Ask A Master Gardener: Fall Is The Right Time To Fertilize The Lawn
Q: Is it too late to fertilize my lawn? What about aerating it? I meant to get around to that last month and never did.
A: Now is a very good time to fertilize the lawn. If you leave the clippings on your lawn when you mow, you may only need to do one fertilizer application a year, and late September to mid-October is the right time to do it.
Other seasons arent the best choice. Fertilizing in early spring can cause a flush of new growth that uses up energy the grass should be putting into its root system. Fertilizing during the hot months of summer can damage your lawn.
Unless you have had a soil test that tells you otherwise, feed 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. A soil test would tell you if you need any phosphorus or potash . Most lawn fertilizers have no phosphorus and a tiny amount of potash. Some have micronutrients like iron, but they are not needed unless a test shows you they are deficient. Too much of any nutrient is at best not helpful and can be harmful. So, look at the first number of the fertilizer bag, make sure the second is zero, and don’t worry about the third.
Fertilizer labels show the percentage of each element by weight in the bottle or bag. So, a 32 pound bag of of 26-0-3 would give you 8.32 pounds of nitrogen , or enough for 8,320 square feet of lawn. Look at the N-P-K numbers on the label and the weight of the bag, not the “feeds 10,000 square feet” claim.
When Should You Use It
According to the University of Minnesota, the best time of year to apply fertilizer is late August to early September with another application in late October to early November. Contrary to popular belief, they typically advise against fertilizing in the spring due to the grass greening up early, resulting in a weakened grass with depleted energy resources over the summer months. Late fall applications should help with the keeping your lawn healthy during the spring months for the following year.
Plant A Garden For Rain And Wildlife
Spend less time mowing, and more time enjoying your garden. Replacing parts of your yard with native perennials lessens the need for mowing, watering, and chemicals. It also provides habitat and food for birds and butterflies. Planting trees in your yard can reduce heating and cooling costs.Get to know your garden site. For example, how long is it exposed to sunlight? What is the soil type? Does the soil hold moisture well? What will you keep and what will you take out? How will your plants influence wild native plants, or be influenced by nearby weedy exotics? Answering these questions will help you better plan your garden and landscaping to fit your needs and budget.
- Learn how to design a native garden from Blue Thumb.
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The More You Know The More Your Grass Will Grow Here Are The Best Ways To Maximize Your Lawn Fertilization Schedule
Understanding when and how to fertilize your lawn is a major component to maintaining a healthy, lush yard. Fertilizers give your lawn a healthier root system while eating up unhealthy nutrients. With some simple steps, youll be on your way to having a lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood.
Why Should You Hire An Expert For Lawn Fertilization Services
With so many products on the market, lawn care and fertilization may seem like an easy do-it-yourself task. In reality, it can be difficult to do correctly.
The first question many homeowners ask is: When should I fertilize my lawn in Minnesota? Doing 4 to 5 incremental fertilizer applications throughout the growing season is optimal. The first application, typically done in April or May, is the most important to encourage vigorous growth. Early summer fertilizer can be combined with crabgrass preventive treatments as well. Over the warmer summer months, we recommend 2 to 3 maintenance applications, along with careful attention to watering. The final application is done in the fall.
Timing isnt the only important consideration. The type of fertilizer used makes a big difference to the health of your yard. During our lawn fertilization services, our experts use only the best slow-release, granular products that wont burn your lawn, or stimulate the grass to grow too quickly.
Our technicians are highly trained to avoid problems homeowners often encounter, including:
- Using too much, or the wrong type of fertilizer
- Uneven distribution of fertilizer
- Applying more than the lawn requires and is able to use
- Applying fertilizer when the lawn doesnt need it
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Fertilizing In Minnesota Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many applications are appropriate for a Minnesota lawn?
Fertilizing Lawns that are older then 35 years need on average 3 pounds of nitrogen per year, which can be accomplished in just 3-4 applications. Lawns that are usually less then 35 years old require 4-5 pounds of nitrogen per year which should be applied in 4-5 applications. Good results from fertilizing can be achieved with as little as 3 applications per year, however if you want outstanding results, 4-5 applications of fertilizer should be applied each season.
