When to apply fall fertilizer

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Fall Lawn Care

When should I apply fall fertilizer?

According to the experts an application of a fall fertilizer (also known as winterizer) is the most important fertilizer application you can apply.  It gets your lawn healthy before it goes dormant for the winter. Having a healthy lawn in the fall increases the chances of having a healthy lawn in the spring.

The old standard used to be that you should apply fall fertilizer after the lawn is done actively growing right before the ground freezes. New research now suggests that you should apply fall fertilizer while the lawn is slowing down but still actively growing so that it can absorb all the nutrients that it needs.

What does fall fertilizer or “winterizer” do?

Applying fertilizer in the fall will keep your lawn greener longer in the fall. It will create a healthy turf that will green-up earlier in the spring without excessive shoot growth that is normally associated with a spring application of fertilizer. It also helps create a reserve of nutrients that will allow your turf to handle the longer hotter summer months.

What if my lawn already looks great?

First of all congratulations! It’s a lot of work to get a great looking lawn. However, even if your lawn looks spectacular you should still apply a fall fertilizer to keep it looking great. You’ve put a lot of time and money into your lawn, keep it looking great by feeding it the food that it needs.

Fertilizing tips

1. Aerate your lawn first using a core aerating machine. A core aerator will bring microorganisms to the surface that will aid in the break down of thatch. Aeration will also allow better penetration for fertilizer to reach the roots of your lawn.

2. Use a rotary or broadcast type spreader. This is the easiest, most convenient, and fastest way to apply fertilizer. Start on the outside perimeter of the lawn and work your way inward. Use care to not spread fertilizer into areas that you don’t want it.

3. Water after fertilizing. Fertilizer needs to be watered for it to soak into the ground and feed the roots of your grass.

With a fall fertilizer (or “winterizer”) application your lawn should green up quickly in the spring and give it a healthy head start to the growing season. Doing this application every year (along with weed control and other fertilizer applications as needed) will help get you the healthy lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.


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