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Fall Lawn Fertilization for Healthy Winter Hibernation

Fall is here, but don’t give up on your lawn just yet. Now is the perfect time to take extra special care of your grass. Contrary to the popular belief that fertilizing in fall disrupts the grass as it prepares to overwinter, correct fertilization actually allows for a healthier season of dormancy.

“Fall fertilizing helps to strengthen your lawn and the lawn’s roots, providing stamina to help it survive the long winter.” (Landscape Ontario)

Fall fertilization is used to fortify the storage of sugar in the base of the grass blades.  The benefit here is twofold: it makes the grass hardier throughout the winter, and helps to facilitate a stronger start in the spring.

The key is to apply the right fertilizer at the right time.

When to Apply Fall Fertilizer

According to Canadian lawn and garden expert Mark Cullen, the later you apply your fall fertilizer the better. Typically, this means around the end of October through the first two weeks of November.

“Wait for a few ‘killing frosts’ which will slow down the metabolism of grass plants, creating the perfect conditions for application.” (Marc Cullen).

However, you don’t want to wait too long  because the nitrogen in your fertilizer needs to be taken down into the roots. If the fertilizer rests on the surface of the soil it will evaporate.

What Type of Fertilizer to Apply

The ideal fall fertilizer should have elevated levels of nitrogen and potassium. You also want to be sure to avoid fertilizers with high amounts of phosphate.

When shopping for fertilizer, the numbers on the package will indicate the ratio of nutrients –Nitrogen:Phosphorus:Potassium. A good fall fertilizer will have a potassium level of around 18.


In addition to fertilizing, fall is also an ideal time to overseed your lawn. If the grass looks patchy or weak in spots, spread at least 3 centimeters of lawn soil over the spots, sprinkle the seeds and then pat them down into the soil. Once they’ve been planted water deeply on a regular schedule.

Hire a Lawn Care Service

If you don’t have the time to take on fall fertilization, you can certainly hire a professional lawn care company to do it for you. You can find several lawn service pros in the listings here on Browse the listings of lawn care professionals today, and request a few quotes. Your lawn will thank you!

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