The best time to fertilize your lawn in the fall will vary depending on where you live. Mid-September through mid-October typically works for most places in the country, but you generally want to make sure you fertilize about 2-3 weeks before the ground freezes from the first frost of the season. The further north you are, the earlier you'll fertilize. If you plan on putting out a pre-emergent weed killer to fight off cool-season weeds, water your fertilizer to allow it to soak in, and then wait a few days before applying the pre-emergent.
What type of fertilizer do you put on your lawn in the fall?
The type of fertilizer you use is going to depend on where you live, the type of grass you have, and the condition of your soil. Our first recommendation is to always take a soil sample of your yard so that you know the nutrients your soil is lacking. This will help guide your fertilizer selection.
Cool-Season Grasses: For cool-season grasses like fescue and bluegrass which actively grow during cooler months, you want to select a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, which promotes the growth of healthy, green grass. Make sure you use a slow-release fertilizer that stays in your soil longer and reduces the risk of fertilizer burn.
Warm-Season Grass: For our friends in the South, warm-season grasses like bermuda and zoysia might not need to be fertilized at all in the fall. If they do, you may want to reach for a fertilizer that only contains potassium, which can help your lawn remain healthy during the dormant winter months. You do not want to use nitrogen at this time because you do not want to promote lawn growth when your lawn is out of season.
How do you spread fertilizer on your lawn?
Here's how to spread fertilizer:
Water your lawn a few days before.
Apply fertilizer with a broadcast spreader.
Lightly water your lawn after applying fertilizer.
1. Water your lawn prior to applying fertilizer
A few days before fertilization, water your lawn thoroughly and allow it to dry. If you start while the grass is wet, the fertilizer is more likely to stick to the blades instead of reaching the soil.
2. Apply fertilizer using a broadcast spreader
Next, apply the fertilizer using a broadcast spreader. Resist the urge to fertilize by hand because your fertilizer will be spread inconsistently. A lawn tool like a broadcast spreader ensures that the fertilizer is evenly distributed across your lawn. Broadcast spreaders are affordable and an important tool for any homeowner to own. Consult your fertilizer instructions to know how to adjust your broadcaster to ensure the proper amount of fertilizer is being spread across the lawn.
3. Lightly water your lawn after applying fertilizer
After fertilizing your lawn, lightly water your grass to get any fertilizer off the blades and onto the soil. Your fertilizer does you no good if it sticks to the grass and never makes it to the ground.