Appropriate fertilizer to use for fall application in Toronto, Canada

Michael - Toronto

LawnSite Member
Hello Folks:

I'm a participant here on LawnSite because I am an irrigation guy, but my question today is with my "homeowner" hat on.

What type (meaning, what number x-x-x) of fertilizer is the most appropriate to put on a healthy lawn in Toronto, Canada in the fall?

In the spring, I applied 30-0-0 and was very happy with the result, the lawn greened up rapidly and grew enthusiastically. In mid-June, I applied 16-8-8. I don't know if the lawn appreciated it or not, but as of today, mid-August, the lawn looks just fine.

What is the best choice for a fall application? All nitrogen? Equal parts nitrogen-phosphate-potash? Some other blend?

Is there a "best time" to apply fertilizer in the fall? In other words, in my climatic zone, should I apply the fertilizer in September, while the grass still has about 6 weeks of growth remaining, or should I apply it later, perhaps in early October just before growth shuts down?

Your guidance would be appreciated - in return, if I can help you out with any irrigation matters, just put a post in the Irrigation Professional Discussions section of our forum.

Michael
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Mike, your climate is not far from ours.
Opinions vary. Soil test is a good idea. Are you on sandy soil--loam or clay? If the guys at Guelph do not have a good plan to suggest--I would suggest about a 4 to 1 ratio. Maybe about 32-0-8. But with half of the nitrogen as sulfur-coated for slow-release properties.
Phosphorus is probably not required and it contaminates water, causing green slime. Lake Erie is in bad shape already.
I think a good application date is about the week of the last mowing of the year--about the third week of October.
 

Q1_Lawn1266

LawnSite Member
Location
N. Indiana
In the fall, most grasses will store nutrients as fats and carbohydrates, therefore you will get the most benefit from just putting down 46-0-0 Urea after the grass begins to go dormant, at a rate of 1.25 lbs of N. The soil test would be a wise call more so in the spring to see what you need at that point. Most of your Nitrogen should do down in the fall months.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Nitrogen is neither a fat nor carbohydrate. Since Scotts has convinced nearly everyone that "Winterizer" is a good idea--apply it in the fall--it will probably improve green in the spring.
 

Q1_Lawn1266

LawnSite Member
Location
N. Indiana
Nitrogen is neither a fat nor carbohydrate. Since Scotts has convinced nearly everyone that "Winterizer" is a good idea--apply it in the fall--it will probably improve green in the spring.
I didn't say that Nitrogen contained either. The plant converts nutrients from available nutrients for winter stores. It's not just Scotts, check with any University with a turf program as to the importance of a winterizer. https://turf.purdue.edu/extpub/fertilizing-established-lawns/

There has been a lot of in depth studies done on this very subject.

This is of course for cool season grasses.

Regards
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Dr. Frank Rossi of Cornell suggests that less nitrogen is needed in the fall, partly due to concerns about nitrogen leaching into the ground water.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Everyone’s soul varies as much as the plants do

I haven’t tested soil in Toronto so I don’t know but
Assuming it’s similar to the rest of north east America
8-32-16 is a common answer

but I haven’t seen so much as a pic of the turf so I don’t know

high nitrogen at the end of the season is a bad idea due to the previously mentioned ground water issues
 

phasthound

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Mt. Laurel, NJ
Everyone’s soul varies as much as the plants do

I haven’t tested soil in Toronto so I don’t know but
Assuming it’s similar to the rest of north east America
8-32-16 is a common answer

but I haven’t seen so much as a pic of the turf so I don’t know

high nitrogen at the end of the season is a bad idea due to the previously mentioned ground water issues
My soul is the same no matter what plants I am working with. :)
I agree that high N is a bad idea especially if it's quick release.
An organic based fert with some N is my choice.
 

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