Fall Fertilization: The Landscaper’s Secret Weapon

Our lawns play a significant role in our landscapes. Few elements can make or break a space more powerfully than this one. It’s not surprising, then, that property owners often consider turf care as one of the most important aspects of landscape maintenance.

With Fall in full swing, now is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn in preparation for winter and spring. Laying the groundwork now will not only ensure that your turf survives the harsh winter weather, but also that it thrives once the temperatures warm up again in the spring. Fall fertilization is the single most important step you can take to ensure the long-term health of your lawn.

In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about one of the most important aspects of lawn care: fertilization.

What Is Fertilizer?

Put simply, fertilizer is food for your plants. It provides them with the essential nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy and helps to correct any nutritional imbalances within the soil. Fertilizer is particularly important for its macronutrient content, which provides plants with a number of essential benefits.

Macro-nutrients are the substances plants need for healthy growth and seed production. They are essential at every stage of a plant’s life, from seeding to photosynthesis.

There are six plant macronutrients in total:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

The three primary plant macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Each element provides a different benefit:


Nitrogen is a crucial component of plant growth and leaf development. When we fertilize, the primary goal is often to raise nitrogen levels in the soil. Nitrogen not only helps plants to metabolize energy and protein but also plays a major role in chlorophyll formation and photosynthesis. When a plant has a nitrogen deficiency its leaves often lose their color and start to wither, and growth will be stunted.


Phosphorus is essential to developing a healthy root system and plays a key role in various stages of the flowering process. It helps plants build resilience against adverse weather conditions, and aids in effective photosynthesis. Plants that don’t get enough phosphorus often struggle to flower at the correct time, and may have brown or crinkled leaves.


In addition to stabilizing the internal water level of plants, potassium strengthens cell membranes and keeps other essential nutrients in balance. It plays an important part in the synthesis of certain enzymes, which makes the plant more resilient to very dry or very cold weather conditions. Without the correct levels of potassium, plants are at a higher risk of fungus infections, and dark spots may appear on the leaves.

In addition to requiring the correct quantity of each nutrient, plants also need them in the right proportions. Too much of one substance in comparison to the others can be equally detrimental to a plant’s health as a nutrient deficiency.

Why Fertilize In The Fall?

When should you fertilize your lawn? There are two key times. The first is in the spring when your grass is growing rapidly. The second is in the Fall, just before your turf goes into hibernation mode for winter. Applying fertilizer in both seasons is important for different reasons.

When turf is growing in the spring, fertilizer will give plants extra energy to produce thicker, greener blades of grass. This helps your lawn to look beautiful and healthy, which is great as we head into summer and start to spend more time enjoying our outdoor space. However, it’s worth noting that because your turf is so busy growing upwards at this time of year, any fertilizer you apply is used up quickly, providing only short-term benefits. Timing is crucial at this point of the season, as fertilizing too early can stimulate lush, top growth at the expense of root growth.

Because of this, Fall is the best and most effective time to apply fertilizer to your lawn. ​​Cool-season grasses recover from summer stress during this time, and your turf starts to create carbohydrate stores in its stems and roots.

Your grass will use these reserves to protect them against winter damage and disease, as well as a top-notch source of energy that can be used to develop a sturdy root system. What’s more, late-fall fertilization will also provide a better winter appearance and a thicker, greener lawn come spring.

Expert Results Require Expert Care

For exceptional results from your fertilization program, you need to make sure that every detail is just right. The timing of your application is crucial since this will determine how effective the fertilizer will be. Small changes in the environment can shift the ideal application date, so it’s important to remember that there’s no one size fits all approach.

At emi landscape, we are experts at knowing when to apply Fall fertilizer based on environmental conditions and can tailor the treatment to suit your specific needs. Our professional-grade equipment is powerful and easy to maneuver, speeding up application times and ensuring even coverage.

Our lawn care package includes:

  • Two treatments of fall fertilizer
  • Fall broadleaf treatment
  • Spring fertilization
  • Spring weed-killer application

To discover what we could do for your property, contact us for a free personalized quote.