Feeding your lawn differs depending on the time of year. To obtain the best performance from your lawn it is important to employ the appropriate management practices at the correct times of year. Fertilization does more to improve poor-quality turf or maintain good-quality turf than any other single management practice. Grass plants often need nitrogen, phosphorus (phosphate or P2O5), and potassium (potash or K2O) in greater amounts than can be supplied naturally from soil. Since this is fall, let’s start with the proper process for the season.
Grass type determines the fertilizer needed on lawns in the fall. Fescues, blue grasses, ryegrasses and bent grasses are cool grasses. Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and zoysia grass are warm grasses. In our area, we mainly have cool grasses. Cool nights, ample rainfall, and the morning dew in the fall are just about as good as it gets for our grass. After the hot summer days have caused damage to the lawn, it is ready to grow again. Applying a final feeding before winter will strengthen the roots and increase nitrogen storage for an early spring. The fall feeding will give you a greener and healthier lawn next year. Nitrogen applied in the fall is the most important lawn fertilization of the year. For the last application, fertilize as late in the season as possible—just before the first deep freeze or snowfall. This fertilizer application is known as dormant feeding and encourages healthier, greener lawn in spring.
In early spring the grass is putting energy into root development. If you apply fertilizer too early, it will divert the plant’s energy into leaf development too soon. For the best results, gardeners should time the weed killer application to take place before weed seeds start to germinate – generally in the early spring before the fertilizations. Wait until the late spring (late May or early June) before the heat of summer begins and after the grass is thriving before you fertilize the lawn. Feeding your lawn at this point prepares the grass for summer.
The heat, drought, foot traffic, insects, and outdoor fun on the lawn arrive in the summer and all of those things are hard on the lawn. Feeding the lawn in the summer protects and straightens it against these problems. Generally, you should not be grass fertilizing in the very hot months; or around 90 degrees F. Over fertilizing can lead to the need to mow more often and fertilizing at the wrong time can irreversibly damage your lawn. A summer lawn care schedule should mostly focus on watering and mowing as needed.
It is best to wait a day after the rain before applying fertilizer as a heavy rainfall could wash away the fertilizer before it has an opportunity to be absorbed by the lawn. If properly cared for, your lawn will add value to your home, provide the foundation for enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces, and help protect the environment.
About Green & Grow
Green & Grow is a full-service lawn care company specializing in fertilization & weed control, aeration & seeding, insect control, and more!