The beginning of October is the perfect time to fertilize the lawn

It’s time to fertilize the lawn. Fall fertilization can make the lawn green, but it doesn’t stimulate much grass growth.

The response of grass growth to fertilizer changes in autumn, and the main beneficial effect is internal. The nutrients are organized in the plant in such a way that they offer increased resistance to cold and contribute to a quick greening in spring.

If you’re one of those gardeners who get impatient for the lawn to turn green in the spring and are trying to get an early green cover through fertilizing in February or March, you’ll be more successful investing in fall fertilizing instead.

Find a lawn fertilizer with a nitrogen to phosphate to potash ratio of 3-1-2. 18-6-12 fertilizer is one such product. It should also be a quick-release source of nutrients, as the grass only has a limited amount of time to use before the weather can get cold and affect absorption.

Such fertilizers are labeled as a “winter fertilizer” formula. Apply them to get the same nitrogen addition as the spring (May 1st), 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. You get 1 pound of nitrogen in 5 pounds of fertilizer because the material contains 18 percent nitrogen.

It is easiest to follow the recommended application rate on the fertilizer bag for your particular fertilizer applicator.

This week in the garden

It’s a good time to start your fall vegetable garden. Consider broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cabbage, and kale transplants. Also beets, lettuce, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, carrots and English peas.

In the flower garden, you can plant snapdragons, broth, marigold, dianthus, alyssum, petunias, ornamental cabbage and kale. Wait until the next month to plant pansies, peas, cyclamen and primroses.

Spread wildflower seeds in areas in full sun where the seeds can reach bare ground. In addition to seed mixes, bluebonnet transplants are available from nurseries.

Migratory hummingbirds will visit sugar water pumps this fall. Use 5 parts water to 1 part sugar and hang the feeder under the eaves in a spot where you can view your activity. Watch out for the migratory monarch butterflies in the flower garden. Both hummingbirds and monarchs seek nectar from zinnias, portraits, and milkweed flowers.

See more

If you have a small lawn, don’t use the entire bag. This is fine as it can be used to fertilize the plants in your fall vegetable and cold weather flower gardens. Mix 10 cups of fertilizer in the gardens before planting and dress the plants with about half a cup of fertilizer every three weeks during the winter growing season.

It is especially important that autumn tomatoes, broccoli, onions, and vegetables are well fertilized for the entire season.

Do not use winter fertilizer for vegetables and flowers from containers. Use Osmocote or another product specifically designed for containers for initial fertilization when planting, then consider adding a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracid, HastaGro, Peters, or Schulz in your watering can every two or three weeks. For annual plants in containers, it is not inappropriate to apply a diluted form of the soluble fertilizer with each watering.

Fruit trees need special consideration this fall. It is ideal if the deciduous fruit trees can keep their leaves until November 1st. That means you have to water them by this point.

On or around November 1st, we typically use a copper hydroxide product like Kocide for the preventive treatment of bacterial diseases in peaches, apples, and plums. The copper treatment contributes to leaf drop.

If you’re lucky, your backyard citrus trees will be laden with fruit. It is not recommended to fertilize them with nitrogen at this time of the year. It promotes reddening of growth before cold weather threatens it and the fruits are harvested.

However, you can use an iron chelated product like Carl Pool or Fertilome Chelated Iron if the foliage is yellow due to iron deficiency. Follow the directions on the label.

Calvin Finch is a retired horticulturalist from Texas A&M. [email protected]

Comments are closed.