Can You Fertilise Lawn In Autumn?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:53 pm

Lawn care makes great demands on the gardener not only in the spring. If you want to maintain a healthy lawn, this is associated with care throughout the year. Even in the fall, you need to make sure that you treat the green area properly.

This includes providing the lawn with sufficient nutrients. Otherwise, there would be a risk that the weak blades of grass will not survive the winter.

Can You Fertilise Lawn In Autumn?

But what distinguishes the autumn fertilizer from the spring fertilizer and at what time should you apply it?

Why is fertilizing necessary in the fall?

Your lawn has been subjected to a lot of wear and tear during the summer. The hot temperatures, children playing and long summer nights have meant that the lawn is no longer in the best condition. Therefore, lawn care is necessary in the fall to prepare it for winter.

In addition to fertilizing, it is important that you also pick up the leaves, remove weeds and drive away pests. This is the only way to ensure that diseases do not spread and the lawn is not affected. Mowing to the right length is also important, so that the blades of grass are neither too short nor too long. This gives them better protection from the cold and keeps them from breaking off in freezing conditions.

Fertilizing in the fall is an additional measure to strengthen the lawn. This was heavily used during the summer. In autumn and winter, the time has come when the garden is no longer used so intensively, but the lawn still has little opportunity to rest. The temperature is so low that it falls into a kind of hibernation. In order for it to survive this period in the best possible way, it must be supplied with sufficient nutrients. These include primarily potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Without the application of fertilizer, there is a risk that the cold will affect the lawn and it will only moderately come to life in the spring.

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What distinguishes the autumn fertilizer?

Fertilizers usually consist of the basic substances of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Depending on the season, the exact composition changes, because the needs of the lawn change. Sometimes it should grow in height to become more resistant later. Depending on the desired characteristics, the proportion of nutrients changes.

In spring, the content of nitrogen is relatively high. This stimulates the growth of the lawn. Germination is faster and in a short time you will see the blades of grass grow in height. As a result, you get a beautiful result as soon as possible and can look at the lush green.

Lower percentage of nitrogen

For the autumn, it is less important that the lawn grows quickly. On the contrary – due to low temperatures, it stops growing anyway. If the thermometer drops below the limit of 9°C, most grasses go into a kind of hibernation. They stop growing completely and are hardly able to absorb nutrients. Therefore, it would make little sense to try to stimulate growth with a high nitrogen content.

More potassium in the autumn fertilizer

Kalium - Frostschutz

More important for the autumn fertilizer is that it contains a larger amount of potassium. The potassium is able to lower the freezing point within the plant cells. It ensures that the cell walls remain stable and are less susceptible to frost. Potassium is therefore also called a natural antifreeze.

Phosphorus for root growth

The lawn is hardly able to absorb the remaining nutrients at the low temperatures. Nevertheless, to strengthen its health, autumn fertilizers contain a higher proportion of phosphorus. This stimulates the root growth of the lawn. Thus, they are better able to absorb the required nutrients before the long winter break. Thus strengthened, the lawn is better able to awaken in the spring and leave a good impression without bare patches.

Compared to the lawn fertilizer in the spring, the autumn fertilizer has less nitrogen and more potassium. This prepares the lawn for the winter and allows it to better withstand the cold temperatures.

When should you apply the autumn fertilizer?

The best time to apply fall fertilizer depends on the temperature in your area. This makes it difficult to generalize about when lawn fertilizer should be applied.

Lawn care in autumn ends when the temperature reaches 5°C. The lawn stops growing at this temperature. There the lawn stops growing and you can hardly do anything to further maintain the green area.

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It all depends on the temperature

Herbstdünger - Temperatur

The best way to protect the lawn is to apply the autumn fertilizer as late as possible. However, this should not fall below a temperature of 10 ° C. This means that to be on the safe side, you should apply the lawn fertilizer a little earlier rather than later in the fall. If the weather is mild, the application will be postponed accordingly. If, on the other hand, temperature drops are to be expected early on, then it is better to apply the autumn fertilizer earlier in order to support the lawn.

End of September to October

Generally, the end of September is a good time to apply the autumn fertilizer. There you can spread the granules on the lawn and it will still be optimally absorbed. If warmer temperatures are announced, you can wait a little longer and fertilize until October.

What do you have to pay attention to when spreading?

It is useful when spreading if a light rain has been announced. The moisture helps the fertilizer to get into the soil, so that it is better absorbed. On the other hand, avoid spreading on days when heavy precipitation is predicted. If waterlogging forms on the lawn, the fertilizer will be washed away rather than absorbed, so the hoped-for effect will not occur. It is also better not to use fertilizer in strong winds, as it will blow away. Even application becomes impossible and bare patches could form in the lawn, while over-fertilization can be observed elsewhere.

You will achieve better results with a spreader

If you want to take the best care of your lawn, spreading fertilizer by hand is extremely difficult. It is difficult to estimate the amount applied and the lawn fertilizer spreads unevenly.

More practical, however, is the use of a spreader. You fill the granules into it and simply drive over the lawn. Make sure that the lanes do not cross each other and that you apply the fertilizer only once in this area. Then there is no risk of burning the lawn and you will not only make your work easier, but you will get a wonderful result.

Can you use other fertilizers?

Don’t have any fall fertilizer at hand right now and don’t really want to spend money on such a special product? Then there are viable alternatives with which you can achieve similarly good results.

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Since the autumn fertilizer consists largely of potassium, you can use a fertilizer that also has a large part of this element. Potash magnesia are a good choice for this purpose. In addition to potassium, these also have magnesium. Magnesium is essential for photosynthesis. If your lawn appears yellow and there are indications that there is not enough magnesium in the soil, then fertilize in the fall with a potash magnesia fertilizer. This way you combine the effect of a magnesium fertilizer with potassium and strengthen the lawn extensively.

Spring fertilizer is only suitable for autumn to a limited extent. A slow-release fertilizer, on the other hand, is a viable choice in the fall. However, you should apply it earlier, because the nutrients are absorbed over a longer period of time. Thus, there would be a risk that if the temperature drops, the nutrients would still be in the soil without reaching the lawn.

Prepare the lawn for winter with fertilizer in autumn

So you notice that it makes sense to use a special fertilizer in the fall. The composition of nutrients differs from the fertilizer in the spring. The versions are specifically aimed at hardening the lawn against frost. In particular, the higher potassium content protects the lawn from frost and brings it better through the winter. Thus, the grasses grow optimally and enjoy better health in the spring.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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