Fall fertility is one step in putting the field to bed properly. Hopefully, a soil test is part of your routine. You want to ensure that your soil’s P, K, and pH levels are sufficient. Ensuring that your soil and plant have adequate potash (K) before it enters dormancy is particularly beneficial. Potassium has been shown to increase cell wall strength, which helps protect the plant & lessens the chance of winterkill.

Heading into early fall, avoid applying high rates of any quick-release nitrogen sources, such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, and similar quick-release fertilizers. Fall fertilization with quick-release forms of nitrogen can increase chances for spring dead spot severity on bermudagrass. Consider applying nitrogen and potash (potassium) in a 1:1 ratio. Discontinue any fertilizer application before the first frost.

Another option for sports turf managers is to use foliar applications to promote fall color and winter survival. Light rates of readily available nutrients can help the plant make it through the fall and into dormancy healthy. Consider nutrients like manganese to help with patch disease resistance.

The plan you put in place this fall can affect how the plant responds next spring, so start planning now.