We have received many questions over the last few summers at this time regarding the necessity for a late summer fertilizer application when the lawn is brown from dormancy or "dead". I wanted to write this post today as I was out checking on lawns in the area and noticed that lawns that have received the late summer fertilizer application have already begun greening up and rebounding from summer stress. Granular fertilizer needs a few days and moisture to be taken up by the roots of the plant. The plant also has to be in an active state, not dormant to begin greening up and or putting out new leaf tissue. This is exactly why we fertilize in late summer weather the current state of the lawn is dormant or active. The applications we do today will produce results in the coming weeks as plants begin to rebound from lower temperatures and rains.
A well fertilized and healthy lawn is also able to quickly rebound from summer stresses. Many people think that a lawn has to be green and active to be healthy. That isn't necessarily true in summer where it is natural and healthy for a lawn to bonce in and out of dormancy as temperatures and moisture levels swing abruptly. Lawns that are under fertilized or full of weeds do not bounce back and begin growing when rain returns as they have been under maintained. Just like a healthy person still gets sick but bounces back quicker than an unhealthy person the lawn will rebound quickly when properly fertilized in late summer. Lawns need fertilization all season long in addition to regular precipitation in order to maintain a healthy stand of grass.