NO! Your lawn is going to be in dormancy, true. But it will need a winterizer to protect it and give it that jump when Spring comes.
“Late fall fertilizers are often called ‘winterizer fertilizers’ or just winterizers,” says David Robson, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “This may be the most important fertilizer you apply to your lawn–especially if you’ve never applied one.”
- You won’t see a winterizer do much of anything. You may see a few granules lying around that haven’t broken down. The benefit of winterizers is what they do to the root system throughout the winter months and the effect on shoot development next spring.
- Robson says the best winterizers are slow-release fertilizers, and usually low analysis, with nitrogen levels between 10 and 15 percent. Nitrogen is the first number listed on the fertilizer bag. The fertilizer granules break down slowly over the late fall, winter and spring based on soil temperature, moisture and microbial activity. During this time, the roots, which are growing as long as the ground isn’t frozen, are absorbing and storing the nutrients until the air temperature is ideal for the bluegrass, ryegrass or fescue to use it for shoot growth and green color.
- When air temperatures finally warm in the spring, the stored nutrients are immediately available and the turf is green and thick– usually by mid-March. A thick stand also means less reliance on crabgrass preventers since crabgrass problems are minimized due to a lush turf.
The best time to apply a winterizers is the week after the last mowing of the year. Since the last mowing is difficult to predict, Robson suggests applying the winterizer to the lawn during the Thanksgiving weekend. If you missed that weekend, the winterizer could still be put on the following week.
Your next delivery from Fertilizer Delivery is the week of November 24. If you haven’t gotten on our program yet, you still can!
So, you still have work to do – in about 2-3 weeks. Don’t put that spreader away yet! But when you’re done, have a big turkey leg and a piece of pumpkin pie, sit back, watch the game, and know you’ve done everything you can to have a beautiful, green, lush lawn when the first sounds and sights of Spring arrive.