Annual pre-emergent weed control should be scheduled every year for the control of crabgrass and other annual weeds. Crabgrass is controlled by preventing the seeds from growing. As a result, this application needs to be done, on average, no later than May 20 each year. Because broadleaf weeds such as dandelions are not prevented but treated as they emerge, broadleaf weed treatment should be available with each application in case broadleaf weeds appear on the lawn.
2. What type is better liquid or granules?
The fact is your lawn doesnt know or care what form the fertilizer takes. The only way turf can absorb nitrogen and potassium fertilizer is through the roots. All fertilizers need to be watered to convert it into a solution that will soak into the soil and be absorbed by the roots. Neither liquid nor granule fertilizer activate until watered.
3. Do it yourself vs. hiring a professional can you afford to do it yourself?
Dont Abandon Lawn Care During The Fall
Fall is the best time of the year to fertilize your lawn and control weeds. Plus, if you put a little bit of work in during the fall then when spring rolls around youll be pleasantly surprised with a green, healthy lawn. Preparing for the upcoming season is mostly research and planning the work is pretty easy.
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When To Fertilize The Lawn
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Seeding And Sodding Your Lawn
Fall is the best time of year to establish or repair lawns by seeding or sodding In Minneapolis, cool-season species of grass are the most practical choices. Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescues, and tall fescues are tried and true options in the upper Midwest. However, you shouldnt seed and sod after mid-September its just too cold.
Pro tip: If you plan on reseeding or overseeding your lawn, avoid using pre-emergents. Not only will this prevent the weeds from sprouting but will also deter the new seed from germinating.
Have questions about lawn care? Visit our Minneapolis lawn care page or share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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What Fertilizer To Use
There are many fertilizers available, so sometimes it can be difficult to select the right one. For late summer and early fall application, you should use a fertilizer that delivers its nitrogen in slow-release form. It can also be labeled as water-insoluble or controlled-release fertilizer. These are more effective in providing the nutrients required at the correct rate for late summer and fall. You may also want to consider a fertilizer that is specialized for the crops you are growing.
Bonus: You can also build soil fertility by adding compost. Compost can help improve the fertility and texture of the soil. Just add 1 to 2 inches to the top of the soil and work it in about 6-8 inches.
See our Garden Maintenance Schedule to learn more about when you should fertilize your lawn and garden!
Why Fertilize Your Lawn In Fall The Best Fall Month And Time Of Day To Fertilize
Summer heat is stressful on our lawns. Falls cooler temperatures provide the perfect setting for lawn to regain strength.
Fall is the best and most important time to fertilize your lawn because:
- Falls morning dew delivers moisture to help turf absorb the fertilizer.
- The grass has a chance to build stamina before a chilly winter.
- Supporting root growth in fall leads to a healthier, greener lawn in spring.
While fall is naturally good for feeding our lawn, you can deliver an extra oomph by fertilizing as best as you can, too.
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Choose Your Fertilizer Option
Rainbow Lawncare offers you three different fertilizer options to choose from depending on the look you want and the approach you value.
Our experts use the highest quality products in our synthetic fertilizers. We use golf course grade, slow-release granular fertilizers that produce a lush green lawn. This premier granular product releases slowly and promotes healthy steady growth that is easy to maintain. We never use quick-release fertilizers that not only can leach into groundwater, but can also force your grass to grow too quickly.
Natural organic based fertilizer
This fertilizer works best on soils that have a high percentage of organic matter. Our experts may test your soil to determine its current condition, including how much organic matter it contains. This fertilizer differs from our synthetic fertilizer because it contains a combination of refined elements and feather meal, which adds a level of organic material to your lawn.
Fully organic fertilizer
This fertilizer has become an extremely popular choice for people who want to reduce their personal environmental impact. With our fully organic lawn care program no pesticides or herbicides will be used on your property. Upon request, spot treatment of weeds can be performed in targeted areas.
When Is It Too Cold To Fertilize
You should not fertilize your lawn when the temperature is too less from 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The primary period of growth for cool-season plants in the spring and fall. At this time the average temperatures stay between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To acquire better health, apply fertilizer heavily in the fall and lightly in early spring. For this purpose, slow- or quick-release fertilizer is appropriate, but you have to avoid the time when the temperatures peak up in the summer season when the plants will go dormant. Cool-season plants need only about one KG nitrogen-rich fertilizer per 1,000 square feet in a single year. You can use special winter fertilizers to protect your grass during the cold weather.
