by Cortney Moore
Soon lawns everywhere will be ready for hibernation or dormancy if you prefer. Some simply call it brown. Like a hungry bear or squirrels collecting nuts, turf grass needs sustenance to help it through the winter.
Fall is the ideal time to fertilize lawns. A late season application of lawn fertilizer is often referred to as winterizer. When selecting a fertilizer for this application there are a few considerations:
- Look for a good percent of nitrogen as it is still the most important nutrient
- Added phosphorous and potassium are a benefit
- Select a fertilizer developed for our area. We recommend Jirdon Winterizer and Alpha Organic Winterizer.
Nitrogen promotes healthy, lush green top growth. Phosphorous supports a strong, dense root system and potassium aids in overall plant hardiness. These are the three numbers listed on any fertilizer and they are referred to as N-P-K. Examples are Jirdon Winterizer with 18-6-12 and Alpha Organic Winterizer with 12-4-4.
The most important quality when selecting a fertilizer at anytime of the year is to be certain it is developed for our soils. The Alpha line of fertilizers is produced locally and Jirdon has a long history in our area. It is appropriate to use any of the Jirdon or Alpha products recommended for lawn fertilizing. Colorado’s Own Lawn Food is another good choice.
The benefits of a winterizer include:
- Late season fertilizer application enhances strong root development
- Stored nitrogen promotes early spring green up without a heavy flush of growth which means less mowing in the spring and less chance of disease
- Produces dense roots and shoots to minimize spring weed seed germination and limit overall weed establishment
The proper time to apply winterizer is September through November depending on how our season ends. The grass needs to be green when the fertilizer is spread. Some moisture and warmth are important so don’t wait until we get into a cold, dry spell. Also pay attention if the temperatures are hot. It is better to wait until it cools down a bit. If natural moisture isn’t forecasted a light watering is sufficient.
Winterizer is often described as the most important application of the season, so don’t let your lawn go hungry this fall!
Originally published on August 30th, 2013. Updated on December 5th, 2014.