As the vibrant hues of summer fade away, homeowners turn their attention to fall lawn care. One of the most important jobs to help care for your lawn in the fall is to fertilize effectively. 

Why Fertilize The Lawn In The Fall?

Fall is a great time of the year to fertilize your cool-season grass and provide the nutrients it needs. Fall fertilization helps create that perfect lawn by:

Helping to repair summer damage.

Fall is an ideal time to give your lawn the food it craves to revive and rejuvenate itself.

Encouraging the growth of a deep, strong root system.

This enables a thick lawn which helps choke out and prevent weeds in the future.

Preparing your lawn for a fast green-up in the spring.

Fertilizing in the fall ensures your lawn is in prime condition to survive the winter and get an early start on spring growth.

When to Apply Fall Fertilizer?

Timing is key when it comes to applying fall fertilizer. So when is the best time to fertilize? 

It’s best to apply fall fertilizer from mid September through mid October. For cool-season grasses, we recommend about 6-8 weeks before the first freeze happens. 

This time frame ensures that your lawn receives the necessary nutrients well before the turf goes dormant. Optimal application timing is also dependent on where you live and what regulations are in place for your area, as well as current and forecasted ground temperature and weather conditions.

Fertilizing early in the fall is crucial to protect your lawn against the harsh winter climate. Applying fall fertilizer early allows the lawn to absorb the nutrients and build up strength before winter arrives.

In relation to the impact of weather conditions on peak fall fertilization application timing, it's crucial to either time your application before rainfall or water your lawn thoroughly following fertilization. Applying fertilizer to hot or dry soil can hinder grass growth and nutrient absorption.

What Fertilizer to Use in Fall?

Selecting the right fertilizer for fall application is critical for promoting healthy grass throughout the winter. When choosing a fall fertilizer, look for a product with a higher ratio of nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen promotes lush and robust growth, while phosphorus and potassium help develop strong roots and mitigate environmental stress.

Furthermore, choosing a fertilizer with slow-release nitrogen technology provides numerous additional benefits. Slow release fertilizers deliver nutrients over time, providing consistent nourishment when the plant needs it and reduces the risk of over-fertilization or burning the turf. 

Spreading fall fertilizer on front lawn

Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer

Slow-release nitrogen fertilizers gradually release nutrients over a longer period of time than quick release nitrogen fertilizers. Delivering nutrients slowly and steadily over time allows your lawn to absorb them more efficiently and minimizing waste and reduces the potential for surge growth. The sustained and consistent release of nutrients helps provide a healthier, greener lawn now and in the Spring. 

Slow-release fertilizers offer several advantages:

  • Minimizes the risk of over-fertilization or burn as well as surge growth, which can harm the lawn.
  • Extends the period of nutrient availability, providing nourishment for weeks to months.
  • Reduces nitrogen leaching - helping to minimize contamination of water sources.

It's important to note that factors such as weather and soil conditions can influence the rate of nitrogen release in fertilizers. Warmer and wetter conditions can accelerate release, while cooler and drier conditions may slow it down to a degree.

Choosing The Best Fall Fertilizer

There are many fall fertilizer options to choose from. There are cool and warm season formulas, weed & feed formulas, and regular, all purpose formulas.

When selecting a fall fertilizer, it is important to prioritize products with a high slow-release nitrogen content in their formulation. This helps ensure that your fall fertilizer application will continue to feed your lawn throughout the entire fall season.

It is suggested to look for products that contain over 50% slow-release nitrogen. This level of slow-release nitrogen will help ensure the optimal residual release of nitrogen, and will also minimize waste and contamination of water sources.

GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Fertilizer contains 59% slow-release nitrogen, and feeds lawns for up to 12 weeks. It also promotes strong, healthy root growth that will assist in developing a thick, dense lawn.

How To Apply Fall Fertilizer 

For best results, use of a spreader to apply your fall fertilizer. Fill the spreader with the appropriate amount of fertilizer needed for the square footage of your yard. Make sure to check the spreader settings listed on the bag label or on our website, and correct the spreader setting to ensure you apply the proper amount of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Walk at a steady pace while operating the spreader, making overlapping passes to ensure complete coverage. This method validates that every part of your lawn receives the necessary nutrients for healthy growth during the fall season.