How to Use 18-8-18 as a Grass Starter Fertilizer


Gardening experts recommend different fertilizers to start your lawn, depending on whether you use seed or sod, whether you plant in the spring or in the fall, and whether you live in a temperate climate with year-round green lawns or a four-seasons environment where the grass dies under snow each winter. Fertilizer with an analysis of 18-8-18 is best used for planting new sod in the fall. This fertilizer consists of 18 percent nitrogen, which fosters new, green growth; 8 percent phosphorous, critical for root development; and 18 percent potassium, which improves the health of the plant and prepares it for winter.

Step 1

Open the fertilizer bag and fill the spreader. Figure out how much fertilizer you need by reading the directions on the fertilizer bag, and adjust the spreader rate accordingly. Typically, 18-8-18 fertilizer should be applied to newly laid sod at a rate of 5.5 pounds for every 1,000 square feet of turf.

Step 2

Start at one end of the lawn and work your way around the perimeter. Slowly close in toward the middle, continuing in the same direction and pattern that you started.

Step 3

Go over the entire area again, this time in a different direction or pattern. This will help ensure thorough coverage of the entire area.

Step 4

Water thoroughly, to the soaking point. Let the ground absorb the water and then soak again.

Step 5

Water daily for two or three weeks, until the sod is established; then switch to an every-other-day cycle, depending on rainfall. Keep the ground moist at all times, but not saturated.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use a less-powerful fertilizer when starting a lawn from seed. The high phosphorous content of 18-8-18 fertilizer could damage lawn grown from seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer spreader
  • Water


  • Purdue University: Fertilizer Application and Spreading
  • Seedland: Fertilizer Application Rates

Who Can Help

  • Anderson Golf Products: Turf Fertilizer
Keywords: grass starter fertilizer, sod starter, growing grass

About this Author

Thomas K. Arnold is the publisher and editorial director of Home Media Magazine and a regular contributor on entertainment to "USA Today", "The Hollywood Reporter," "San Diego Magazine" and other publications. An alumnus of San Diego State University, Arnold has appeared on such TV shows as "CNN", "E! Entertainment" and "G4's Attack of the Show" to discuss home entertainment and technology issues.