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what first - grass seed or fertilizer

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:35 pm
by fishbert

I bought a home where the yard was not maintained when they put the home up for sale. Some of the grass is light green or brown, and that is with a september/early October with more than average rain.

Its apparent I need to put fertilzer on.

We have some dead patches of grass and I will be racking up the thatch and applying grass seed and fertilzer over these areas.

My question is - what first? I would think fertilzer first as it needs to be applied to the whole lawn. If I put grass seed down first, I will not be able to use the spreader then. I plan on putting knee high garden fences over the area that I plan on breaking up the earth and putting seed down.

I have read some sites that state fertilizer AFTER the grass seed, but I would rather not have any traffic over these area

- thanks in advance.

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:14 am
by Newt
Hi Fishbert,

Congratulations on your new home! If you are going to seed and fertilize at the same time and just seed some areas, go ahead and fertilize the entire yard and then seed the selected spots. Personally I don't use synthetic fertilizers. I would core aerate, apply about 1/4" of compost and then seed the selected areas. You might find this helpful.

[url=,16417,482229,00.html]This old house[/url]


Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:21 pm
by fishbert
Thank you. Those sites were very helpful. Aeration did not come up in the searches I did on wanting to improve my yard. Nor did composting.

the problems I see with my yard may be attributed to not Aerating. Last month, there were contractors going door to door overing to aerate the yard that pointed out our home was not areated by the previous owners. I elected not to get it done, but am second guessing that.

The concern I have against synth fertilizer is our dog, but I can keep her out of the back yard for a few days.

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:35 pm
by Newt
You are so very welcome! I also have dogs and prefer the organic way of gardening and lawn care. It's safer for them, me andthe environment. :)


Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:42 pm
by fishbert
I started this thread in fall 0f 07. I have had limited success with my fall and spring seeding projects.

I have not fertilized the lawn with a spreader until last month. Largely because of being a dog owner, I am against getting synthtic fertilzer. My wife is opposed to us making our own compost. So I did find some lawn feed in a bottle, but found that had little impact on making the grass any greener. Scotts has a fertilzer it claims to be enviro safe. It has a girl and retriever on the package. I have found that existing grass much greener and grass seed in bare patches more likely to "sprout" if I place that fertilizer on before the grass.

The grass I placed in Fall of 2007, only one 4 square inch area seemed to sprout. This is an area of 10 by 10 feet sourounding a large pine and I neglected to remove the pine needles. I have since removed the needles, but the grass is still patchy in the area. I think neglecting to place compost ( i did use grass feed), and fence off the area. People walked on it an the person who areated the lawn went over the area. I know, you should aerate first, but I don't have an aerator and someone was going door to door with one. Since then I place grass seed in that area area and still have had limited success.

In late May, for a bare spot in the back yard, I was the most successful so far. There are no Pine trees in the back yard.
This time, I raked the bare spot, but a thin layer of top soil I bought, fertilized, put seed and a thiner layer of soil on top. I also placed a small fence the area to prevent traffic. I kept the soil moist - watering every day.