A chill is in the air and the mountains are alive with color letting you know fall has arrived and winter is on its way. As kids go back to school and the holiday season approaches, your lawn is probably not the first thing on your mind but it's time to prepare your turf for the coming cold.
IFA Fall & Winter Fertilizer is the fourth and final step in the IFA 4Plus Fertilizer & Lawn Care Program, providing your lawn the vital last feeding before taking on an intermountain winter. Each step in the four-part fertilizer program is specially designed to provide your lawn with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and perform in the region’s semiarid climate and this final step is no exception.
For a healthier lawn this fall and an earlier green next spring, it’s time to get started on the most important lawn feeding of the year by applying Fall & Winter Fertilizer before the days grow too short.
An Essential Final Feeding for Your Lawn
The intermountain west is famed for its often cold and snowy winters. While the pristine powder and much-needed moisture can be a welcome sight, it poses a significant level of stress to new and established lawns. Luckily, IFA’s Fall & Winter Fertilizer provides a much-needed boost to help your turf power through the long cold months.
The Fourth Feeding
Your lawn will be faced with limited sunlight as the days grow shorter and the eventual snow storms move in. During this time your grass grows dormant and relies on energy reserves built up during this critical fall time.
Providing your lawn with a final feeding before the cold months ensures your turf has the necessary nutrients to remain healthy and then bounce back better and earlier come spring.
Winter Prep With Lots of Potassium
Besides a solid store of nutrients, your lawn needs a strong and healthy foundation to survive extreme winter weather.
This specialized fall feeding provides your lawn with a small dose of phosphorus and its largest boost of potassium to strengthen grass roots and promote plant resistance as the temperatures turn.
Want to know more about what the three numbers on your fertilizer bag mean?
Even Nutrient Distribution
IFA’s exclusive Omnicote Technology offers your soon-to-be wintering lawn several competitive advantages when taking on the cold weather.
Each pellet of Fall and Winter fertilizer is coated using the IFA Omnicote process to provide an even distribution of important micronutrients as well as slow, medium and fast release iron that helps keep your lawn green longer in the fall and earlier the following spring.
When To Apply The Fourth Step
IFA Fall & Winter Fertilizer is designed to provide your lawn with easy and essential access to the nutrients it needs to be sustained during the colder months. Step four fertilizer should be used before the onset of heavy winter and can be applied anytime from September to November.
Before applying, be sure that at least 4–6 weeks have elapsed since your last application of Spring & Summer Lawn Food.
How to Apply Fall & Winter Fertilizer
Get Ready to Fertilize
If you don’t remember how much fertilizer you needed for steps 1 and 3 or haven’t calculated how much fertilizer your yard needs, start by determining the square footage of your yard then divide that number by 200 to get the number of pounds of Step 4 fertilizer you will need to cover your lawn.
yard width (ft) × yard length (ft) ÷ 200 = lb of Step 4
Keep in mind a 25 lb bag will feed up to 5,000 square feet while the 50 lb bag feeds up to 10,000 square feet. It’s a good idea to add 10% to make sure you don’t run out during the application.
As with previous fertilizer applications, you should use a broadcast spreader for a more even fertilizer application. You can use the same spreader to apply different types of fertilizer, just remember that the recommended fertilizer applications rates may differ between products.
If you don’t already have a broadcast spreader, your local IFA Country Store has several spreader options for you to choose from when you pick up your step-four lawn fertilizer.
3 Steps to Correctly Apply Fertilizer
Once you have the appropriate tools and lawn food you may begin applying.
1. Set your spreader to the proper rate
Adjust your broadcast spreader to the correct setting to ensure the correct rate of application. There are many spreaders on the market, so be sure to adhere to specific guidelines for your specific make and model.
Recommended Spreader Settings
- Earthway Drop: 17
- Earthway Broadcast: 17
- IFA Broadcast: 17
- Spyker Broadcast: 4.5
- Chapin All Season Broadcast: 20
- Scotts Elite Spreader: 7
- Scotts Classic Drop: 8
- Scotts EdgeGuard DLX: 8
- Scotts Edgeguard Mini: 8
- Scotts Speedy Green 1000/3000: 7
- Scotts Speedy Green 2000: 8
2. Apply uniformly to dry (non-wet) lawn
Be sure to overlap your walking paths to achieve uniform application and to avoid lines. As a general rule, open your spreader to one-fourth inch and walk normally. Keep in mind that if you walk faster you will want to open the spreader a little more to compensate for your stride.
3. Water the lawn thoroughly soon after application
To best ensure that the fertilizer nutrients are absorbed by your grass you will want to thoroughly water the lawn shortly after applying. This will help the nutrients travel through the soil to be absorbed by the roots.
Add a Final Boost of Bountiful Earth Humate
When you apply IFA Fall & Winter Lawn Food it is a great time to provide your lawn with a second round of Bountiful Earth Humate.
As the recommended +plus product for both step one and step four of the IFA 4Plus Lawn Care Program, this humate soil treatment will elevate the overall appearance and productivity of your yard.
When you add Bountiful Earth Humate along with step-one and step-four IFA fertilizer, you are improving your soil’s water filtration and holding capacity while promoting easier, more effective nutrient movement to plant roots to help your grass access and utilize the nutrients it needs to both take on and recover from overwintering.
Adding Bountiful Earth Humate to your spring and fall lawn care routine can do more than encourage healthy lawn growth and appearance. The soil conditioner also benefits your trees, shrubs, flowers or gardens. By enhancing your soil’s health you provide all your plants the help they need to become healthier and more productive.
Get Ahead: Additional Fall Lawn Care Considerations
Lawn activity is usually highest during the summer months. While it is great to get out and enjoy your yard it can present the grass with some potential problems as the soil becomes compacted. When soil compacts, your grass loses access to air, nutrients and water due to a lack of channels that facilitate transport through the soil ultimately impacting your yard’s health.
The best way to combat the compaction of your lawn’s soil is by aerating. Aeration involves removing small segments of the lawn l to allow room for the soil to settle and open up. It is recommended to aerate in the fall or early spring to ensure better water filtration and nutrient availability throughout the year.
If you have noticed sparse or bare spots in your lawn and are looking to correct these you might consider overseeding. When overseeding you are simply introducing new grass seed to the lawn or bare spot and allowing this new grass to either thicken or repair your yard.
Fall is a great time to overseed with cool-season grasses as long as you allow the seeds time to germinate before the first heavy frost in your area. Planting new seed in the fall often promises warm soil and cooler air that is perfect for seed germination. It also ensures that the new seed has little in the way of competition as compared to spring when pre-emergent weeds are also making their appearance.
Let Us Help
The health and beauty of your lawn is just as important to us as it is to you. Just grab any IFA team member the next time you’re walking down the fertilizer aisle at your local IFA Country Store and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.
See Step #1 in IFA's Lawn Fertilizer Program
Information for this article was provided by Ken Holt, Lawn & Garden Category Manager, IFA Country Store.