As we come into fall, lawn-care maintenance might be slipping to the bottom of your list. Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas are all on the horizon — but what about your lawn? It’s time for the final act of fertilization — also known as a “winterizer”. Using an effective lawn fertilizer in the fall helps grass recover from a long, hot summer — providing turf with an extra nutrient boost to push blade growth.
During the winter months, your grass needs to be healthy and tough to survive upcoming weather conditions before it goes into a state of dormancy. Applying fertilizer in the fall can also prevent lawn diseases like snow mold from taking hold after snow melts. Grass stores carbohydrate reserves in the winter to resist injury and illness. These reserves are a critical energy source that your turf will draw on in the spring.
When spring comes around, make lawn-care maintenance easier by fertilizing in the fall. Provide your grass with the nutrients it needs so you can kickstart the growing season next year in a strong position.
In terms of lawn fertilizers, there’s a lot to choose from. But, some are better to use in the fall than others. Potassium-based fertilizers help grass manage environmental stress better and drive growth in water-stress conditions. Potassium also protects grass roots from frost and strengthens plant’s cell walls to retain nutrients better.
For a comprehensive guide to lawn fertilization, check out our Everything You Need to Know About Lawn Fertilization blog for an in-depth breakdown.
Primed and ready to start fertilization this fall? Read on to discover the best lawn fertilizers and when to apply them.
Why Is Lawn Fertilization Important?
Having a healthy immune system is integral to our health. The same applies to your lawn. Resilient, strong grass will recover faster from harsh weather and is less susceptible to disease. Weaker grass will also encourage weeds, which compete with your grass for nutrient availability.
Over time, soil loses vital nutrients. Having high-quality, nutrient-rich soil is key to achieving a healthy lawn. To work out what your soil is lacking, invest in a home soil pH test kit. Establish exactly which nutrients your soil needs more of and tailor your lawn fertilization to the results.
Photosynthesis matters, but your grass needs more than just sun and water to thrive. Look out for fertilizers that contain high levels of potassium for fertilizing your lawn in the fall. The three main macronutrients your lawn needs in large amounts are:
On most bags of fertilizer, these three nutrients are abbreviated to “NPK” (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). A number above each letter indicates how much of each macronutrient is supplemented in a bag of fertilizer.
Lawn fertilizers can also encourage grass to grow faster — but be mindful not to over-fertilize as this can promote more weeds and weaken grass. In addition, strong and healthy grass can cut your overall lawn-care costs. You’re less likely to be spending money on insecticides and weed killers in the spring when your grass is in good condition.
So, now you’re in the picture. Lawn fertilization is the essential basis for achieving a vibrant golf course lawn. Let’s look at some of the best lawn fertilizers to use this fall and get your lawn-care schedule organized for the winter.
The Best Fall Lawn Fertilizers: Potassium
It’s September, which is the perfect time to embark on fall lawn fertilization. If it’s been a hot summer, your turf will thank you for an extra boost of nutrients. You can repeat your application at the end of October or early November to stimulate root growth before winter sets in.
Using potassium-based fertilizers during the summer and fall helps your turf respond better to extreme temperatures, even improving water retention (another way to cut your lawn-care costs!). If you’re a lawn-care beginner, we recommend using granular fertilizers as they’re easier to apply and use. Here, we’ve listed some of the best potassium-based lawn fertilizers to use this fall and even again in the summer.
Stress 12-0-24 — Granular Lawn Fertilizer
Stress 12-0-24 from Lebanon Turf is the best fall lawn fertilizer to help your turf mitigate extreme temperatures. High in potassium, this lawn fertilizer will aid in water uptake and retention. It contains 12% slow-release nitrogen, which will feed your grass, giving it a vibrant green color without encouraging excessive growth.
12-0-24 Stress also comes with humic acid and sea kelp to nourish your grass and feed your soil. Furthermore, this fertilizer is packed with supplementary micronutrients, which any lawn would benefit from. These include iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Sulfate of Potash — Granular Lawn Fertilizer
Sulfate of Potash is a natural potassium supplement that aids in disease resistance, stress recovery, and overall turf health. The fertilizer granules are polymer coated, so you won’t find excess loose dust in the bottom of the bag — minimizing wastage. The polymer coating also means this fertilizer will be released slowly into your soil with long-lasting results. Due to its high potassium content, this is an ideal lawn fertilizer in fall, but you can apply Sulfate of Potash any time of the year — providing the ground isn’t frozen.
Fall Lawn Fertilization: Other Products
Potassium-based lawn fertilizers aren’t the only fertilization products you can use this fall. Liquid fertilizers for lawns are more difficult to apply than granular fertilizers but are equally effective. If you’re a more experienced lawn-care enthusiast with a backpack sprayer, look at some of these brilliant products.
Release 901C™ has been proven to extend nutrient availability in the soil for 120 days, three times as long as most fertilizers. It also serves as a performance catalyst for many pesticides and other turf maintenance products.
Greens Plus is a slow-release fertilizer that won’t shock or burn your lawn upon application. Greens Plus provides your grass with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as a fully balanced liquid fertilizer.
Used commonly on golf courses and sports fields, this is an excellent choice for those pursuing a deep green, vibrant lawn. If achieving a bright green color in your lawn is a priority, try mixing Greens Plus with NutriSolve for added micronutrients.
Fall Lawn Fertilization: The Low-Down
You should now be ready to start applying your chosen fall lawn fertilizer. Alongside regular mowing (about twice a week), and watering (an inch per week), you can keep your grass in healthy, strong condition throughout the winter. If you’ve just started a seeding/ overseeding project on your lawn and you’re looking for a good starting fertilizer, we recommend Lebanon Turf’s 14-7-14 Complete Fertilizer. This starter fertilizer contains a perfect balance of macro and micronutrients to see your emerging grass through a tough winter.
Through adequate fertilization in the fall, you’ll be in the best possible position to begin your fertilization program again in the spring. It just takes a bit of commitment!