This fall, the order of lawn product applications matters!

In last weekend’s GardenLine shows, newsletter and blog post,  I emphasized the importance this fall of changing my normal fertilization schedule and doubling up on the pre-emergent herbicide.

Then, I got lots of follow-up questions about the application of other products and which one should go down first. Previously, I’ve noted that turfgrass experts would prefer that the order be fungicide, then winterizer (fall fertilizer), then pre-emergent herbicide. But September’s wet weather has totally mucked that up for this year.

This autumn, we need to add a second pre-emergent herbicide application, so the first one has to go down right now. 

But you know I can’t just leave it there, right?  In the past, I’ve also noted that the order doesn’t really matter … unless it does.  This fall, it really does matter, because I would prefer that you get the first of the two pre-emergent applications down RIGHT NOW! Or yesterday!!  And since there’s such a huge risk of fungal diseases in our immediate future, thanks to the recent rains, get whatever fungicide you’re using down immediately thereafter.  And since the end of October is the normal time to apply the fall fertilizer or winterizer, YES - this year the order matters.

Then again, it doesn’t matter for someone who has to get out of town quick and won’t be back for several weeks.  Plus, mixing the order can be okay on a case-by-case basis, depending on where a person is on the schedule. If you’re pressed for time, I hope you have at least a week to mete out the three applications.  And while I prefer the order be pre-emergent, fungal control, then fall feeding, the order truly doesn’t matter if you’re in a hurry.  Just don’t do them all in one day!   

So, in a perfect world, I suggest the first herbicide NOW!  A few days later, do your fungal disease prevention if you normally do that.  And at some point before October 30, do your fall feeding. 

I have often been very laisse fair with regard to the order of applications in the springtime, and have even said they could all be done on the same day if you have to … but only in the spring.  That’s because we never need fungal disease controls February through May. 

When it comes to this year’s change in the fall schedule, I think the order matters a ton because of September’s abundance of moisture. Just - I repeat - please don’t do all three things on the same day.

Well, there is one caveat:  If you’re only going to apply pre-emergent herbicide and winterizer, then YES, you can do them on the same day.  But in almost all cases, it’s way more beneficial to spread them out over several days.

And if you are thinking about applying an herbicide and fertilizer on the same day, don’t even wonder about mixing them together in one broadcast spreader application. They need to go down at different spreader rates and doses.

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