Preparing Residential Lawns for Fall and Winter

With leaves changing and temperatures dropping, it’s time to perform seasonal fall maintenance to keep your lawn looking lush and healthy in the year to come. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the key things you can do to have a beautiful lawn – Winterizing!

Here in the Lower Mainland, lawns are typically composed of cool season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and Fescue. Cool season grasses benefit from a late season application of fertilizer known in the industry as “winterizer.”

Isn’t my Lawn going Dormant?

As temperatures cool and the growth of grass stems and blades above ground slows, root systems of cool season grasses continue to grow below, up until the winter freeze. Grass roots will continue to gather and store nutrients which will be used to break dormancy in spring. By applying winterizer to your lawn in the fall, you provide your lawn with the energy it needs to flush out lush and green in the spring.

Benefits of Winterizing your Lawn

Of all the fertilizer applications applied to lawns throughout the year, winterizer is one of the most important for supporting healthy turf around the home. In addition to supporting energy storage for spring, late fall applications of winterizer both support and promote continued root production late into the fall. This can be beneficial in a number of ways.

Lawns with dense root systems tend to:

  1. Experience fewer weeds, reducing the need for costly chemical weed control year round
  2. Withstand and recover from environmental stresses, like drought, more readily
  3. Tolerate and show less damage from low levels of grub feeding
  4. Absorb larger amounts of stormwater and runoff from around the home

Chafer Beetle and Your Lawn

You’ve probably heard (or seen the after effects of) Chafer Beetle in your community, but what can you do to protect your lawn?

Applying winterizer to your turf won’t kill or stop Chafer Beetle grubs from feasting on the roots of your lawn, but it will promote continuous root production up until the ground freezes. This is important because grubs are particularly active during the cooler temperatures of late fall and early spring. To put it simply, lawns with dense root systems can afford to lose some of their roots to grub feeding. So long as the intensity of grub feeding remains low, lawns can tolerate the damage without losing their ability to uptake nutrients and water. Above ground, this means your lawn stays lush and green instead of developing unsightly brown patches.

Will Any Fertilizer Work?

The answer is: Not exactly. While you could throw down the same fertilizer you used last spring and gain some benefit, it isn’t the best idea. Fertilizers designed from spring lawn applications typically contain higher levels of Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K), macronutrients which encourage blade and stem growth, perfect for creating a gorgeous spring and summer lawn!

In fall, lawns benefit from an application of a slow release fertilizer that’s high in Nitrogen (N), which will both support late season root growth and help lawns to recover from summer stresses. As an added benefit, lawns that receive nitrogen in the fall tend to produce a more vibrant green color during spring growth.

To learn more about fertilizing your lawn year round, check out our blog: What you need to know before fertilizing your home lawn.

Choosing Your Winterizer

To get the most out of your winterizer application, look for a slow release fertilizer that has at least 10%-15% Nitrogen content with lower levels of Phosphorus and Potassium. Here at Western Turf Farms, we like to winterize with Green Booster 21.0.0 in the fall. It’s a product we’ve had great success with and we’re happy to share it with our customers.

If you’re considering ordering sod from us, ask about adding Green Booster 21.0.0 and All Season Builder 18.18.18 to your order so you can feed your lawn like the pros!

Give us call at 1.888.888.7280 for a great price on winterizer fertilizer.

Otherwise, consider swinging by your local gardening store to pick up a winterizer. When choosing your product, remember to look for a slow-release lawn (not garden!) fertilizer that has a high Nitrogen content and low levels of Phosphorous and Potassium. By choosing a slow release product, you minimize the risk of injury while providing long term, steady feeding.

Organic or Synthetic?

Although many great organic fertilizers are commercially available, their dependency on microbial activity in the soil to release nutrients limits their effectiveness during cooler fall temperatures. By purchasing a product that blends or fortifies an organic product with a synthetic slow-release nitrogen, homeowners gain the benefits of long term feeding through a stable product.

Regardless of what product you choose, always carefully read the label and follow the application instructions provided to avoid damaging your lawn, or the environment!

Have questions, comments, or concerns? Send us an email or stop by our Facebook to let us know. We’d love to hear from you!