Put your lawn to bed strong and happy this fall with a healthy feeding of fertilizer. Your efforts will be well rewarded the following spring!
It’s no secret that maintaining your lawn is a continuous process, and though you can rest easy once the snow starts to fly, there are a few things you should do beforehand. Read on to learn about why you need to fertilize your lawn in the fall.
General Lawn Care
Throughout the summer, you would have completed all the general lawn care basics, such as aerating, overseeding, watering, mowing, and of course, fertilizing. Well, don’t put away the spreader just yet! You put in so much effort to keep your lawn healthy and lush throughout the growing season, and if you followed all the lawn care steps correctly, then you most likely succeeded. Don’t fall off the ‘lawn care regime wagon’ this fall. Maintain that lawn care regime into the fall to give your lawn an even better chance to come back better than ever the following spring!
Make sure you aerate and dethatch your lawn, as necessary, in the fall, too, so that your grass has a chance to breathe before entering its dormancy period. Raking leaves and other debris is also essential so that there’s nothing left on your grass that might result in pests or disease. You can do these tasks while winterizing your yard in other ways, like mulching shrubs and trees.
Why Should You Fertilize Your Lawn in Fall?
A fall feeding helps your lawn recover from any summer damage and stress it underwent. Nutrients in the fertilizer ensure the roots of your lawn stay healthy and robust, plus the stored nitrogen will help fend off injury or disease during the winter. There’s also a better chance that you’ll have less dethatching and overseeding to do in the spring if your grass is in its best health before entering its dormancy period—and who doesn’t want less spring yard work to do?
When to Fertilize in Fall
A good rule of thumb to remember when fertilizing your lawn in the fall is to do it after you no longer need to mow, but before the first freeze. In Iowa, fertilizing your lawn in November is most recommended, but realistically it’s up to Mother Nature. Keeping your eye on the weather forecast with a plan in mind is always your safest bet. However, if fertilizer is applied too early in the fall, this puts your lawn at risk of winter damage like snow mold, which will appear as grayish-white patches the following spring.
What Kind of Fertilizer Should You Use in Fall?
The appropriate fall fertilizer mixture will have a 12-25-12 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N:P:K), emphasizing phosphorus. Phosphorus is the nutrient that has a direct impact on the roots of your grass, and therefore the overall growth of your lawn the following spring. For the best results, use a slow-release fertilizer so that your lawn is being slowly fed while it’s resting and repairing itself.
How much fertilizer to use is dependent on the size of your lawn, with one pound of fertilizer per 1000 feet of lawn being the recommended application rate. If you’re still unsure, this is a situation where less is best, as applying too much fertilizer can cause more harm to your lawn than good. When it comes to application, use a spreader to ensure fertilizer is evenly distributed across your lawn, and follow the fertilizer package instructions.
We hope this helps shed some light on how important fertilizing your lawn in the fall really is. At Wallace’s Garden Center, we have an assortment of fertilizers ideal for fall lawn care here in Bettendorf and knowledgeable staff who are more than happy to assist you with any lingering questions!