Turf Establishment

Seeding, Sodding and Sprigging

New turf has a greater requirement for readily-available nutrients than mature turf. The roots of new seedlings are not able to reach nutrients, especially phosphorus. Add this to the fact that these plants are growing very fast and you have a high demand for lawn food that is readily available.

Why Milorganite?

Milorganite contains nutrients that are required for a fast developing lawn. It contains slowly-available nitrogen, which releases as the seedling needs it. Phosphorus is available to immature roots to provide energy to support fast growth, and iron helps to enhance greening of turf, giving it a mature look.

Getting Ready

Make any grade changes before you begin soil preparation. Till the soil four to six inches deep. Break up any clods and remove any stones, sticks or waste material that will interfere with planting. Make sure the soil surface is smooth and firm.

Rate of Milorganite

  1. Apply Milorganite when you till the soil. Apply at twice the rate for mature turf. This ensures adequate nutrients are available for starting these seedlings.
  2. Till in the Milorganite to a depth of two inches (four inches tilling depth).
  3. After the third mowing, apply Milorganite at recommended rates for mature turf.


When selecting seed, sod or springs, choose the best quality you can afford. No amount of fertilizer or other inputs can offset the choice of poor quality starting stock. High quality here helps ensure your turf will start quickly, have a deep green color and stand up better to stress.

Mixing seed with Milorganite

Mixing grass seed with Milorganite makes it easier to accurately spread seed, especially small-seeded species like bentgrass and bermudagrass. The standard Milorganite seed mixing ratio is 4:1 by weight. When mixing seed and Milorganite, decrease the rate of Milorganite applied as straight fertilizer to avoid over-fertilization.

Milorganite Rates to Seed, Sod or Sprig Milorganite (lbs/1,000 sq ft)
Soil Type50-100 lbs*50-100 lbs*
Sand50-100 lbs*50-100 lbs*
Native soil25-50 lbs*25-50 lbs*
*Use the higher rates for turf types that are high nitrogen users, such as Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda grass, and also in soils with low organic matter that have very infertile root zones.
Seed TypeMilorganite (lbs)Seed (lbs)Seed per 1,000 sq ftArea CoveredMilorganite per 1,000 sq ft
Bentgrass2051 lb5,000 sq ft4 lbs
Bermuda Grass2051 lb5,000 sq ft4 lbs
Blue Grass100254 lbs6,250 sq ft16 lbs
Blue-Rye Mix100256 lbs4,250 sq ft23 lbs
Rye Grass100258 lbs3,250 sq ft30 lbs


Spread seed or Milorganite: seed mix evenly on the prepared soil. Gently work the seed into the soil 1/16 to 1/8 inch. On light (sandy) soils, watering may be adequate for seed incorporation.


Keep the seeded area moist until seed emerges. Frequent, light watering is necessary at this time. After seedlings are 1/2 to 1 inch tall, back off watering to several times per week and water to a depth of one to two inches. Keep the root zone moist. Decrease frequency and increase depth of watering as seedlings mature.