The term winterizer itself has been used on Northern grasses for over 30 years. A winterizer is a late fall fertilizing product that is designed to help the lawns to store more food to survive in winter. It also encourages a rapid and thick growth and re-rooting in the spring. It is not meant to encourage any growth of the grass in the fall weather months.
What is a Winterizer composed of?
Your lawn will need nutrient changes to prepare for the cold weather. They are high in potassium, which is important for plant health. It works to strengthen and harden plants making them more tolerant of stress or cold. They also help plants to absorb nutrients, making them more balanced.
The other two nutrients in this type of fertilizer is nitrogen, which helps to promote stem and leaf growth. They also include phosphorus, which helps to enhance root growth.
NOTE: The ideal winterizer will be mostly Hydrogen. The label will say that most of the nitrogen is a quick-releasing water soluble nitrogen as opposed to a water insoluble variation.
What is the best time to apply a winterizer?
The best time to apply a winterizer is after the grass stops growing in your area. Always apply it when the grass is still green on top. In many parts of the Northern region, this will be sometimes from mid to late November till early December.
This is a great time to apply it as it will have enough time over winter to break down entirely and become available to the grass and the soil underneath. Some regions restrict how late you can fertilize in the fall season in order to reduce the amount of unabsorbed nitrogen from going into the groundwater. Find out what your local municipalities requires for fertilizing.
The rule of thumb is generally to apply a winterizer about a week after the last mowing occurs.
How much do I use?
If you are buying a store-bought version, apply around 1/3 to ½ the normal amount to avoid this unabsorbed nitrogen from going into groundwater. For example if the bag says it will cover 5,000 square feet, you will get 10,000 to 15,000 sf of coverage as a late fall winterizer.
Do I have to do this in warm weather regions?
Do not use this type of winterizer with warm-season grasses such as Zoysia, Centipede, St. Augustine or Bermuda. This is because this type of grass will go dormant in the winter season while the fertilizer application will cause new growth. While these grasses do need potassium, they should be applied during the spring or summer unlike cool weather grasses in the fall.
Do I Need to Winterize My Lawn?
First conduct a soil test to determine if adequate levels of potassium are found in your soil. If you’ve been feeding your lawn all season, you shouldn’t have to worry as much about winterizing as you may have enough potassium left over. For cool-season grass, fall feeding is beneficial. Make sure that you choose a winterizer that has both potassium and nitrogen in it.
Important Things to Know
Remember that winterizers don’t show immediate results. This means that during the winter you won’t see anything until the spring when the grass begins to regrow. The growth will be more even and occur quicker than for lawns that were not treated before cold weather. This is because when air temperatures are warm again in the spring, the stored nutrients are immediately available. While the issue is controversial and many experts believe it isn’t needed, it has been proven that those who winterize their lawn sees the best and fastest growth come spring.
Also always follow the manufacturer’s instructions fully when apply this fertilizer to your yard. Using too much or too little will affect the overall result in spring.