Why should you fertilize your question now? To make money for the fertilizer company? Photo courtesy

"Spend Mo Money!" No three words better sum up core American beliefs. To do our patriotic duty, the lawn care industry wants each us to "winterize" our lawns by fertilizing them now in fall. That's a bad idea for many Southerners. Here's why.

Here's the thing. Most people in the South (USDA Zones 6-10) grow warm-season grasses like Zoysia, Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine, and buffalograss. These grasses grow actively in warm weather and go dormant in cold weather. That's why they're brown all winter. The best times to fertilize them is spring and summer. "Winterizing" them -- feeding them in fall when their top growth has slowed or stopped -- is a total waste of nutrients, time, and money. Unless, of course, you're spending mo money to prop up a sagging economy.

Of course, there are exceptions. People living in the Upper South (Zones 6 and parts of 7) usually grow cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue. These grasses grow actively in cool weather and go dormant when it's hot. That's why they're green all winter. So fertilize them in early fall (the most important time), late fall (the "winterizing" application if you must), and spring.

Glad Grumpy could clear that up for you. You lucky folks in the South can go back to your ballgame.