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Can I Fertilize My Lawn Every Two Weeks
Overfeeding is very bad for your lawn. Fertilizing your lawn every two weeks is like overfeeding. You will not get any benefit from it otherwise it can be damaging the environment. For best results, apply fertilizer once or twice a year, its enough to keep your grass green and healthy. The key is to fertilize during the period when the grasses are growing most.
Cool Season Lawn Care Tips For Minnesota
Fall is usually the time of year when homeowners start to prepare their lawns and gardens for winter. It can be a busy month for gardeners, as harvests may still be coming in and many additional home maintenance tasks take up precious weekend time.
If you have a grass lawn you also know that there are many tasks that should be done to prepare the lawn for a cooler winter. Follow these tips for successful fall lawn care and maintenance.
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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.
Best 8 Tips When To Fertilize The Lawn: Fertilising Lawn
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When to fertilize the lawn: Healthy lawns are aggregates of proper elements. The appropriate amount of water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and oxygen are needed for healthy lawns and gardens, the roots of the plants also need different kinds of nutrients. As a human, we need to take vitamins or supplements for getting better health, for lawns it goes the same. For this reason, people include fertilizers into their routine for gardening, which provides the necessary nutrients for most of the lawns.
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What Can You Expect From Our Lawn Fertilization Service
Unlike other lawn care companies, Rainbow Lawncare never locks you into a plan youre not fully committed to. Not only do you have control over how many fertilizer applications your lawn receives, we also offer you the option of choosing between synthetic or organic-based products. You can also rely on us to follow safe environmental practices. For example, Minnesota state law prohibits Phosphorus from being used unless a soil test demonstrates the yard has a Phosphorus deficiency, or the yard is being newly established.
How Often To Fertilize Lawn
Over-fertilizing is a thing. If once a year is right for your lawn, stick with that and dont get carried away. Fertilizer can be a valuable tool to keep a lawn healthy, dense and looking great, but it can also create environmental concerns if not used responsibly. Follow the label instructions on your fertilizer as each product has unique specifications and needs.
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Best Time To Fertilize Your Lawn
More daylight and warmer temperatures are perfect for fertilizing and the Spring season provides these features. This is the best time for craving your grass after a cold winter. If you cant identify the exact time, you can base it off of the temperature. Mostly, the temperature of the ground should be around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the place, the best time to fertilize varies from March to April. Its also good if the yard is watered naturally or artificially a few days before to apply the fertilizer. But applying more fertilizer can be the cause of harm to your lawn. You should use a lawn mower to prepare your lawn if your lawn is big.
Best Time To Fertilize Lawn
Fertilizing in the morning allows the soil to take in the most nutrients, soak in the morning dew and take advantage of cooler temperatures. Thats the best time. Do not apply fertilizer on an abnormally hot day, not even in the morning. Wait until the weather cools back down to a normal temperature.
You can mow anytime after fertilizing with a granular treatment. With a liquid treatment, wait a day or two.
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How To Care For Cool Season Lawns In Minnesota During The Summer Heat
Once temperatures get into the 80s and above, lawns will begin to struggle a little, with cool-season grasses having the hardest time. Growth will slow, color may fade, and lawns will show signs of wear and tear as they are less able to recover from stress and traffic. Some cool-season lawns will even go dormant in the summer, looking brown and brittle until early fall.
How To Apply Fertilizer
Once you have chosen the fertilizer that best suits your lawn, its time to apply it. There are two types of spreaders that are most commonly used with granular fertilizers: a broadcast spreader and drop spreader. A broadcast spreader covers a larger area at one time spreading the granules over a larger area. The drop spreader is made to be more precise and controllable but does not spread over larger areas. Both spreaders are made to be pushed in front of you while you walk behind. Both spreaders are equally useful, so find which one is right for you!
Liquid fertilizers can be done with a handheld, hose-end applicator. They typically are harder to apply correctly on lawns and require more refilling so it is important to be comfortable with fertilizers before applying a liquid fertilizer to your lawn.
Also, try to follow a pattern when applying your fertilizer so your lawn gets an equal application, Do this by spreading the fertilizer around the perimeter of your lawn first and then, at a normal walking speed, spread the fertilizer back and forth between the edges that were just done.
Overall, fertilizer application is essential to keeping your lawn healthy and green all season long. If you find that you want to take the guess work out of the applications, give us a call for a free estimate to help you with all you lawn care needs.
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