A Year-Round Solution: How Slow-Release Fertilizers Support Seasonal Lawn Care

Fall is around the corner, which means you need to start making your fall lawn care to-do list now. One thing to consider is the health of your grass - will it be strong enough to make it through a full winter season and bounce back in the spring? One way to ensure your lawn’s health throughout the upcoming colder seasons is to consider slow release fertilizer


What are slow release fertilizers? 

Simply put, slow-release fertilizers are fertilizers that release a small, steady amount of nutrients over the course of time. They achieve this in one of two ways: 

  • They might be natural and organic. In this scenario, slow release fertilizers add nutrients to the soil as they slowly but naturally break down and decompose. 
  • More commonly, slow release fertilizers are a type of fertilizer that’s coated in plastic resin or sulfur-based polymers that slowly break down when exposed to heat, light, soil, and water. 


The benefits of slow release fertilizers for your lawn 

There are quite a few perks to using slow release fertilizers - not only can they help create a vibrant, healthy lawn with longevity, but they also: 

  • Tend to be cheaper. Slow release fertilizer costs less per pound, and you also don’t have to apply it to your lawn as frequently because it takes longer to be absorbed fully. 
  • Require less work. On that note, applying them less often means less lawn care on your to-do list. Quick release fertilizers, on the other hand, leach out of the soil faster, especially if exposed to rain or regular watering. 
  • Reduce the risk of fertilizer burn. Quick release fertilizers can be improperly applied - it’s easy to apply too much fertilizer or dilute it incorrectly, which can actually burn your lawn and the plants in it. 


Fall lawn fertilizing: Should you use a slow release formula? 

If you’re planning your fall lawn fertilizing, you'll need to decide if you’ll use a quick release or slow release formula. However, considering the facts, a slow release fall fertilizer will work more to your benefit. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Fall is the most important season for fertilizing. Your grass is one of the last plants in your yard to go dormant in the winter, and it’s also one of the first to break dormancy in the spring. This means that most of the grass’ root development occurs during the cooler temps in late fall, winter, and early spring
  • Nitrogen is the key ingredient when it comes to fall fertilizer, alongside phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen helps the plant remain green, strengthens the root system, encourages cell development, and keeps your grass healthy even while in a dormant state. 
  • However, nitrogen tends to move through soil quickly and also dissolves fast, so it won’t be too much help to your lawn in the winter unless you choose a slow release fertilizer formula. 
  • Slow release fertilizers coat nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to ensure that the fertilizer releases the nutrient in a controlled and steady manner, making it last through the cold weather. 
  • Additionally, the slow release of nitrogen in your fall fertilizer helps the plant better absorb what it needs. 


Related: 5 Pet Safety Tips After Fertilizing Your Lawn


When should you apply your slow release fall fertilizer? 

The best time to apply fall fertilizer is in September. The weather is typically still on the warm side, but the long, hot summer is just about over. Chances are your lawn could use a boost of nitrogen and other nutrients to encourage health and root development so it can make it through winter. Keep in mind that you should never wait until the ground freezes (you’re too late at that point), and you shouldn’t apply fall fertilizer over snow or ice. 


Let Natural Green Systems help you plan your fall lawn care 

Have questions about slow release fertilizer or need help planning your fall lawn care? Contact Natural Green Systems today and get a quote.  

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