Why Should I Fertilize in the Fall? (And Other Fall Lawn FAQs)

The leaves are falling, the cider is flowing, and you’ve officially embraced "sweater season". With that crisp autumn chill in the air, you’ve also probably started to dread the freezing temps and harsh winter ahead. During the late fall season in Central Indiana, the weather and timing are just right for root development. Fall fertilization treatment, also referred to as winterization or winterizer, is imperative to preventing seasonal root damage and keeping your lawn pristine come spring. But is it really that important? We get asked this a lot, as well as many other questions about turf treatment this time of year. Here is what our experts have to say:

Fall Lawn Care and Fertilization Info - Lawn Pride

Why should I fertilize my lawn in the fall?

Just because you may be mowing your lawn less doesn’t mean the plant is dead or dormant. While your grass is not actively growing on top right now, it is growing beneath the surface. Like an animal, heading into hibernation, your lawn’s root cells are thickening and storing carbohydrates for the winter. Therefore, it’s imperative to feed your lawn one last time before the damaging frost and snow hits.

Why is a late fall application so important?

Put simply, this final application will provide the protection your lawn needs during the long winter and a quicker green-up in the spring. You see, roots are the heart of the lawn. Late fall weather provides these roots with the absolute best opportunity for growth. Applying nitrogen-rich fertilizer now, encourages a healthier and deeper root system going into the next season. It also reduces the chances of drought damage because deeper roots allow access to more water. Late fall lawn prep also helps grass get through a harsh winter and prevents winter damage by hardening the plant.

What is a winterizer?

Winterizer is simply another term that’s used to describe late fall fertilizer applications. Late fall lawn treatments are often referred to as a winterizer application in the lawn care industry because it’s usually applied in late-October through mid-December. The treatment encourages roots to store more food for winter survival.

What would happen if I skipped my late fall treatment?

Proper fall lawn care leads to a thicker, greener lawn with fewer weeds in the spring. Without a late fall application, your lawn might not develop a stronger, denser root system to help it look lush, healthy, and vibrant when the warmer months return. Taking action now means you’re making a solid investment in a beautiful spring landscape.

Can you fertilize a lawn with leaves on the ground?

We can fertilize the lawn with leaves on the ground. However, if the leaves are so matted on the ground that no grass blades are showing, you’ll want to remove the leaf cover. Not doing so not only affects fertilizing efforts, but it can block oxygen from reaching your roots and lead to snow mold problems in the winter. With that said, even if you aren’t planning on the late fall application, make sure to keep up with regular leaf removal!

When should I mow my lawn for the last time this year?

Now is the perfect time to start planning your final mow. You’ll want your grass to be cut by the time the first hard frost hits. Remember to maintain the one-third rule and not to mow lower than 3.5 inches.

What else should I do for my lawn during the fall?

Mulching or raking leaves, treating weeds — there are a few more things to keep in mind this time of year. Read here for the shortlist of lawn care to-do’s to tackle before winter hits. (Hint: We can help with a lot of these, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, just give us a call!) Ready to set up your late fall application? Call us or submit a request online—and we’ll be in touch!