Cool Season Lawn Fertilizing


    Star-Tip 1034

Gardening Tips for successful and beautiful Landscapes and Gardens


Use special cool season lawn fertilizers to keep your lawn green through the winter months. Application of the right fertilizer at the right time will also toughen your turf!


The primary difference in cool and warm season fertilizers is the nitrogen formula. Cool season fertilizers like Dr Q’s Winter Gem (21-3-7) or Best's Nitra King® (21-4-4) have a combination of quick release nitrogen for rapid greening in cold conditions, and slow release nitrogen that is stored by turf and used when the spring season arrives.


Only Winter Gem (and other Dr Q’s fertilizers) include signaling molecules. These “glycoprotein elicitors” help reduce soil compaction by opening up spaces for air and water. Porous soil makes fertilizers more efficient, and increase plant health by allowing for oxygen penetration.


If you're wondering why this dual formula of slow and fast release nitrogen is needed, it's a matter of soil activity. Soil microbes are very active in warm soil. They alter slow release nitrogen and make it readily available for use by turf. This results in rapid, rich green growth. When the soil is cold, microbes are inactive and slow release nitrogen is not available for use by the grass. Quick release nitrogen, or nitrate nitrogen, is specially formulated to be available for turf use without soil microbe activity. It quickly greens up grass without excessive growth. After all, who wants to mow grass in the winter anyway?? If this seems like too big a mouthful, just remember -- quick release nitrogen in the cool season, slow release in the warm season (quick release will burn in hot weather). A combination of the two, like the fertilizers mentioned here, will give you green grass in cold weather and provide nutrient storage for spring growth at the same time. One last thing to remember: In certain exposures like East and Northeast, the number of hours of sunlight decrease dramatically in late fall and winter. Without ample sunlight, your grass will go dormant in winter, regardless of the kind of fertilizer you use. In those areas, wait until spring when the "sun comes back" to fertilize!










© 2006, Star Nursery, Inc.                                                    Copy Provided courtesy of Star Nursery