Time for Fall Fertilization

Newsletter - October 2021

Now that aerification procedures are coming to an end and fertilizer blackout periods are lifting, it is time to think about fall fertilization and building a strategy for ensuring maximum plant health going into the cooler months and coming out strong in the spring. Remember that timing of fall applications and nutrient amounts will depend greatly on turf type, use and location.

It is necessary to ensure balanced nutrition throughout the growing months and is critical to ensure enough nutrients are available to the plant for carbohydrate storage heading into the fall months and into winter. Timing and rates are critical and depending on where you are located and the turf species that are being grown, these will generally vary. There are many publications and extension specialists available to help guide these decisions. Part of an effective strategy is to avoid applying too much nitrogen or making late applications too far into the cooler months. Remember, only fertilize with adequate amounts of nutrition that turf is capable of utilizing during a given period – this will likely help prevent difficulties during spring green-up.

Most products that are utilized for fall applications are dry blended products that are topdressed overtop the turf’s canopy. Blends vary by distributor and quality can suffer if proper blending components are not added appropriately. When choosing products to apply, it is important to understand that fertilizer blends vary due to nutrient sources and blending procedures. A basic understanding of good and bad blending characteristics is important when deciding what blends to purchase.

Good blending characteristics Bad blending characteristics
Homogeneous particles No homogeneous particles
Similar particle sizes Varied particles sizes
Similar particle densities Varied particle densities
Consist of minimal blend components Consist of many blend components
No added fillers Filler added
Contains only plant-available components Contains components that are likely not available


In order to ensure you get the best product possible, ask your distributor to explain how the product is blended and what is included as substrates. If you open a bag and see particles dispersed similar to the below illustration, then beware of product quality. Poor quality blends will lead to decreased particle distribution causing limited nutrient uptake, loss in efficiency, and decreased plant health. Furthermore, fertilizer analysis ratios represent what is in the products, but do not necessarily represent how and if the nutrients are immediately available to the plant. For example, some sources may be more subject to nitrogen (N) loss and have nutrients that are not efficient for plant uptake.


poor blend.jpg

Poorly blended product with many unevenly sized particles.

segregation in hoper poor blend.jpg

Segregation in hopper due to poor blending characteristics.

There are two ways to avoid poorly blended products:

  • Choose homogeneous products like YaraMila® TURF ROYALE® or YaraRega® NK-GREEN™
  • Ensure great care is being taken into consideration by the distributor during the blending process and that the nutrient sources are capable of providing consistent coverage and turf utilization

Remember that Yara OptimumTurf granular products are all homogeneous. They are perfect to use in many situations and make great blend bases. Click here for more information.

Don’t forget to ask your distributor about adding OptimumTurf products for providing effective and efficient solutions.

Neil Mayberry - Crop Manager, Turf & Ornamental


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Neil Mayberry
Neil Mayberry
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