Can Fall Lawn Fertilizers Be Used In The Spring
Yes, they can. But, youre better off using spring fertilizer that are properly formulated for that stage of your lawns growth.
Autumn lawn food is formulated with ingredients that prepare your lawn for the chilly, icy conditions of winter.
Specifically, they contain higher amounts of potassium to strengthen your lawn and make it more resilient.
So even if you use the best fall lawn fertilizers in spring, they wont be as beneficial as they would be in autumn.
When To Apply Lawn Fertilizer In Spring
If you fertilized your lawn the previous fall, especially late in the season, then the slow-release function of that fertilizer will help grass growth in the spring. Fertilizer manufacturers or lawn care companies may tell you to fertilize your lawn in early spring, but instead, consider the guidance by turf specialists and agronomists who say to hold off.
When cool-season grasses wake up in the spring, they enter a natural growth cycle when the root system begins growing and building carbohydrate reserves. Wait until the late spring just 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. During the hot summer months, the grass will begin to slow down carbohydrate production and begin to utilize the reserves. Adequately feeding 3/4 to 1 pound of slow-release nitrogen will allow the grass to rebuild its energy reserves and ward off the stresses of summer, such as drought, heat, traffic, disease, and insects. A polymer-coated slow-release fertilizer can feed the grass for up to 12 weeks.
Best Fertilizer To Prep Your Lawn For Winter
I like Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer, a late-fall fertilizer, because its low in nitrogen and has a healthy amount of potassium.
We want our lawns to slow down as winter approaches, so its important to know when to fertilize in fall and which fertilizer to use. Applying too much nitrogen forces it to grow when it would rather start preparing for winter. The 10-0-20 analysis delivers just enough nitrogen to help repair your lawn from a stressful summer and to give it a kick-start the following spring. The healthy dose of potassium will also safeguard your lawn from potential snow mold activity and severe winter conditions.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Mole Tunnels In Lawn
Should I Fertilize My Lawn In Winter
No, you shouldnt.
Some lawn owners make the mistake of doing their spring feeding too early when its still winter. The problem with this is that the grass is still dormant, meaning it cant absorb nutrients efficiently.
For the best results, wait until late spring which should fall somewhere between late May and early June.
I always recommend feeding your lawn when it is actively growing, and leaving it alone when it is not.
How To Estimate Fertilizer Needs
The easiest way to estimate your fertilizer needs is to measure your surface area of grass. Take a measurement of width and length to calculate square footage. If you cant do this, then strategic guessing is your next best option.
In general, every eight steps is approximately 10-feet of space. Try walking your lawn from side-to-side on the length and width. You can at least get a basic idea of how much space you need to cover. For a visual guide, think of a standard tennis court that is 36-feet by 78-feet.
For misshaped lawns, consider these calculations:
- Triangles: Figure out the length and width of the triangles. Multiply the two numbers together and divide by two. This will give you the surface area.
- Circles: Find the center of the circle and walk out to the edge. Multiply this number by 3.14 to get the surface area.
When youre done with your calculations, add them all together to get the full surface area of your lawn.
Dont Miss: How Much Lime To Put On Lawn
Don’t Miss: How Much Do Lawn Mowing Services Charge
Using A Rotary Spreader For Granular Fertilizer
A rotary spreader is designed to work on larger areas of lawn, and make fertilizing your grass with a granular fertilizer quick and easy.
To apply the fertilizer evenly, walk slowly up and down the lawn, overlapping slightly each time to make sure that you have covered the entire lawn with fertilizer evenly and to prevent stripes of growth.
Recommended Reading: How Does Trugreen Work
When Do You Fertilize Plants In The Winter
Typically, perennial plants are fertilized in late winter, just before spring emergence or greenup. Early winter fertilizers may delay dormancy of trees and shrubs, which makes plants susceptible to injury. Applying winter fertilizers to snowy or frozen ground may lead to fertilizer runoff into surface waters.
Read Also: When To Fertilize Your Lawn In Pennsylvania
Whats The Difference Between Spray And Granular Fertilizer
Liquid fertilizer comes in liquid format or as a concentrate, whereas granular fertilizer comes in little pellets. Liquid fertilizer is applied with a sprayer, whereas granular fertilizer is applied with a spreader.
Generally speaking, liquid fertilizer is going to be faster acting and go directly to the roots, whereas granular fertilizer will take time. With liquid fertilizer, youre less likely to burn your lawn, whereas with granular, its quite easy to burn your lawn. Granular, on the other hand, is cheaper and faster to apply. For more info, visit this section.
Can Fall Fertilizers Burn Grass
Yes, they can. Any fertilizer- whether its a spring or fall lawn food poses the risk of burning grass if used incorrectly.
This happens particularly when you apply too much fertilizer. The result is an excess amount of mineral salts, which draws water from the grass. This causes the grass to dry out quickly and turn brown hence, giving your lawn that burnt look.
