Should I Fertilize My Yard in the Fall?Reading time: 8 minutes
Autumn is a beloved time in western Canada. The chill starts moving in, the maple leaves turn a vibrant red, and it’s time to start enjoying the outdoors before winter rears its head. It’s also a great time to set your lawn up for success with preemptive lawn care. You don’t want the yard to take too much of a backseat in the fall.
Instead, fall services help your lawn as you prepare for winter and help you stop any harsh side effects. For example, snow and ice can damage your grass if you do not take the proper precautions.
Fertilization is an integral part of a fall lawn care strategy, but it can go wrong if you’re not careful. Here’s what to know and how Green Drop can help you cultivate a lawn you love in every season.
Why Should I Fertilize My Yard in the Fall?
Having a lush, green lawn takes work, but how and when you make that effort can significantly impact your result. Fertilizing in the fall has numerous benefits for your lawn compared to fertilization in other seasons.
Provides Essential Nutrients Ahead of the Cold Season
Prepping your lawn for the winter is key to enjoying lush green grass in the spring. Fertilization is one essential part of this process, along with proper watering, good weed control, and extended maintenance.
Cold weather can be brutal on grass, but fertilizing well before the ground freezes gives your lawn time to build stamina and gain hardiness beforehand. Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus help make your grass stronger and healthier through the winter, giving you a thick, beautifully green lawn earlier when the seasons change again.
Helps Fertilizer Absorb Better
Autumn weather means morning dew, which delivers essential moisture to help your lawn absorb the nutrients in the fertilizer. Instead of evaporating as soon as the sun rises, like in the summer, dew can condense and soak into the soil below, taking nutrients with it.
Since grass grows more slowly in the fall and turns toward root growth, you have the perfect environment to nourish your grass and help it store more energy for the upcoming cold weather.
Allows Grass to Recover from the Summer
Lawns withstand a lot of wear and tear in the summer. Not only is the weather hot and dry, but it's a time when you’re outside enjoying your property. This means people often walk, run, and play on your lawn throughout the season, putting extra stress on the blades and root system.
If your grass heads into winter without after-summer recovery care, your lawn may need to help endure the harsh cold. At best, your yard won’t be complete and vibrant when the snow melts in the spring. At worst, you could look at dead patches, lawn diseases, and other costly and time-consuming problems to address.
Promotes Critical Root Growth Before Winter
When summer winds down, your lawn stops putting as much energy into growing grass and dedicates more to developing a solid root system. Giving your property an extra boost of nutrients helps them grow healthy roots. And since grass doesn’t root deeply but spreads wide, protecting your grass against winter problems like cold stress and snow mould is essential.
When to Fertilize Your Lawn in the Fall
The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the early fall before temperatures dip too much and well ahead of the first frost. You want to give your grass as much time as possible to absorb the nutrients in the fertilizer and put them to work before the snow and ice hits. Then, there will also be extra nutrients in the soil to help your lawn overwinter successfully.
Check the anticipated date of the first frost in your area each year and plan to fertilize a few weeks before. For the most part, Canada experiences first frosts in September, making late August ideal for fertilizing ahead of the autumn season.
You should also check the weather for rain and avoid fertilizing your lawn before heavy precipitation. This helps avoid runoff, which can enter nearby water supplies and cause excess algae growth. Your grass should also be dry before applying fertilizer, so you’ll want to wait a day or two if it has recently rained.
Mowing first is an excellent way to ensure that the fertilizer application has a chance to absorb well into the root system of the grass. Don’t scalp your lawn, though – it shouldn’t be too bare when the temperatures drop. If there’s not enough grass to protect the roots, they could become damaged by snow and ice accumulation. In some instances, extreme cold is enough to jeopardize a lawn that’s been cut short, so be sure to mow with care before you fertilize.
Professional Lawn Fertilizer Services
Caring for your lawn can be a lot of work, especially if you’re busy at the office or home with your family. Investing in professional lawn care services helps relieve the burden of yard maintenance. Working with a professional lawn care service provides peace of mind that your property is cared for year-round. Here’s what to expect when you work with a lawn care contractor:
- Scheduled maintenance – It’s tough to remember when your lawn needs upkeep when you’re already busy with work and other appointments. A service like Green Drop uses an automatic scheduling option, so you never have to schedule on your own. Instead, we handle the heavy lifting; you don’t have to be home.
- Pest and insect control – Pests can make it challenging to maintain a healthy lawn, but effective pest control is best left to the professionals. Our GreenKeepers will assess your property whenever they visit and determine if any elimination and control measures are needed.
- Seasonal cleanup – Your contractor can help clean up and remove autumn leaves, extra grass clippings in the summer, and other debris. They also have specialized equipment like leaf blowers and industrial aerators that help them finish the job quickly.
- Tailored services – A lawn care professional will work with you to create a customized strategy to keep your yard looking great in all seasons. This usually includes multiple services, like mowing, weed eating, fertilization, aeration, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Fall Lawn Fertilization
Should My Lawn be Seeded or Fertilized First in the Fall?
If you have a regular maintenance program, this doesn’t matter, as the lawn is being evenly fed throughout the season. If it is the “first '' application to the lawn in a while, then a fertilizer application before seeding your lawn in the fall is a great way to provide critical nutrients that promote healthy seedling growth. This helps new grass grow quickly into established grass to better compete with weeds in the area.
Should My Lawn be Aerated before It’s Fertilized?
Aeration can be completed anytime, as the season does not impact the benefits. This means you can work it into and around your fertilizer application. If you aerate your soil before seeding, especially in areas where soil is dense or tightly compacted, the seeds will fall deeper into the soil. There, fertilizer can nourish them and promote quick sprouting and root establishment. This gets your lawn off to a great start before the winter hits.
Should I Water My Lawn after It Is Fertilized?
Whether or not your lawn ought to be watered after fall fertilization depends on the type of fertilizer you’re using. Some fertilizers are designed to be “watered in” and need the extra moisture to bring the nutrients down to the root level of your grass. But this might not be necessary with morning dew doing more legwork in the autumn. Check with your land care technician about watering schedules once they’re done fertilizing your lawn.
How Late Can I Apply Fertilizer to My Lawn in the Fall?
Fall fertilization should occur before the first frost, but you can still apply nutrients to your lawn if the ground isn’t frozen or the weather has been warm. The ground must be soft and pliable enough for the water and fertilizer to soak in. If the soil is too cold or is frozen solid, the fertilizer will sit on top of the roots, potentially causing damage to the delicate blades of grass.
Ensure a Beautiful Lawn in Fall and Beyond with Green Drop
Green Drop is Western Canada’s trusted lawn care partner. We can help you get a thick, vibrant yard you love without the time, effort, and stress of mowing or fertilizing yourself. You and your family can enjoy a luscious, head-turning space that improves your curb appeal and boosts your home’s value with the help of our experienced GreenKeepers.
Our fertilizers and pest management methods are safe for kids and pets, giving you peace of mind that your lawn isn’t hazardous to anything that might come into contact with it.
Reach out to us today for more information on our fall fertilization packages and what we do to keep your lawn looking great through the winter.