Last updated 10/29/03
Donít Put the Fertilizer Spreader Away Yet
A November application of fertilizer is extremely important to keep your lawn healthy and looking good this fall and next year. Late fall N promotes good root development, enhances storage of energy reserves, and extends color retention this fall. Most of the benefits from late fall N will be seen next spring and summer with earlier green-up, improved density, and improved tolerance to diseases and other stresses. Apply near or after your last mowing of the year, but while grass is still green. Timing of this application is not overly critical because there may be a month or more between your last mowing and the time the grass turns brown or goes under snow cover. Generally the first few weeks of November are when to apply. Recent Purdue research suggests that the N must be taken-up by the plant before winter to be most effective in areas where the turf goes dormant during the winter. Therefore, a soluble N source such as urea, ammonium nitrate, or ammonium sulfate is most effective and apply 1.0 to 1.5 lbs. N/1000 sq. ft. Conversely, in southern IN and areas where the cool-season turf goes dormant for only for a couple of months or maybe not at all, a slower release fertilizer would be more beneficial to feed the plant throughout the winter months. Use a water soluble slow release fertilizer like sulfur-coated urea or IBDU in this case and apply 1.0 to 1.5 lbs. N/1000 sq. ft.
Zac Reicher, Associate Professor/Turfgrass Extension Specialist
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