The good news is that you can fix your lawn when this happens if you react quickly and water it immediately. The water neutralizes the high salt content causing your lawn to regain its beautiful green color.
You May Like: How Many Times To Fertilize Lawn
Understanding The 3 Major Nutrients In Lawn Fertilizer
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the major nutrients that lawns need. When you look at a fertilizer bag, the first number you see is the percentage of nitrogen . After that are the phosphorus and potassium numbers.
For example, If you have an 18-6-12 fertilizer, it has 18 percent nitrogen. Nitrogen supports green plant growth , so the nitrogen number is extremely important because it will indicate how much fertilizer you need to use on your lawn.
Nitrogen is usually the most important of the three, but not always. You should be aware that an excessive amount of nitrogen can cause problems associated with excessive top-growth.
In most circumstances, using one pound of nitrogen for each 1,000 square feet of space is recommended for each application of fertilizer to your lawn.
You can use one of these online tools to calculate your lawns square footage so you can apply the right amount to your yard.
If you use a fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen, you wont have to use as much of the fertilizer product as you would with a lower nitrogen product.
Most homeowners cant go wrong with an N-P-K ratio of 3:1:2, 4:1:2, or even 5:1:2.
Greenview Fall Lawn Food
While most lawn foods out there are complete, the GreenView Fall Lawn Food isnt. It does not contain phosphate, which is a nutrient in most fertilizers. However, it may be useful for particular circumstances. It does make your yard decently green quickly because of the other nutrients in it. It is designed to be applied in the fall, specifically, when the grass is actively growing.
It is explicitly designed to increase root growth, which will help the grass survive periods of drought and reach more nutrients. This also helps your lawn retain water and helps with drainage. One pack covers up to 5,000 square feet. Its price is about average. We did like that it was protected by a satisfaction guarantee.
You do have to be careful about when to apply this fertilizer. It needs to remain above 60 degrees for your grass to use the nutrients provided. This may be in the fall for some people, but it may be late summer for others, it just depends. This makes it much less versatile. There is likely only one specific week when you can apply this fertilizer. It also sticks, which is a bit unusual.
Some people found that this fertilizer works excellent on their yard, while others found that it didnt help at all. It may depend on the specific grass in your yard and the climate. However, this fertilizer doesnt seem to work very reliably. This is a significant reason we rated it so low.
Also Check: How To Remove Clover From Your Lawn
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Winter
The best fertilizer for winter is the one that has lower nitrogen and a higher potassium content. Too much nitrogen can turn the leaves softer and more prone to diseases.
But the right nitrogen-potassium proportion will assist the plant in maintaining its strength and health throughout the season.
When in doubt, a 20-20-20 fertilizer ratio works well on most plants, even in the winter. When choosing a fertilizer, you should opt for more water-soluble rather than slow-release granules because of the cold.
A water-soluble fertilizer will ensure that nutrients be delivered quickly to the roots of the plant.
I have had the best results from using Miracle-Gro Soluble fertilizer. Its great value for money and will last a long time. You can find it by
Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fall Lawn Food
The Jonathan Green Winter Survival fertilizer is a favorite for many lawn owners, and its easy to see why.
Its rich in the most important nutrients and comes at a price thats hard to beat. Heres a more detailed review of what I like about it, and why I recommend it so highly.
One thing that makes this fertilizer perfect for fall is its high potassium content. This is a critical nutrient that helps cool season grasses survive weather changes . Potash also gives grass the strength it needs to fight off stress, drought, and disease.
This fertilizer also includes 10% nitrogen. This enables your lawn to look great this fall, and grow healthier and appear more lush in the next spring season.
Lastly, this lawn food contains iron in its list of ingredients. Even though it makes up just 3% of the total composition, this iron does an excellent job of restoring grass to its vibrant green color. Its a great micro-nutrient to look for when shopping for fertilizer for your lawn.
A common challenge that homeowners face is over-fertilizing their lawns. Thankfully, the Winter Survival comes in two sizes so you can choose the correct amount for your lawn size after measuring your square footage using my free tool.
For yards up to 5,000 square feet, the 15-pound bag will suffice. However, if your lawn is bigger, theres a 45-pound bag that covers areas of up to 15,000 square feet.
Jonathan Green Winter Survival Fall Lawn Food Specifications
Read Also: How To Turn On Greenworks Lawn Mower
What Kind Of Fertilizer Should Be Applied In The Fall
The best fertilizer to apply in fall is one thats rich in both nitrogen and potassium. A suitable fertilizer blend has an N-P-K ratio of 24-4-12 or something fairly similar to this.
Such a formula boosts the plants resistance to cold and diseases, while also feeding it for a great fall appearance.
