You read the phrase ‘lawn winterizer’ in newspaper advertisements and hear the chatter in the local hardware store. With a name like ‘winterizer,’ it must be important but what does it mean to prepare your lawn for winter?
If you are considering a late season fertilizer application to your lawn, many will call it a winterizer given the time of year, usually done in October or November in NH & VT. The goal of a late season fertilizer treatment is fairly simple due to slow leaf blade growth and aggressive root growth. A winterizer fertilizer is usually applied to encourage root growth and allow the lawn to store vital carbohydrate reserves for use in the spring, aiding in recovery and a faster green up. Since leaf blade growth is much slower in the late fall, any N-P-K generally does not stimulate a typical flush of top growth but the opposite below ground in terms of healthier roots.
The Scott’s company actually trademarked their “WinterGuard” fertilizer for just such a treatment. Many folks like to use a balanced fertilizer (24-5-11 or 20-1-5) application as a winterizer, but some lean toward a higher potassium (0-0-62) treatment designed to improve cold hardiness and drought tolerance the following year. I have personally seen the results of a winterizer treatment and they are most impressive when done at the correct time.
If you don’t do much for your lawn during the year, now would be the time to seriously consider a winterizer treatment before you slice your Thanksgiving turkey! Autumn is here and so is the time to help your lawn.