Late Fall Fertilization Basics
With fall play winding down and temperatures dropping, now’s the time for late fall fertilizer applications on your cool-season sports fields. This blog post will explain why, when, and how to make these applications.
There are numerous benefits of fertilizing turfgrass at the end of fall. The application encourages root growth, supporting nutrient and carbohydrate storage for energy reserves. Late fall fertilization also supports an earlier spring green-up without excessive shoot growth.
Sports fields fertilized at the end of fall tend to be more resilient to spring diseases, injury, and summer stress. In addition to the long-term benefits of enhanced turf density and vigor in the spring, late fall fertilization also extends turfgrass color into winter.
There is a specific window for late fall fertilizer applications. Wait until after your last mowing of the year and before the ground freezes. Ideally, the field is still green but no longer growing at the time of application.
The strategy for late fall feeding is to use a high-nitrogen, quick-release fertilizer. Specific programs vary, but recommendations are generally between 0.5 and 1.25 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet. Your ATS rep can give you more specific recommendations for products, rates, and timing that will work best on your field.