Fertilizing in the fall is considered a part of regular lawn care and it is needed for maintaining a healthy lawn. There are many things to consider when you are fertilizing in the fall so it is important to follow some basic rules. If you are going to be fertilizing in the fall then you might want to try some of these tips to make your job easier and to keep your lawn healthy.
1. The first thing you want to do is remember that your fall lawn fertilization should occur before the first frost. The first frost usually will happen sometime in October or November so you need to have fertilized your lawn by that time. This is also around the time the fall seeding occurs so you want to make sure the fertilization is done by this time for a healthier lawn.
2. You need to also know which fertilizer is best for your lawn because there are many different kinds on the market. Some fertilizers contain toxic chemicals that could harm children or pets if ingested so always know what type of fertilizer is needed. There are also organic fertilizers that have a corn base which are not toxic to people, pets or the environment. Organic fertilizers are the best choice but they are more expensive so your budget is also something to keep in mind.
3. It is also important you read labels when you go to fertilize your lawn in the fall and read all listed ingredients. You should avoid the fertilizers that contain a chemical ingredient called phosphorus. This chemical is toxic to the environment and is dangerous for people to use if a lake is nearby. Phosphorus is also banned in a lot of cities because of the toxicity of the chemical so be aware of what is in your fertilizer. When you look at the fertilizer label you will see three numbers and the middle number is the phosphorus level. The first number is nitrogen and the last number is potassium, which are not really harmful ingredients. If the middle number is anything but zero then you know that fertilizer contains phosphorus and should be avoided.
4. Aerating your lawn is also important before you fertilize your lawn in the fall and should be done twice a year. Aerating your lawn will enable the fertilizer to reach deeper into the soil and can really help the fertilizer work properly.
5. Measure out the approximate square footage of your lawn so you know how much fertilizer you need to buy. Usually a bag of fertilizer will cover one-thousand square feet so then you can do the math to calculate the amount of fertilizer you will use. In this economy you do not want to buy a lot of something if you do not need to so knowing how much fertilizer is needed will save you money.
6. When you fertilize your yard you also want to clean up any debris that might be in your yard including weeds or leaves. Your lawn needs to be free of this debris so that the fertilizer can work properly and so that the fertilizer will not make the weeds grow faster. Remove all objects from your lawn as well such as chairs and tables so that the fertilizer will be able to get all over your lawn rather than just in the empty spots.
7. When you are using fertilizer in the fall you also want to make sure you water the lawn well afterward. A lot of fertilizers will burn your grass if it sits on top of the lawn without being watered into the soil. Make sure you are using enough water to make the fertilizer soak into the lawn and soil which is where it needs to be to work correctly. Watering is a vital step in fertilizing your lawn and should not be missed even if it is supposed to rain.
8. When you go to use fertilizer it is also important that you wear gloves if you are working with the fertilizer itself. Fertilizer usually contains a number of different chemicals and some of them could be dangerous if accidentally ingested and they might also cause skin irritation. When you are using the fertilizer in the fall you should be wearing gloves and you also might want to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants as well. You should always follow standard safety precautions when working with outdoor chemicals such as fertilizer.
9. If you are fertilizing in the fall it is also a good idea to actually fertilize twice during the fall season. The first fertilization should begin before the first frost of the year and the second should occur a couple months later. Some fertilizers might call for applying the product twice in the fall over a certain amount of time, so it is important to know which type of fertilizer you have. If you get an early frost then you might want to fertilize the first time in August or September and then do the second application around November. When the two applications should be applied will depend upon where you live and when the first frost usually occurs.
10. As with all fall fertilizing, you want to make sure that you are doing a soil test on your lawn so you know what is depleted in your soil. A soil test can be bought for a couple dollars at your local home improvement store or flower store and it will help you determine which fertilizer would work best for your needs. Every home is different which means that the nutrients in the soil will also be different. There are special fertilizer products on the market designed for a soil with nutrient needs which would benefit your lawn more than regular fertilizer. It is a good idea to do the soil test just so you know where your soil stands as far as nutrients and health are concerned.