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Fertilize lawn in autumn: when and how to carry out the last application of fertilizer + recipes for homemade fertilizers!

It’s easy to think you’re done with lawn care for the year just because the calendar has turned to fall. Surely you don’t need to fertilize at this time of year, right? Wrong thinking. The last fertilizer application of the year is the most important. Let us explain how and when to fertilize your lawn in the fall and why it’s so important!

Why fertilize the lawn in autumn

Like all of us, your lawn has grown tired at the end of summer. Your lawn has struggled through a long, hot and relentless summer. It has endured excessive heat, humidity and drought. It has been trampled by children, dogs and overuse. Weeds, insects and disease have taken their toll. Your lawn is hungry and tired. It wants a good meal before it goes into a long, well-deserved winter’s nap.

Why should you fertilize your lawn in the fall and at what time do you do it?

This is your lawn’s last chance to get compacted and restore turf density to early summer levels. Fall fertilizer helps regenerate roots lost to hot, humid or dry summer weather. Fall fertilization strengthens your lawn so it can better withstand the harsh winter conditions ahead.

When should the last fertilizer application be made

When to make the last fertilizer application, you will learn from our article

You’re probably wondering when you should fertilize your lawn in the fall. The best time to give your last fertilizer application is between August 15 and October 1. Ideally, the last lawn fertilizer application should be made six to eight weeks before the average first frost in your area. So if that date is Oct. 10, you should aim for Aug. 15 to Sept. 1 as your last fertilizer application. Scheduling your fall fertilization around the average frost date will give your lawn plenty of time to absorb all the nutrients before going dormant. It is neither necessary nor beneficial to carry nutrients over the winter.

If you fertilize too late, you will force your lawn to stay up longer than it actually wants to sleep. Late fertilization of cold-season grasses keeps them actively growing when cold, snow and ice usher in winter, which can lead to winter damage and disease next spring.

What fertilizer to use in the fall

Here are some simple recipes for lawn fertilizer that you can make yourself

Although phosphorus is critical for root growth during seeding and turf establishment and in the fall to support new root formation, many soils naturally contain phosphorus, so it is not necessary to apply more phosphorus. If you live in a phosphorus-free community, use fertilizers with readily available nitrogen sources and a fertilizer high in potassium. This will keep your lawn well supplied until winter.

Fertilize lawn in the fall - When and how to carry out the last application of fertilizer


Liquid or soluble fertilizers with similar NPK ratios can also be used. However, keep in mind that the recommended application rates of sprayable lawn fertilizers provide fewer nutrients per application compared to granular products. However, applying a fall fertilizer with a spray bottle is still an acceptable method. You may need to make two applications a few weeks apart to get the full benefit.

*Fertilizers are labeled with an NPK number. N stands for nitrogen, which promotes green, leafy growth; P for phosphorus, which contributes to root development; and K for potassium, which provides vigorous growth.

How to carry out fertilization

How should you fertilize your green space in the fall

Follow the same procedure for fall fertilization as for any other fertilization. Follow the application recommendation for the product you have chosen. It is always a good idea to divide the application in half and then make two passes in different directions. Example: If your fall fertilizer is supposed to cover 5,000 square feet according to the package insert, set your spreader to cover 10,000 square feet (5,000 x 2). This will close the spreader’s flap, allowing only half the recommended amount to flow through. Then make two consecutive passes with this spreader setting. In this way, the entire recommended amount is applied in two passes instead of one. This will ensure even coverage and reduce the risk of missing parts of your lawn.

After you have applied your fertilizer, be sure to wash your spreader thoroughly. This will remove any remaining fertilizer residue that can corrode the spreader’s components over the winter.

Homemade fertilizers for lawns

Fertilize lawn in autumn - you can use homemade fertilizers for lawn easily


There are some key ingredients that you probably already have around the house that can help boost the health of your lawn. These include:

  • Beer: Beer contains many nutrients that feed both the lawn and the microbes and bacteria that promote its health.
  • Soda: Soda (NOT diet soda) contains lots of sugar that feeds the same microbes with carbohydrates.
  • Soap or shampoo: This makes the soil more receptive and receptive to your homemade lawn fertilizer. Just be careful not to use antibacterial soap, as it could kill all the good microbes you’ve been feeding.
  • Ammonia: Ammonia is made up of hydrogen and nitrogen, and plants thrive on nitrogen.
  • Mouthwash: Surprisingly, mouthwash is a great pesticide that won’t harm your plants.

Make your own lawn fertilizer: Recipes

Soap or shampoo - This makes the soil more receptive to your homemade lawn fertilizer

Here are some easy recipes for lawn fertilizer that you can probably make yourself without having to go to a store. Just mix the ingredients and apply them to specific areas of the green space to fertilize your lawn in the fall:):

Recipe 1

1 can of non-diet soda
1 can of beer
120 ml of dishwashing liquid (NOT antibacterial)
120 ml ammonia
120 ml mouthwash
38 L water

Soda (NOT diet soda) contains a lot of sugar, which feeds the microbes in the lawn with carbohydrates

Recipe 2

1 can of beer
1 can of non-diet soda
1 cup baby shampoo
38 L water

Recipe 3

16 tbsp (240 ml) Epsom salt
230 g. Ammonia
230 g. Water

Recipe 4

1 can of tomato juice
120 ml fabric softener
450 ml water
160 ml orange juice

What fertilizer to use in the fall and some recipes for DIY lawn fertilizer

Spread one of these homemade lawn fertilizers on your lawn every week or two until you achieve the look you want. Be careful not to fertilize too much! Too much of anything good can be bad, and a buildup of even the best nutrients can harm your lawn.