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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    For years I have read that the best time to put fertilizer on a lawn is the fall. OK, I'll go along with that but doesn't the nitrogen in the fertilizer give a boost to trees or bushes and cause them to act like they want to start growing again? I know that doesn't sound right but I don't know. Or maybe I just put down fertilizer with little or no nitrogen?

    I happen to have my summer fertilizer that never went down because of the dry summer and it's something like 18-2-9 with the N being slow release. I'd like to put that down now but I have lots of trees that would get coverage and don't want to damage them. Maybe I wait until December when everything is for sure dormant? I don't know and am confused so if anyone understands this, maybe you could enligten me a little and offer some advice.

    Oh, we are central-south Ohio and the grass seems to stay green to a degree for most of the winter.
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  2. #2
    Elite Member s219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Best time to plant a cool season grass is in the fall -- that is the rule of thumb I have always heard. Fertilizer is only important in the fall when planting, in which case you want a starter. I don't see any point of fertilizing for other reasons in fall.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    For years I have read that the best time to put fertilizer on a lawn is the fall.
    Yes, you should fertilize in the fall ~after shoot growth ceases but while root growth continues. The nitrogen gets stored in the roots resulting in healthier grass and good greening in the spring; without excessive growth.

    4" soil temps:
    50-65F Optimum temperature for root growth.
    40F Shoot growth ceases.
    33F Root growth ceases.

    Fertilizer in the spring results in excessive shoot growth and subsequent thatch, especially on tall fescue.




    http://http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lawns/msg081518585642.html
    Excerpted from the report:
    The following is a partial list of soil temperatures (F) at the 4-inch depth that should be of the association with certain biological events.

    Cool Season Grasses
    90F Shoot growth ceases.
    77F Root growth ceases.
    70F Maximum temperature for root growth of any consequence.
    70F Time to plant grasses in late summer.
    60-75F Optimum temperature for shoot growth.
    50-65F Optimum temperature for root growth.
    40F Shoot growth ceases.
    33F Root growth ceases.
    20F Low temperature kill possible if temperature subsequently drops
    rapidly below 20F
    Last edited by nomad289; 11-07-2012 at 09:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member TCBoomer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    My own experience over a couple decades and I fertilize spring and fall...
    Sure sometimes I get the excessive growth with spring feeding, but staying on top of mowing eliminates any thatch build up from my experience. And I have close to 3 acres of tall fescue.

    The fall feeding has never caused any harm or growth boost to the 300 arborvitaes I have planted as a border. Excluding a severe summer drought or when it's covered with snow, my lawn stays dark green year round

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    "Table 1 gives recommendations for various grasses at various times of the year. Keep in mind that the March application may be omitted if green-up is satisfactory and if a late fall application was made the previous year. In this case, a single application of 1 lb per 1000 ft2 can be made. Use slow release fertilizers in the late fall application and on sandy soils throughout the year to reduce nitrogen leaching."

    A nicer lawn / more mowing (aka fun) can be obtained with multiple fertilizer applications. If you only fertilize once a year; fall is best...



    http://http://www.extension.uidaho.edu/idahogardens/lt/fl.htm#when

  6. #6
    Elite Member DT86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Borrowed from the Ohio State University Fact Sheet Horticulture and Crop Science Fertilizing Landscape Plants
    HYG-1002-96

    Timing Fertilizer Treatments In the landscape, fertilizing once a year is preferable to less frequent applications, especially with newly planted materials. Applications twice a year in light sandy soils or in seasons of excess rainfall are suggested.

    The best time to fertilize in the northern United States is autumn, generally after the first hard freeze in October and before the soil freezes in December.


    The next best time to fertilize landscape plants would be prior to growth in early spring, between February and early April again in the northern United States. If fertilizer was not applied during the autumn or spring season, applications may be made up to July 1. Fertilizer applied after this midsummer date is not recommended, as it could delay acclimation to winter weather conditions.
    Last edited by DT86; 11-07-2012 at 11:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    So...I got it that fertilizer applied after the fall freeze but before the soil gets really cold is fine. But does it cause any problems with evergreens growing on the lawn or on the edges? It matters because I planted 550 of them. Any advice helpful.
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  8. #8
    Platinum Member TCBoomer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Not a bit...
    First pic-planted in 96 second pic-planted in 07
    total of 300 Arbs
    -trees1-jpg-trees15-jpg

  9. #9
    Elite Member DT86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Try this one also. Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet Horticulture and Crop Sciences Fertilization of Lawns, HYG-4006

    Fertilizer Programs

    University research has shown that fall (August or September) and late fall (October, November or December) fertilization is ideal for home lawns. Fertilization during these times will benefit lawns more than any other practice. Most homeowners place too much emphasis on spring and summer fertilization. Some fertilizer is needed during the spring and summer, however, over-application of fertilizer at these times can cause disease and other problems and result in "summer lawn nightmares."


    Advantages of Fall/Late Fall Fertilization


    Disease and weed problems are usually less severe when fall and late fall fertilization are practiced. Heat and drought tolerance are usually better, thus enhancing summer lawn quality. Finally, the grass plant produces more root mass and a deeper root system, resulting in an overall healthier plant.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Anyone understand fall lawn fertilizer and effect on plants and trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by TCBoomer View Post
    Not a bit...
    First pic-planted in 96 second pic-planted in 07
    total of 300 Arbs
    -trees1-jpg-trees15-jpg
    That is an amazing effort, Congrats.
    ******

    May I be the kind of person my dogs think I am,

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