Colder months do not necessarily mean that lawns and paddocks should be ignored until the following spring. ‘Typical’ winter temperatures and timings do not exist nowadays and we regularly see brief spikes of warm weather between November and March. Grass (& plants) will continue to grow in mild temperatures and if it grows - it needs energy.
Fertilisers should never be viewed as a ‘once per year’ application. Just as humans require a well-balanced diet, so grass needs energy (Nitrogen) and micro/ macronutrients in a well balanced mix throughout the year.
A useful checklist for an autumn/ winter applied fertiliser:
- Low nitrogen: to avoid a massive flush of growth – leading to weak, disease-prone grass
- Iron: to harden the outer leaf surface and give it colour to withstand harsher weather
- Slow-release fertiliser: releases small amounts of energy & nutrients ONLY when temperatures and soil moisture mean that grass will grow
- Do not apply immediately before heavy rainfall
- Do not apply granules on a slope – risk of run-off. Try liquids?
- Do not apply on frosty, frozen grass