When leaves start changing colors and the ground begins to harden for winter, residential lawn care may be the last thing on your mind. You might wonder "Do I need to fertilize my lawn in autumn?" The answer is yes. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall is important for its long-term health and a beneficial step to take for several reasons.
Growth & Recovery
Winter, spring and fall, when the ground isn’t frozen, are the primary growing periods for cool season grasses. Summer is considered the "off season" or dormant time (unless the summer happens to be mild and rainy). During hot summer months, cool season grasses lose some of their root systems due to high temperatures in the soil and when there are periods of drought. As temperatures cool off and normal rainfall returns in fall months, the turf will begin to recover, making it an ideal time for fertilizer to aid in its growth.
Lawn diseases and insect problems aren’t as prevalent in the autumn as they are at other times of the year, so it’s important to take advantage of the fall growing season as much as possible. In the late fall, grass can utilize fertilizer with less likelihood of disease development because the temperatures are lower. And since daylight hours are shorter, the grass plant produces less top growth and uses the nutrients in the fertilizer toward root development. This is why grass grows slower in the fall than in the spring.
Grass plants need the ability to survive during the shorter daylight hours when they’re unable to produce enough food through photosynthesis. Fall fertilization helps the grass store carbohydrates, which it then uses as food over the winter months. When spring rolls around, yards that have been fertilized in the autumn will also green-up quicker thanks to leftover carbohydrates.
Late fall fertilization is truly a win-win situation for both you and your grass as a live plant. You get the benefits of a healthier, greener lawn with a stronger root system the next season, and the grass recovers from summer stress so it can fight through winter months.
For questions on the benefits of fall fertilization, or to sign up for your lawn application, please contact your local lawn care experts. We’re happy to help.