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Fall Fertilizer Tips

By DoMyOwn staff

Properly fertilizing your lawn in the fall can set up your lawn for success year round. Learn some tips with this video.

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Video Transcript

Hi this is Kyle from Fall Lawn Care is essential to having a great lawn. Whether you have a warm season grass going into dormancy, or a cool season grass coming out of dormancy, having the right fertilization schedule is essential to help your grass grow stronger through those winter months. It can help you strengthen the root system and also help you recover from damage you might have had through those summer months.

So what type of fertilizer should you use? That all depends on your grass type, your soil test, and the issues that you're having in your lawn. For example, when you get your soil test back you may be low in Potassium. So that means you're going to need to add some Potassium to your lawn. In those results, you're gonna have an exact amount of Potassium you need to add to your lawn to bring it up to the appropriate levels for your lawn to be healthy.

Fertilizer's gonna have 3 numbers on it. These three numbers stand for the NPK ratio. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. A good way of remembering what this stands for is up, down, and all around. The first number Nitrogen is going to help your leaf growth and grow quicker and stronger, down Phosphorus is going to help your roots grow, and Potassium is all around growth.

When should you apply your fall fertilizer? That depends on the type of turf you have. Warm season and cool season grasses require different fertilization schedules because their growing seasons are not the same. If you have a warm season grass, you're gonna want to apply that fertilizer with your first pre-emergent application in the fall. If you have cool season grass, you're gonna wanna apply the fertilizer when temps start to cool off in September. Cool season grasses continue to grow through the fall and into the winter. And then they go into dormancy in the spring. You do not want to apply fertilizer if temperatures go below freezing or if your lawn is frozen.

Fertilizers should be applied in the morning or the evening and then watered in immediately after you apply that fertilizer. And the reason for that is when you apply the fertilizer you do not want that fertilizer sitting on the leaf and the sun beating down on it and burning your leaf tips. If you don't water it in, or if you do it in the sweltering heat, you risk burning your leaf or your grass.

Usually you wanna fertilize your lawn 2-4 times a year and that will depend on the results you get back from your soil analysis. For example when you get your analysis report back, you may have a certain amount of Nitrogen that you're gonna wanna apply throughout the year. You can't apply that total amount of Nitrogen in one application or you're gonna burn your lawn. So you wanna split that up into 2-4 times depending on the turf type that you have to get the correct schedule of fertilization. Different types of grasses can take higher levels of Nitrogen and others cannot take those higher levels of Nitrogen and need higher levels of Phosphrous and Potassium. For example, Bermudagrass can take higher levels of Nitrogen while St. Augustine and Centipede should have lower levels of Phosphorus and Nitrogen.

How should I apply my fertilizer? Methods depend on what you have available to you to use. Fertilizers come in granular or liquid form. Liquid fertilizer you're gonna wanna apply with a pump sprayer or backpack sprayer. A granular you're gonna apply with a spreader. Make sure you read your label and you're properly applying whatever type of fertilizer you have to the proper rate that you need on your lawn.

One very important thing is making sure your pH is in balance in your lawn. If your pH is off whether its high or low can cause your fertilizer to not work to its optimal level. Once you get your analysis back it's gonna tell you your exact pH in your lawn. and it may be higher or lower and you may need to add lime or sulfur to bring that to the optimal level. You do not want to mow right before or right after you do your fertilizer application. Also, keep an eye on the weather to make sure there's no heavy rainstorms that are going to be coming through to avoid any runoff.

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