Problems and Solutions for Fertilizing In Late Fall 

Fertilizing in late fall is always problematic due to freezing soils and cold temperatures. As a result, frozen soils can cause problems when commercial fertilizers are applied to them. Take note that all commercial fertilizers are soluble in water.


Nevertheless, there are variations in how long it would take for materials to fully dissolve. So if materials did not have some reactions with the soil, then they may be susceptible to loss when water would move across the field.


Water quality concerns have caused the loss in nitrogen and phosphorus due to late fall fertilizer applications. At the same time, until hydrolysis will convert urea to ammonium, potential loss of urea can happen, which can be held by charges on soil clay. Urea is a neutral molecule and moves readily with water.



Fertilizing In Late Fall


The reason behind fertilizing in late fall is that it can prolong the turf color of cool season grasses into early winter. This is done without the increase of chance of winter disease and injury. Winter color is more noticeable where winters are warmer.


In addition, this can enhance the spring green-up without excessive growth that often accompanies early spring fertilization. Early spring fertilizer application is not required since green-up will often last into mid-spring.


When fertilizer is applied in late fall, there is a small but important increase in the carbohydrate reserves of the plant. At the same time, late fall fertilization would result in an increase in rooting. In fact, some root growth occurs in the winter when the temperatures are over the freezing point. Thus, only minimal growth will occur in summer.



Challenges in Late Fall Fertilization


Fertilizer application could also pose some challenges, such as poor timing, which causes a risk of nutrient loss through runoff. When soil temperatures approach freezing, the risk of loss increases while the chance of nutrients getting held in soil decreases. This could be quite a threat if you are using fertilizer for corn and soybeans during the winter.



Solutions for Late Fall Fertilizer Application


-Never apply late fall fertilization to frozen or snow-covered grounds

-Prevent runoff with the use of tillage

-Reduce the risk of nitrogen loss by properly sealing anhydrous bands

-Incorporate the application of fall urea

-Take note about the risk for spring loss



Advantages of Fall Application of Fertilizer


-Getting the job done which can delay for spring planting

-Able to get over fields when usually drier and less likely compact

-Get a price break from fertilizer dealers



The phosphate requirements for corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, and tobacco can also be applied during fall. It is best to apply fertilizer ahead of disking when a cover crop is to be planted. However, it is not advisable to apply nitrogen during the fall.


Nitrogen fertilization is needed for soybean crops, which takes up to 5 pounds of nitrogen per bushel. Experts argued though that it better be in the right season. This is important for those who are considering to buy fertilizer for corn and soybeans.




​Precision Agronomics is located at 9438 West SR 28 in West Lebanon, IN and is proud to serve: Marshfield, Johnsonville, Foster, Stone Bluff, Bismarck, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more information!

fertilizer for corn and soybeans



Thank You!

The contact request has been successfully sent.

This field is required.

Invalid Phone

Invalid Email

Email form

This field is required.

P.O. Box 70



1848 West Dixie Bee Rd
Covington, IN 47932
PHONE: (800) SOIL - 130

© 2016 All Rights Reserved | Precision Agronomics, Inc. | 800-SOIL-130