How to Fertilize a New Sod Lawn


New sod lawns, like most new lawns, require fertilizer to speed the development of roots into the new soil and spur lush, new top growth. They also need fertilizer, in part to compensate for the large volume of water used in establishing a new lawn, because much of the existing soil nutrients can get washed out of the root zone. New sod is laid over a prepared soil bed that has starter fertilizer worked into the top inches of soil. Once installed and the roots established, a complete fertilizer is applied after four to six weeks. Thereafter, a regular program of fertilization tailored to your grass species, soil quality and climate should be established.

Step 1

Select a complete lawn fertilizer product with a guaranteed analysis of 20-10-10, 20-5-15 or a similar ratio.

Step 2

Don a pair of garden gloves to hand cast the fertilizer or use a spreader tool to evenly distribute 1 pound of the granules for every 1,000 square feet of sod expanse. Work methodically from one end of the lawn to the other, in just slightly overlapping rows, to ensure no areas are missed and the lawn will be evenly green.

Step 3

Water the fertilizer into the sod immediately after applying to prevent chemical burn and discoloration of the blades. Wash the granules off the grass blades and down into the thatch near the root zone but do not flood the sod.

Step 4

Continue your regular watering regimen of 1 to 2 inches of water per week, soaking the top 5 inches of soil with each session to drench the roots and move the fertilizer nutrients through the root zone. Keep the sod thatch and soil moist, but not soaking wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Complete 20-10-10 or 20-5-15 lawn fertilizer
  • Garden gloves or a spreader tool
  • Water
  • Garden sprinklers or hand sprayer


  • University of Rhode Island: Installing a Sod Lawn
Keywords: fertilizing sod lawn, new grass sod, lawn starter fertilizer

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.