Squak Talk Blog

Why fertilize in fall?

Fall is a great time to fertilize plants in your landscape.  To help explain why we asked a local friend, and organic gardening expert to assist.

For more than a decade we have featured Hendrikus Organics as ouronly line of blended organic fertilizers for our customers.  In addition to producing fantastic organic fertilizer, Hendrikus Organics is also a family owned business right here in Issaquah.  Debbie from Hendrikus shares the following:

Fall is the best time to fertilize, and especially with organic fertilizers. First of all, because organic fertilizers are typically ‘slow-release”, they break down slowly.  (In comparison to chemical fertilizers which are more immediately water soluble).  What perfect timing.  Fall, with its attendant rains, starts the breakdown process.  Due to cooler soil temps and lower nitrogen values of the organic fertilizers, the plants don’t needlessly convert the nutrients into excessive vegetative growth.  Instead, plants start converting these nutrients, and build up their storage pantry.  This is what will be needed for the spring flush of growth, when reserves would otherwise be depleted.

Also, building up a robust root structure helps your plants prevent frost damage.  Our winters have been a bit wacky lately, but what has been recurring is a few weeks of super cold weather. You need to freeze proof your plants. Frost damage is usually desiccation or drying out of the roots.  If the root structure is not substantial enough, a loss of 20% could be fatal.  A good fall fertilizing with Hendrikus Organics, which offers an ample supply of beneficial soil microbes, and the necessary food sources to help feed the microbes, will help bolster your plant’s root system.  Similarly, with all the rain that the fall and winter months bring, a robust root structure will be needed to utilize the water better.

Hendrikus Organics’ fertilizers contain at least 22 different species of beneficial microbes.  Cooler temperatures do slow the rate that the microbes work, but they will still begin their “work” when applied in autumn. The microbes do much to assist in making nutrients available, but they also are the carpenters improving soils “architecture.”  Increased pore space and aggregates of soil particles are necessary to drain our heavy rains. Otherwise, you will have soggy soil which cannot breathe. The anaerobic conditions can lead to death of beneficial microbes, root rot and diseased plants.

Lastly, fruit bearing plants such as blueberries are setting their fruit buds now for next year. Flowers such as rhodies and azaleas are setting their flower buds. Fertilize now to get the best yield next year.  A fertilizer application in fall will give them the nutrients they need to get producing more effectively during the growing season.


  1. patricia

    We always fertilize in the fall. I have beautiful flowers each spring – the envy of the neighborhood!

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