The summer is over, you are raking leaves or having them blown as storms continue to hit, and you’re winding down your lawn program for the year. You are getting close to cleaning and stowing the yard tools but there is a final application that your lawn needs this season. October and November are the months that fall fertilizer and anti-desiccants should be applied.
What is a fall lawn fertilizer and why do I need one?
Given the choice of times of year to fertilize: spring, summer or fall, fall is the single most important. When you prioritize your lawn budget we often see that spring is the time that a bulk of funds are spent on plants, flowers and chemicals, however fall is the unlikely yet critical application of the season. Fall is the period of growing in the grass life cycle when the grass root grows whereas in the spring the top of the grass grows and the upper grass plant is established, this is what the lawnmower is cutting. Cooler autumn temperatures allow the sugars in the grass plants to concentrate in the root zone and that carbohydrate process fuels the building blocks which are cells for the roots. These cells create proteins. Fertilizing in the fall feeds and balances the bacteria in the soil, it places beneficial bacteria in the soil which creates the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) that breaks down into usable forms for the plants. Soil microbes is what beneficial bacteria is called.
When fertilizing what’s the difference between organic and traditional?
Let’s begin with what soil is comprised of: sand, loom and organic matter. Soil through it’s cycle gets stripped of organic matter and fertilizer’s goal is to strengthen the soil.
Traditional fertilizer available via big box stores to homeowners are synthetically produced and typically more concentrated as they contain no organic matter, no humates and no bio-stimulants. They are only a macro nutrient fertilizer that doesn’t add matter to the soil. Traditional fertilizer is coated with sulfur as the coating. Sulfur is an obnoxious smelling chemicals which can stain walkways, paved surfaces and injure pet’s paws. While cost effective traditional fertilizer is not the most effective.
Besides obvious differences in organic versus traditional like organic doesn’t allow chemicals like sulfurs, organic fertilizer contain humic acid or humates. Humates are peet like substances that stimulate root production and root elongation in the soil. This material is a way to replenish the organic matter that is being lost in the soil. Organic matter is the life blood of soil.
Why hire a professional to spread the fertilizer on the lawn?
Not only do you gain your time back but applicators are licensed by the state of Connecticut. They must hold a ornamental & turf license and they can be looked up on the state’s website. A licensed professional will know the appropriate amount of material. Fertilizer must be applied at a consistent rate and speed or the lawn will die. Commercial spreading equipment is calibrated to maintain accuracy that ensures a uniform application each time.
Stacy Skoldberg is managing partner of GreenSprays an organic lawncare and tree company. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-916-3666, Twitter @greenspraysllc or on Facebook.