beneficial to reapply regular fertiliser in spring, summer, and autumn. This consistent application ensures a steady supply of nutrients and maintains the overall health of your grass or plants throughout the seasons.

Lawn Starter Fertiliser vs Regular Fertiliser: Which One Should You Use?

After understanding the differences between starter and regular fertilisers, you may wonder which option is best for your property. In most cases, the choice depends on whether you are starting fresh or nurturing existing grass.

For new lawns seeded or laid with sod, it’s recommended to use starter fertiliser. This variety provides an ideal balance of nutrients for developing strong roots. Some experts may suggest using starter fertiliser on existing vegetation or alternating between starter and regular fertilisers based on soil conditions. However, it’s advisable to consult an expert and conduct a soil test before adopting this approach.

Where Can I Find the Best Fertiliser?

If you’re ready to enhance your yard and boost grass and plant growth, look no further than Ames Farm Center. We offer high-quality fertilisers that provide all the necessary nutrients for your lawn and garden maintenance. Our products deliver organic benefits, reduce water usage, and promote a healthier environment. In addition to fertilisers, we offer professional lawn advice to ensure you choose the right products for your specific soil needs. Contact us today or visit Ames Farm Center to explore our range of products and consult with our knowledgeable team.

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FAQs: Your Burning Questions Answered

How Long Does Fertiliser Take to Work?

After applying lawn starter fertiliser, it typically takes about a week to see noticeable results. However, the amount of growth experienced will depend on whether you planted seeds or laid sod. Remember, a significant portion of the growth occurs below the soil surface.

Does Starter Fertiliser Need to be Watered In?

Most starter fertilisers do not require additional watering during the application process. It’s best to wait for the seeds to germinate or the turf to settle before watering. However, it is vital to ensure that the soil remains moist to promote seed growth and development.

Can I Use Starter Fertiliser All Year?

For established lawns, it’s best to transition to a maintenance fertiliser once your lawn matures. However, if an expert advises otherwise due to a specific imbalance in soil nutrition, you may continue using starter fertiliser.

Can You Overapply Starter Fertiliser?

Like any other product, using excessive amounts of lawn starter fertiliser can negatively impact your lawn. Always follow the recommended application amount and wait for at least 12 weeks before reapplying.

Will Starter Fertiliser Harm Existing Grass?

Using lawn starter fertiliser on existing grass may not have significant adverse effects. However, it’s important to note that regular maintenance fertilisers are better suited to provide the necessary nutrients for existing grass. Reserve starter fertilisers for areas with new sod or seedlings to ensure proper nourishment and growth.

Now that you’re armed with valuable insights on lawn starter fertiliser and regular fertiliser, you can make an informed decision about the best course of action for your lawn. Remember, a healthy, vibrant lawn starts with the right fertiliser!