“How To Prepare Your Lawn For Winter? -Best NPK Number”

Preparing the lawn for the winter can be very helpful as it can give the lawn what it needs to survive harsh conditions where it stays dormant. It will need food and good health to come back strong next year. 

But how will you prepare the lawn for winter? 

The best fertilizer number to fertilize the lawn in the fall is 22-0-14. This NPK number has a good amount of nitrogen to provide food for the grass in winter as well as a little bit of potassium to boost the process. This fertilizer number will help the lawn to prepare for the dormancy period. 

So we know which fertilizer to use on the lawn for winter, but what do these numbers stand for, and how and when to apply this fertilizer to get the best result? Let’s discuss that in detail:

What are these numbers on fertilizer?

The number you see on the fertilizer bag or referred to as NPK is to help you determine what type of fertilizer it is and what nutrients it contains. These numbers contain the percentage or ratio of important nutrients available in the pack. But what does NPK mean? 

What does NPK mean?

The N-P-K is an abbreviation for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium nutrients. 


  • N stands for Nitrogen
  • P stands for Phosphorus 
  • K stands for Potassium 

What are these nutrients and how do they help the lawn to grow and stay healthy? Let’s discuss in detail:

Nitrogen – Nitrogen is very essential nutrition for the grass and lawn to grow as it helps the plant by providing important food which is required for the grass to grow. The food-making process of the plants called photosynthesis will not be completed without nitrogen. It helps the plants to make chlorophyll, which is the reason for the green colour of plants and grass. This is the reason why every fertilizer or NPK number will have a high percentage of nitrogen. 

Phosphorus – Phosphorus helps the grass or plants to develop deep root systems which help the plant to survive heat and drought in the summer. The deep root system is also vital for the dormancy period in winter but Phosphorus doesn’t instantly work and the grass needs time. So it is essential to provide Phosphorus early in the spring or in the fall to make the grass stronger.

Potassium – Potassium is like a helper which helps the plants or grass to absorb food and nutrition easily and grow fast. Potassium also protects plants from different kinds of diseases and fungi in the soil. Potassium is like a protector and helper to the grass

Where to find the NPK number on the fertilizer?

Finding the NPK numbers on the fertilizer bag is very easy as it is mostly written in front of the pack as 22-0-4 or sometimes associated with the name like “Pennington Ultragreen Winterize Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14”. So finding the N-P-K number will not be a problem for you. 

If you are unable to find the N-P-K number in front of the pack or it is not associated with the name then it will be written on the back of the pack labeling the percentage of the nutrients with the guide and other information. 

What fertilizer number to use in the winter?

The best fertilizer number to use in the winter season will be where the nitrogen is high in percentage as nitrogen will give the grass food in the dormancy period and recover from the harm and stress of the long winter season when the spring comes. A little amount of potassium is necessary to help the process and grow faster. 

So the best fertilizer number will be 22-0-14 to apply to the lawn in the winter. I use “Pennington Ultragreen Winterize Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14” as winter fertilizer for my lawn as it has everything the lawn needs in the winter season and dormancy. You can also use the “Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Weed & Feed₃” as it also works the same way. 

This is an ideal fertilizer for winter, but sometimes the condition of the lawn is not as we expected so different lawn needs different fertilizer numbers. Let’s have a look at it in detail:

New lawn – If you are starting a new lawn in the winter or just going to start in the late fall then it needs high amount of nitrogen and phosphorus to grow faster as well as the root to establish before the winter season comes and the lawn goes into dormancy and stress. So 22-23-4 is a good fertilizer number for the new lawn and will give the lawn all the things it requires. You can use “Pennington Ultragreen Starter Fertilizer 22-23-4”.

Old lawn – If you have a fairly established lawn that has a good root system with good grass and no bare patches then your lawn just needs a good amount of food to grow in the fall and stay healthy before the dormancy period. The best fertilizer number for this lawn is 22-0-14 as nitrogen will help the grass to grow and potassium will help boost the process. 

Poor lawn – If your lawn is in poor conditions with bare patches and unhealthy grass then it needs high amount of nitrogen as well as phosphorus to have a good establishment in the soil. It also needs some other nutrients like potassium to keep away diseases. “Pennington Ultragreen Starter Fertilizer 22-23-4” is a very good fertilizer for a poor lawn as it helps the lawn to regrow and have additional nutrients which the lawn needs. 

When to fertilize the lawn in the winter?

The best time to fertilize the lawn in winter or sometimes called winterizing the lawn is at the beginning of the winter or late fall which is late October to early November to prepare the lawn for coming dormancy and stress. Fertilizing during this period gives the lawn some time to absorb the fertilizer and prepare and establish itself. 

How to fertilize the lawn in the winter?

Fertilizing your lawn in winter is not a difficult task if you do it properly and take care of a few things. The two main things are:

  •  Moisture 
  • Timing. 

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step guide on how to fertilize your lawn in winter:

1. Make the soil moist – the first thing to do before fertilizing your lawn is to make the soil moist so that it can absorb the fertilizer properly and the fertilizer can go into the roots of the grass. The dryness can also burn the grass.

Water the lawn 1 or 2 days before fertilization so that the soil is not soaked with water as it can make the fertilizer run off or it can stick on the wet grass and burn it.

2.Check the label – after making the soil moist, it’s time to fertilize the lawn. Before putting the fertilizer on the lawn, check the label on the fertilizer pack for recommended application. In winter you don’t need a lot of fertilizer, so try to apply less than the recommended size or make it half.

3.Apply the fertilizer – I always fertilize my lawn in two parts. I first divide all the fertilizer which I am going to put on the lawn into two parts and then apply the first part vertically to the lawn and then the other batch horizontally. Ensuring that every part of the lawn is covered properly.

4.Water the lawn – after the fertilizer is applied, it needs to get into the soil and just stay on top of it. Water the lawn lightly so that the fertilizer can get into the soil with the help of water. Don’t overwater as it can make the fertilizer runoff and ruin your efforts as well as harm the environment. 

Hope you now know what fertilizer number to use in the fall season. Get Set Gardening!