Youll notice that the fertilizer I recommend on this page dont have any phosphorus. Thats because at least 11 states have passed laws banning or limiting the application of phosphorus fertilizer due to pollution and run-off concerns.
In my view its important to be aware of this, and to fertilize responsibly only using fertilizers with phosphorus when seeding new turf, and when its legal to do so.
What To Look For When Buying A Fall Lawn Fertilizer
Anytime youre choosing a fall fertilizer for your lawn, keep these points in mind:
The first thing to consider is the type of grass on your lawn. This determines whether you should fertilize your lawn during fall or wait until later.
For the most part homeowners with cool-season grasses will be the ones who benefit from fall fertilization the most. This is because the grasses grown in this region reach peak growth during this time of year. Examples of these grasses include fescue grasses, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky Bluegrass.
On the other hand, warm-season grasses thrive when the temperatures start rising in spring. Thus, the ideal time to fertilize these turf types is from late spring to early September. Its generally not advisable to fertilize these grass species after the 5th of September, though the unique micro-climate in your area may allow you to fertilize a bit later with no ill-effects.
If you live in the transition zone you may have either grass type growing in your lawn. As a result, youll need to think more critically about whether fall fertilization is right for you. If your lawn is greenest in the spring and fall, you probably should. If your lawn is greenest during the summer, hold off. Most people with cool season grass lawns in the transition zone will benefit from fall fertilization.
Types of Fall Lawn Fertilizer
Once youve figured out the NPK ratio that works for your lawn, its time to choose a specific type.
Recommended Reading: How To Repair Lawn Mower
Using A Handheld Broadcast Spreader
A handheld broadcast spreader works well for fertilizing small lawn areas. Walk evenly and slowly, and be sure to overlap distribution patterns slightly with each pass. A small spreader like this also works really well when you have shady areas in your lawn that require a different fertilizer rate than the sunny sections. Some fertilizers combine an herbicide with the lawn food. These products are sold as weed-and-feed lawn care products and are applied using a lawn spreader.
Also Check: How Much Lime To Put On Lawn
No Muss No Fuss Fertilizer For Lawns
The lazy gardener can combine a need for organic, homemade treatment and provide much of the same benefits as purchased products. The easiest way to develop a healthy lawn without adding purchased items is to mow it.
Mow leaves onto the lawn and leave the clippings. If you mow frequently enough, the thatch will not build up because shorter clippings will compost in quicker and start amending the soil and adding nutrients.
The combination of grass clippings and dried leaves hasten the composting process because one is a carbon source and the other is primarily a nitrogen source. This is a one-two punch in the composting world, which breaks down more quickly than nitrogen alone from the clippings.
You may find this the best fertilizer for grass and save some pennies along the way.
Also Check: Does Aerating Your Lawn Really Work
Why Use Dog Safe Grass Fertilizers For The Yard
Dog safe or Pet safe products allow for your animal to enjoy the grass almost immediately. Whether you fertilize your grass on your own or hire a professional for the service, be sure only a dog safe fertilizer is used on your lawn. For people planting a new lawn, we recommend reading our recommendations forDog Safe Grass Seeds as well.
Folks you can quote us on this but we are going out on a limb here and just going to say this dogs and plant food just dont mix together. Industrial fertilizers are full of substances that are harmful to kids and dogs alike. Usually, a fertilizer pack would come with a set of safeguards that need to be followed strictly.
PROtip#2: Always break down larger pieces of fertilizer into small pieces! because dogs might chew on them and get poisoned. Store the leftover fertilizer away from your pets and kids too. Chances of getting poisoned by fertilizer are thin but if God forbid that happens here are the signs you should look for:
Apply Fertilizer Two More Times During The Growing Season
You can also apply fertilizer two more times during the growing season. Apply fertilizer two more times during the growing season, in mid-summer and early fall.
This will help your lawn to green up in the spring and stay green through the summer. If you want to know more about lawn care, you might want to visit DTL Total Turf Care or other lawn services in your town.
Also Check: How To Treat Moss In Lawn
Why Should You Test Your Soil
You should test your soil to find out its pH level and any nutrient deficiencies. Testing your soil will help you better understand what kind of fertilizer you need for your soil.
If you find that you have a deficiency in one of the macronutrients or micronutrients, use a fertilizer that will help you solve this problem and create a well-balanced, nutrient-dense environment for your lawn to thrive.
Soil Test Kit I Use & Recommend
There are many options for testing your lawns soil, but I prefer a lab-based soil test that will provide a detailed analysis of your soils nutrients and what it needs for your lawn to thrive. I use the MySoil Test Kit, which is available:
And if youre interested in taking the guesswork out of what to do next after you get your soil test results, consider Sundays subscription lawn-care plan. They test your soil for you and use local weather data to send you exactly what your lawn needs, when it needs it. Its pretty fool-proof you can .