Protect Your Lawn for Winter: Fertilizing Made Easy
Just because it’s almost autumn doesn’t mean it’s time to stop lawn care. Before the leaves start to fall and you’re busy raking, there’s one last important task to do. To help your lawn’s roots grow strong throughout the dormant winter months, you’ll want to give it one last fertilization. We’ll show you the best tricks for giving your lawn the vital nutrients it will need during the cooler months.
When to Fertilize
Your lawn should be fertilized about three times a year to grow healthy and strong. You’ll want to lay the first layer in the beginning of spring and another layer before the heat of summer sets in. Lastly, before the weather gets chilly you’ll want to lay down one last round of fertilizer. Wait until around the end of September when you notice your grass is slowing down its growth. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to a lush lawn come spring.
Preparing to Fertilize
- Buy the appropriate fertilizer for your lawn – When deciding which fertilizer to use on your lawn, be sure to read the labels. There are three key ingredients in all fertilizers: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For most lawns you’ll want to use nitrogen based fertilizer. Phosphorus should be saved for newly seeded lawns.
- Get the right equipment – You’ll need to have a good quality fertilizer spreader to properly distribute throughout your lawn.
- Make sure outdoor conditions are optimal – Be sure it isn’t too windy when you fertilize. It’s also best to spread the fertilizer while there is still light dew on the ground.
- Mow – You’ll want to give the grass one final mow before you spread the fertilizer. Be sure in your prep work to leave about 2/3 of the grass blade. Cutting too short will send the grass into shock. Make sure your grass is receptive to the fertilizer so use the correct techniques when mowing.
How to Fertilize Your Lawn
- The technique – You want to spread the fertilizer as evenly as possible. Too much overlap or uneven spreading can cause striping and patchiness in the spring.
- Most rotary spreaders cover a 6-8 foot wide area so don’t start too close to the edge of your lawn.
- Start walking before you turn on the rotary spreader and shut it off before you stop walking.
- Apply while walking in opposite directions.
- Be careful to not over fertilize. This will prevent streaks or other damage to your lawn. Be sure to follow the directions on the bag to apply the correct amount of fertilizer. If you regularly leave your clippings on your lawn, you can reduce the amount up to 25 percent as the clippings add nitrogen back in as they decay.
- After fertilizing – When finished, water the lawn lightly, taking care to not wash away your hard work. Clean the fertilizer spreader and store for spring.
If you follow these steps you’ll have a well-protected lawn that will withstand the harsh weather of winter. Add fertilization on your to do list with your other pre-winter chores.
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