It's preferred that a quick release fertilizer be used in the fall on turf so that the turf is able to pick up the nutrients quickly before it enters fall dormancy.
Ideally, two fertilizer applications are best for fall lawns. The early treatment should be applied between late August and early September to help the lawn recover from extensive summer use and heat damage. A slow-release fertilizer is best at this time, and will nourish the lawn for several weeks.
Best Fall Lawn Fertilizer
While this fall lawn fertilizer dose is important, an application at the end of October or early November is essential. At that time, apply a fertilizer with a formula of 13-25-12. The push of phosphorus will stimulate root growth through November and even into early December.
Quick-release fertilizer is best used on newly established lawns that are sustainable. With this type of fertilizer, the nutrients become immediately available to your grass and plants. Quick-release fertilizer is good to use if you're looking to push rapid growth on new lawns.
Fall Fertilizer Timing
For the majority of cool-season lawn owners, apply fertilizer anywhere from September through early November. The further north you garden, the sooner you'll feed your lawn. Fine-tune the timing for your locale by talking with your local extension service or garden center.
When To Fertilizer Your Lawn in the Fall. The best time to apply your last fertilizer application is between August 15 and October 1. Ideally, your last lawn feeding should take place six to eight weeks before the average first frost in your area.
Apply fall lawn fertilizer 2 to 3 weeks before the ground freezes. To find an exact date, look for the first frost date in your area. That date is typically a good time to fertilize since the ground hasn't frozen yet. More generally, mid-October is a good time to apply lawn fertilizer.
At Master Lawn, we typically say to wait 24 hours before watering your lawn after fertilizing. But it is important to make sure that it does receive a good watering session soon after that 24 hour waiting period. Watering helps the fertilizer to activate and to break down and begin feeding nutrients to the lawn.
Slow-release fertilizer is ideal for the spring when your grass needs tender love and care after winter dormancy and heading into summer. With no huge push from slow-release fertilizer to grow, your grass will be less stressed and be able to focus on root development and resource replenishment.
Vegetable gardeners can fertilize their garden beds about once a month with a quick-release fertilizer or about once a season with a slow-release fertilizer. Some gardeners prefer to feed their flowers and plants with a liquid-soluble plant food once every one to two weeks.
“Nitrogen applied in the fall is the most important lawn fertilization of the year,” says Robert Cox, Colorado Sate University Cooperative Extension Agent. “Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 25-5-5, or something with a similar formula.”
Can I put too much fertilizer on my lawn? There is the idea of “too much of a good thing,” and that definitely applies when it comes to fertilizing your lawn! Applying too much fertilizer to your lawn will cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to increase rapidly, which can damage or even kill the grass.
In general, try your best to apply it between September 1 and October 15. The farther north you live, the earlier you should apply it. The goal is to have at least one month of active grass growing weather remaining before winter takes its grip.
Ritchie advises feeding cool-season grasses twice in the fall because the second application – six weeks after the first – helps lock in what you've gained. “What'll happen is that your lawn's increased root mass will absorb and store the nutrients from the fertilizer,” he says.
While the best method for determining exactly how much fertilizer is needed is a soil analysis conducted by a laboratory, most cool-season grasses require 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year, and a majority of this nitrogen should be applied in two fall applications; one in September and the other ...
Ideally, you'll want to mow and rake before fertilizing, so that excess lawn waste is removed and the fertilizer will have an easier time reaching the soil.
Pros of slow-release fertilizer: Slow-release means nutrients are released more uniformly across the lawn in a slow, steady fashion. This provides even, paced growth and cuts down on the amount of fertilizer needed over a growing season. Cons of slow-release fertilizer: You won't see an instant green up.
Lawn grasses require a steady, controlled feeding to produce a thick, green lawn. Scotts patented, controlled-release fertilizers deliver just enough quick-release nitrogen to produce a fast greening, while the balance is released gradually, by microbial action in the soil, over a period of approximately eight weeks.
Fast-release synthetic lawn fertilizers work within 24 to 48 hours after application. Slow-release fertilizers work more slowly, but they are less risky to use. Synthetic slow-release products work in 2 to 5 days, while organic slow-release versions work in 2 to 6 weeks.
Benefits of Slow Release Fertilisers include: Lower risk of fertiliser burn/toxicity because small doses of fertiliser is released slowly over time. No need to remember a regular fertilising routine - can apply less frequently.
Why Water After Fertilizing? Watering after fertilizing washes the fertilizer off of the grass blades and into the soil, where it can get to work nourishing your lawn. It's also important because if fertilizer sits too long without being watered in, it can burn the grass.
While you can apply fertilizer now, as it won't do any harm, it's likely to be far less effective than if you wait a bit. Knowing when to fertilize a lawn is critical. Applying a foliar fertilizer to wet grass is not advisable since it can cause nutrient burn, also known as fertilizer burn.
When should I apply winter fertilizer? Apply a winter fertilizer to your lawn when it's finished growing but not yet dormant underneath the surface. For many parts of the country, this is around November, though it may be time to apply sooner if you live in colder climates.
A high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4, helps lawns establish vigorous roots, increase energy reserves and survive winter. Overseed thin lawns. Fall conditions are ideal for germinating cool-season grass seed. Overseeding thin lawns pays off with thick, strong, spring grass.
Contrary to popular opinion, fall is the best time of the year for lawn care. Fertilization, weed and thatch control, establishment of new lawns, and renovation of poor quality lawns should be done over the next few weeks. Your most successful seeding time is right around Labor Day.