Winter Lawn Fertilization

Many Kentucky lawns can go for a number of years without applications of phosphorous and potash, or even lime. But it is not unusual for a homeowner to apply these amendments annually. A good practice is to find out what is actually needed for good lawn quality in the upcoming months. By testing the soil before deciding to add any of these, gardeners’ dollars can be saved. It is important to keep in mind that application of nutrients when none are needed is hard on the wallet as well as the environment, in the form of both the products applied and the fuel required to spread amendments.

If a soil test indicates a need of soil amendments, November into the month of December is a recommended time to fertilize a fescue lawn. Nitrogen is the nutrient recommended yearly, because so much is taken up in the production of the leaf blades making up the turf lawn. Nitrogen aides in the retaining the green color in most winters and also allows for quicker bright-green color in early spring. November-December timing of fertilizer application allows the turf to grow better root systems, also, to protect the lawn in the harsh winter months. On most Kentucky lawns, evenly apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet of turf.

Submitted by Kathy Wimberely, Agent for Horticulture, McCracken Co. Cooperative Extension