Fall Fertilizing Tips From The Pros

Are you looking for for fall fertilizing tips, or wondering if you should even bother this late in the year?  The fall is a crucial time to feed your lawn because it gives the roots the strength needed to survive and grow strong in the spring. Here are some top tips for fall fertilizing your plants and turf.

The Best Fall Fertilizing Tips

The most important thing to look at on a bag of fertilizer are the three sets of numbers that make up the product. The first number represents nitrogen which promotes the growth above the ground, the foliage. The next number is for the level of Phosphorus, which promotes the growth the below the ground, being root growth. The last number represents potassium, which encourages cell function and the ability to absorb trace elements. I’m sure your still wondering when to fertilize and what kind to use? Let’s get started.

Fall Fertilizing

Lawn Fertilizing

At the beginning of fall or early September your lawn is recovering from all the stress of summer and there is a good chance it’s in or coming out of dormancy because of the drought season. That being said you want to give it a blast of nitrogen with something like a 20-8-8 to get it going and growing. First of all it’s important to follow the instructions from the manufacturer to apply at the correct rate. Furthermore some of these fertilizers have weed and insect control in them but at this time of year I think it is pointless, unless there are obvious signs of them.

The next important step is to apply a fertilizer application in October or November as this is crucial. Therefore the formula for this application should be something close to 13-25-12. Most of all this blast of phosphorus will encourage root growth through November and into December. When helping the lawn’s roots to grow before winter sets in, you are insuring that you will have a green lawn in the spring because it will be more resistant to drought and disease.

Shrub Fertilizing

It’s time to think about fertilizing your shrubs and trees. Some might disagree about fertilizing these in fall. It;s important to remember that plants growing in mulch beds use up all the nitrogen during the decomposition of the mulch, resulting in another crucial time to apply. Applying 1-3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet and ranking it into the soil or mulch is what I usually recommend. Fertilizing trees and shrubs can be done is Sept or the beginning of October to encourage root growth. This is also a good time to apply super phosphate fertilizer to flowering shrubs that are producing flowers correctly, that being said they have to have the correct sun requirements to produce flowers.

Fall fertilizing tips

Bulb Fertilizing

Finally, if bulbs are your thing than your probably pretty busy in the fall. Planting bulbs it is the perfect time to also apply super phosphate because you’ll want to encourage root growth and ensure good flowering in the spring. Some might prefer bone meal but one thing to keep in mind is that many rodents are attracted to bone meal. You may find your bone meal and bulbs provided the perfect meal for these critters.


In conclusion, the common denominator in all fall fertilizer applications is the importance of root growth. Strong healthy root growth equals strong healthy plants and flowers. As you can see there are a variety of different fertilizers and many more than we covered here. To see some more products that will give your garden a boost check this out.Even though you can’t see what’s going on under the ground, it is just as important as above ground.  So get going and get fertilizing!

To learn about flowers that don’t grow from bulbs check out this article on these amazing and easy to grow specimens know as poppies. Find out what makes them an ideal plant for a busy gardener.


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