Fall Fertilization?


By Scottie Hines, CGCS

For many, many years turf managers have recognized the benefits of fall fertilizing their turf stands.  Fall is an excellent time of year to apply a readily available NPK fertilizer.  However, fall fertilization and winter or dormant fertilization should not be confused.

Winter or dormant fertilization occurs when the plants have lost their color and are no longer actively growing.  Fertilizer, at this time, of year is meant to leave a supplemental nutrient source that will be available for the plants as they break dormancy in the spring.

For fall fertilization to be effective it must occur when the plants are still actively growing.  Here in the Midwest, the time frame is mid-September to late-October.  However, this range can vary depending on weather patterns.

Turf grass plants during the fall are rapidly storing carbohydrates in roots.  Adding a supplemental nutrient source at this time helps the plants develop a more fibrous roots system capable of storing more carbohydrates.  More carbohydrates equate to healthier plants that are more tolerant to our cold winters and allow them to rapidly green and thicken in the subsequent spring.

Noticeable benefits include:

  • Better fall and winter color of turf
  • Quicker spring green-up
  • Thicker or denser stand of turf the following year
  • Quicker rejuvenation and repair of fall turf grass
  • Thicker turf stand reduces weed pressure


Tessman carries several popular fall fertilizer products!

25-0-6 Minnegrow Organic with 36% UFLEXX and 2% FE

18-0-4 100% Stabilized Nitrogen and 4% FE

30-0-10 50% PCSCU and 7% FE

Contact your Tessman Seed Sales Representative for the full line-up including complete NPK fertilizers!

A 1993 graduate of Penn State University with a B.S. in Agronomy (Turfgrass) Scottie Hines has been working in the golf world in some manner for over 35 years. Having been at several top private golf clubs including Laurel Valley Golf Club, Oakmont Country Club, Baltusrol Golf Club and, most recently, Windsong Farm Golf Club. 

He was an assistant golf course superintendent for three U.S. Opens (’89 Senior, ’92 women’s and ’94 Open) and a superintendent for the 2000 U.S. Amateur.  

When not on the greens, you can find him at the local curling club, cheering his children on to victories while wearing his kilt. 

Scottie joined Tessman Company as in inside sales person in 2018.