Fall Fertilizers

Fall Fertilizers

By Paul Schnare

Saturday, September 6, 2003


If you have a cool season lawn, there are three different fertilizers that you may want to apply to it at the beginning of September. The first of these is a new lawn starter, such as 9-13-7. Use this fertilizer if you are seeding a brand new lawn, or if you are overseeding an existing lawn. When the middle number, phosphorous, is higher than the first number, nitrogen, the fertilizer encourages plants to produce roots instead of tops. When you seed, you want your new grass seedlings to establish a good roots system as rapidly as possible.

If you have an existing lawn and do not plan to overseed, then apply a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 28-4-4. In the fall you want to encourage a lot of foliage growth. Grass leaves are the “production facilities” for all of the nutrients that a plant needs for growth and survival during periods of stress. Cool season grasses grow rapidly during the early fall when temperatures are cool. Therefore you want to make a lot of nutrients available to them during their rapid growth period.

In the event that you have a lawn that does not need overseeding, but does have a lot of broadleaf weeds in it, you might want to use a fertilizer such as 25-4-4 with trimec. This “weed and feed” provides nutrients just like 28-4-4, but the presence of trimec also kills broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, chickweed, plantain, etc. Make sure that when you apply this fertilizer combination, the foliage of your lawn is wet.