It’s that time of year again – summer lawn dormancy has passed, and your lawn is beginning to perk up again. The period from mid-September to early November is a very important time for your lawn. It can help you make sure your lawn is rooted deeper, ready to survive the winter and thrive when spring brings it back to life. Fertilizer might not be completely necessary for your lawn, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Why Fertilize Now?
Fall is the perfect time to fertilize as, over the summer, your lawn has likely gone dormant and not shown much growth. Once the heat goes away, your lawn will wake up and grow again. This year, thanks to the relatively cool summer across the region, the growing time has come around even earlier than usual. Fertilizing the lawn now will provide another month or two or solid growth, and help to make your lawn more resistant to diseases now and in the future.
What to Look For in Fall Fertilizer
Since you are approaching the cool winter months instead of the warm summer months, you may need to consider a different fertilizer to use than you would use in the spring. Fertilize using fertilizer with high nitrogen and phosphorus amounts.
- Nitrogen helps to aid lawn blade and foliage growth
- Phosphorus helps to encourage root growth
- Potassium promotes cell function in the plant
Phosphorus is the key, as a better root system will create a resilient lawn that won’t be injured by frost or snow.
Any Special Directions for Fertilizing?
The key to a successful fall fertilizing is to fertilize according to the directions of the fertilizer you are using. Make sure to read the bag for conditions you should spread in, and directions on how to spread your fertilizer. Different mixtures of the three key chemicals will promote different actions, and will need to be applied in different ways.
A Reason Not to Fertilize
There is one reason to not fertilize now, and that’s if you have seen the first frost and are expecting to see more frost in the near future. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money pushing your lawn to grow as frost is biting it during the morning. Frost can severely damage new growth that hasn’t had time to mature, and it needs a few weeks. So if you’re already seeing ice crystals in the morning, fertilizing will likely be a waste and be be more harmful than helpful.
So make sure to get out to your nearest lawn and garden center and pick up some fertilizer as soon as possible. The earlier in the fall season you can fertilize – this weekend being the perfect time – the more time your lawn will have to take advantage of the growing season before it wants to fall dormant again.