With long, dark, cold winter months looming in Kansas City, you should “winterize” your lawn. What does that mean, exactly?
Kansas City Lawn Winterization Tips
Use the right fertilizer for your grass
Not just any fertilizer will do. If you have “cool season” grass, such as bluegrass or fescue, you’ll have most of your lawn growth in the fall. That makes fall a perfect time to feed your lawn.
Look for specialized winterizing fertilizer; it’s high in potassium, which uses the chemical symbol “K.” It will be the third nutrient listed on the label. Potassium is necessary to lawn health because it strengthens and hardens cellular walls so that your lawn is more tolerant to the stress that extended cold brings. It’s also important because it helps plants take up other nutrients, which again are necessary to keep your lawn healthy over the long winter months.
The right winter fertilizer for cool season grass will also contain nitrogen, which is the first number on the label. Nitrogen is denoted by the chemical symbol “N.” Phosphorus, chemical symbol “P,” facilitates root growth.
If you have warm season grass, such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, centipede, or zoysia, you should NOT use winterizing fertilizer because your grass goes dormant in the winter and applying fertilizer will encourage new growth.
Apply winterizing fertilizer in the fall
Your cool season lawn needs more potassium and less nitrogen as fall goes on, making winterizing fertilizer perfect for it. Your peak growing season for cool season grasses in the fall, while warm season grasses grow fastest in the spring. You can use “winterizing” fertilizers in the spring for warm season grasses.
The earliest feedings will be almost purely nitrogen, while later feedings will be potassium. Using a slow-release fertilizer with balanced nutrition in summer will cut down on the number of applications you need to apply later.
If your lawn is already established
If your Kansas City lawn is already established, feed it three parts nitrogen for every one part potassium, with half the nitrogen provided as slow-release. Most fertilizers now will contain little phosphorus because of pollution restrictions.
Reapply every year
You’ll need to reapply fertilizer every year, since benefits will not carry over from one season to the next.
Opt for a low maintenance lawn
Fertilizing is still important, but you can make lawn maintenance easier by using slow-release organic fertilizers, or by using a technique in early fall called “top dressing” to improve your lawn. It’s hard to change your soil once your grass has been established, but you can improve your soil with grass established simply by adding a thin layer of soil over your lawn. This is especially beneficial for bare spots, high-traffic areas, or areas where nutrients have been depleted. Top dressing will improve your soil over time, make it drought-resistant, and gradually transform your Kansas City lawn into a low maintenance, healthy expanse.
Keep your lawn green and healthy by preparing it properly for winter – or letting us do the work for you. IDL Company’s professionals know how to make your lawn the best it can be year-round. Call (816) 987-7168 today and leave your lawn care to us.