How to Fertilize Your Lawn in the Fall

fall lawn fertilization

Fall is easily one of the most loved seasons in the United States. It brings a beautiful color palette, cool crisp mornings, apple cider, and all things pumpkins.

While the rest of the country has been cooling down since September, Texans know that fall here is very different than fall in the rest of the country. We are two months in and are just hitting “sweater weather”.

Now that the weather has begun to cool off, the Dallas Cowboys are back on screen, and it is dark by 6:00 pm, it is safe to say that fall has finally arrived! As fun as it is, it does mean lawn care will need to change from summer routines.

With the long Summer, homeowners begin to fall into a grove. They start to develop a full understanding of when to water and what products. But as the season changes, so does a lawn care routine.

Fall requires different weed control, less water, and a few fungi which infect during the cooler temperatures, but the biggest change is in the turf’s fertilizer needs.

Fertilize in the Fall?

As the temperatures begin to decline, you may find yourself wondering what lawn care looks like this time of the year.

Do you even need to fertilize as it gets colder? Easy answer: Yes! The fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn. Texas’ summer heat is incredibly stressful on your lawn.

The grass is recovering from a long hot summer and maybe coming out of a drought-induced dormancy. But the cooler temperatures in the fall provide the perfect setting for your lawn to recover and gain strength.

Take advantage of the cooler months before your lawn goes fully into winter dormancy to get the nutrients your lawn needs.

Taking the time to fertilize in the fall will help to strengthen your lawn’s roots and improve your lawn’s ability to thrive the next spring and summer.

Take Advantage of Cool Whether Before Dormancy

But is fertilizer even effective in the cold weather? It is true that when the soil temperatures are lower, certain grass types begin to go dormant for the winter.

All of the three most common grass types in North Texas; Bermuda, Saint Augustine, and Zoysia, go into dormancy for the winter.

But it is important to remember, it takes a long, sustained period of cold temperatures to begin lowering the soil temperatures.

Even though it may feel like it is getting colder to us, below the ground, the soil temperatures are still warm around the roots of the turf and thus are still very active. Many Texans opt to overseed their lawn with winter rye in the fall.

This allows Texas lawns to retain a green color even in the deepest parts of the winter.

If you opt to overseed with winter rye, it is important to fertilize after the seeds take root. This will encourage the grass to grow thick and healthy. 

Check out our article, if you want to learn more about the importance of fertilizing in the fall.

What Type of Fertilizer

In the fall, you will want to use a potash heavy fertilizer. When purchasing fertilizer, you will notice three numbers in the form of 28-3-10.

The first number, in this example 28, refers to nitrogen. In the cooler months, there really is no need for a nitrogen high fertilizer because the roots are not absorbing nitrogen.

The next number, in this example 3, represents phosphorus. Phosphorus is abundant here in North Texas so this number should always be the lowest. The last number, in this example 10, refers to potassium.

Potassium specifically aims to promote root health and regeneration.

 As your lawn is going into dormancy, you will want to target below the soil where temperatures are warmer. As mentioned earlier, the benefits from potassium really shine below the surface.

It helps the roots grow stronger and thicker. Luckily, lawns take up more potassium in the fall than any other time of the year. A stronger and healthier root system will allow for your lawn to recover better and faster from all the hardships nature brings. It will be able to search deeper for water even through the worst Texas drought.

Try opting for a 0-0-60 or a fertilizer similar. 

There are two main types of fertilizer to choose from, dry and liquid. Typically, in Texas, homeowners should use dry, slow-release fertilizers. When temperatures are high, liquid fertilizers run the risk of burning the turf. The cool fall temperatures allow for the use of a liquid fertilizer without any risk.

Liquid fertilizer immediately delivers the nutrients to the soil. It is also considered a little easier to distribute easily for DIY applications.

Consider Using the Professionals

It’s important to keep in mind that fall lawn care includes so much more than just fertilizer. Fall brings on a whole new host of weeds to be treated with weed control.

Fall also is the perfect time to prevent stubborn winter weeds like Poa Annua with pre emergent. Also, the cool temperatures bring fungi like Leaf Spot and Fall Brown Patch. These in combination with fertilizer will help strengthen your lawn to give you the lawn you love.

It’s important to do these treatments 4-6 weeks apart even throughout the “colder” months. Lawn care is a lot of work, and it is a large commitment. Gecko Green performs lawn care all year long, so you don’t have to be out in the cold treating.

As a DFW lawn care company, Gecko Green has everything needed to keep North Texas lawns happy and healthy. Our licensed technicians are local experts in lawn care and know exactly what your turf will need and when to apply it. Give us a call today for a free estimate!

Call for a free fertilization quote today!