Why do I need to fertilize when my grass is dormant?

Now that we have all put away our sprinklers and lawn mowers for the winter, you might be wondering why your lawn would need fertilizer if the grass is dormant and no longer growing.  That is an excellent question!

First, grass roots continue to grow for several weeks after frost.  The roots grow more slowly as the soil temperatures cool but they are still growing. There are three major nutrients in fertilizer – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is for green and grow, phosphorus  for flower and fruit and  potassium is for root and shoot.

Our dormant fertilization contains only one nutrient – potassium.  Potassium is a key component for root strength and food storage for the winter.  It also helps with wear and stress resistance.  Since potassium doesn’t leach out of the root zone it is better able to be taken into the soil to be available for root growth both now and in the spring time.   This can help turf recover from stress damage from the previous year and is also part of the preparation for green up in the spring.

So, if you look outside and see your friendly Personal Lawn Care technician all bundled up and pushing a spreader across your yard, just remember that this is getting your sleepy turf ready for an awesome growing season in 2015!