Fall Lawn Care: The Importance of Winterizing Your Lawn
As the winter season nears, we are here to remind you of some key practices that will help keep your lawn healthy and in good condition so that it is ready to grow even stronger, healthier, and fuller next season! Winterizing your lawn is an often-overlooked fall “to-do” that can make a huge difference in your lawn. So, today we are going to go over everything you need to know about winterizing your lawn and applying pre-emergent fertilizers.
Is It Necessary to Winterize Your Lawn?
One of the simplest, best things you can do for your lawn is to apply a pre-emergent fertilizer at the beginning or end of the growing season. Winterizer fertilizers are also highly recommended for application in the fall. Such fertilizers provide your grass with nutrients that will help them withstand the cold season, resulting in a healthier and more beautiful lawn in the spring. Pre-emergent fertilizers will also stop weed seeds from germinating in your lawn, meaning fewer weeds for you to have to deal with throughout the summer! So, while neither of these is necessary for the survival of your lawn, applying such products will be a huge benefit to your lawn and ensure your grass is lush and resilient.
What Is a Pre-Emergent Fertilizer?
Pre-emergent fertilizers are often an herbicide mixed with other nutrients. The herbicide prevents weed seeds from germinating, while the nutrients encourage the growth of your existing lawn. There are organic and inorganic options when it comes to pre-emergent fertilizers, and while both have their advantages and disadvantages, organic options will break down quickly, are much less toxic, and have no residual effects.
Our preferred pre-emergent, Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow Corn Gluten, is a weed preventer and fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 9-0-0. Nitrogen is great for feeding your existing lawn, and it also inhibits seed germination by drying out a seed as soon as it sprouts. It helps to encourage deeper roots, improves water retention, and helps control the growth of crabgrass and foxtail, leaving you with a lush yard that is largely weed-free!
Are Pre-Emergent Fertilizers and Winterizer Fertilizers the Same?
Winterizer fertilizers and pre-emergent fertilizers are very similar and are often used synonymously. However, not all winterizers are pre-emergents, and vice versa. Many winterizer fertilizers contain pre-emergent herbicides, and many pre-emergent products usually contain some sort of fertilizer, though this is not always the case. So, when shopping for your products, be sure to read the bag and make sure the product of your choice fulfills all your requirements!
What Is the Difference Between Winterizer and Fertilizer?
Winterizing fertilizers and normal fertilizers are very similar, however, they do have some minor differences. Winterizer fertilizer contains higher levels of nitrogen and potassium than is needed in a normal fertilizer. The high levels of nitrogen encourage some last-minute, end-of-the-season root growth, and the extra potassium helps increase the grass's tolerance to freezing temperatures, among other things. Winterizer fertilizers feed your grass throughout the winter, help keep your grass healthy, and give your lawn immediate access to nitrogen as soon as the soil thaws in the spring.
When To Apply a Pre-Emergent Fertilizer in Colorado
Fall and spring are the two most effective times to apply a pre-emergent fertilizer. If you are applying in the spring, you want to be sure to do so in March before weeds begin to germinate. When you see the yellow Forsythia blooming, that’s your cue! Making sure your pre-emergent is applied before weed seeds germinate will increase its effectiveness in controlling the weed population in your yard throughout the growing season.
If you are applying your pre-emergent fertilizer in the fall or are planning to apply a winterizer fertilizer, you want to be sure to apply it before you have your sprinkler system winterized for the season! Many products used to winterize turf require that the lawn be watered thoroughly in order to activate the compounds contained in the fertilizer, soak them into the ground, and avoid burning your lawn. Applying after your sprinkler systems have been shut off for the season will mean that the nutrients will not be able to be accessed by the roots of your grass, and you will also risk causing damage to your lawn as any fertilizer that is left to sit on the surface can burn your grass.
Applying a pre-emergent or winterizer to your lawn at the end of the growing season will encourage some last-minute root growth and provide your lawn with some extra nutrients that will help it last through the winter and come back even stronger in the spring. It will also prevent any weed seeds from overwintering and will prevent them from germinating first thing in the spring when temperatures begin to warm back up.
How To Winterize Your Lawn
Winterizing your lawn by applying a pre-emergent fertilizer is very easy. Simply purchase the winterizing fertilizer or pre-emergent fertilizer of your choice, obtain a lawn fertilizer spreader, add your product to the spreader, and proceed to walk through your yard spreading the fertilizer evenly across the entire lawn according to the instructions on the package. There are many different types of fertilizer spreaders from push spreaders to hand-held spreaders. So, depending on the size of your yard, one may be more suited to your needs than another.
After you have spread your pre-emergent fertilizer, it will need to be watered into the ground. This will make sure the nutrients are able to soak into the soil where the roots of your grass will be able to access them and also avoids any burn damage to your lawn.
You will not want to use any sort of pre-emergent fertilizer on any areas of your lawn if you are planning to over-seed your lawn or put down new grass seed. Pre-emergent fertilizers do not know the difference between grass seed and weed seeds and therefore will inhibit all seeds from germinating.
What Are the Benefits of Applying a Pre-Emergent Fertilizer?
Taking this extra measure with your yard, while it is not necessary, is important if you want to help strengthen and improve your grass and enable it to last through the long, cold winter. Applying a winterizing fertilizer will enrich the turf, its roots, and the soil as well, helping increase its health and strength in the fall and helping it come back to life faster, stronger, and healthier in the spring. Applying a winterizing fertilizer in fall at the end of the growing season encourages deeper root growth, as the combination of nutrients and cooler weather promote root growth rather than promoting foliage growth. Deeper roots improve winter hardiness throughout the cold season as well as water retention throughout the warm season. Another benefit of applying a pre-emergent fertilizer to your lawn is decreased weed growth, giving you one less thing to have to stay on top of as well as a beautiful, weed-free yard! These are just a few of the biggest benefits of winterizing your lawn. Here are some more benefits to keep in mind:
Benefits of Winterizing Your Lawn
Encourages deep root growth
Improves water retention
Improves winter hardiness
Controls/prevents weed growth
Enriches the soil
Grass will bounce back quicker in the spring
Encourages dense grass growth
Decreased chance of disease
Increases resilience to foot traffic, drought, and extreme temperatures
Decreased soil erosion
Buy Your Pre-Emergent/Winterizer Fertilizer Today!
There are tons of options out there in terms of pre-emergent or winterizing fertilizers. Here are a few that we recommend:
Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow Corn Gluten. Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the corn milling process and a safe, non-toxic, effective alternative to chemical-based weed and feed products.
AlphaLawn Turf Winterizer by Alpha One. This organic fertilizer is best used in the fall. It works to condition and loosen compacted clay soils, introduces nutrients, strengthens root systems, and results in an overall healthier and more beautiful lawn.
AlphaLawn Turf Winterizer. Build winter hardiness, strengthen root systems, improve disease resistance, and ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn come springtime!
Fall application of these organic amendments improves winter hardiness and encourages stronger root development, resulting in earlier and denser spring growth in our Colorado soils and climate. So, make your way into Bath Garden Center this week and pick up some winterizing fertilizer before it is too late! We are also here to answer any questions you may have about your lawn, so give us a call, fill out a form on our website, or come into the store today if you want to give your lawn the best chance of staying strong and healthy throughout the winter season.