Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
You’re about to fertilize your lawn, but the forecast is promising heavy rains for the next few days.
You might be wondering, what is the best time to fertilize lawn, before or after rain? Should you fertilize in the spring, summer, fall, or all through the year? And can you put fertilizer on wet grass, after heavy rainfall?
- Why Do I Need to Fertilize
- Types of Lawn Fertilizer
- Is It Good To Have Rain When You Fertilize?
- Why Is Fertilizing Your Lawn After Rainfall Best?
- Tips for Applying Fertilizer After a Rainfall
- The Bottom Line
If you’ve been wondering about the best time to fertilize a lawn, check out our guide. We’ll go through everything you need to know, including types of fertilizer and the best time of day to use them.
These are some of the things we’ll cover in this article.
- Why do I need to fertilize?
- Types of lawn fertilizer.
- Is it good to have rain when you fertilize?
- Why is fertilizing your lawn after rainfall best?
- Tips for applying fertilizer after a rainfall.
Why Do I Need to Fertilize
Your lawn needs nutrients, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (known as NPK), in order to grow. It gets them from the soil, but even if you’re blessed with nutrient-rich garden soil, it may not be enough to last the entire growing season.
Common yard maintenance activities that keep your turf looking good can also strip it of nitrogen. Removing fallen leaves and twigs and clippings from your lawn will keep your lawn tidy, but small amounts of organic waste give nutrients back into the soil.
Fertilizer helps replenish the nitrogen for optimal growth and achieve that thick, green mat of grass instead of a struggling turf with brown patches. Fertilizing makes your lawn look lovely, but it can also help with pest and weed control. However, too much fertilizer can be bad for your lawn and the environment.
Types of Lawn Fertilizer
Let’s get to know the most common types of fertilizers, synthetic and organic, and granular vs. liquid.
Organic vs. Synthetic
Organic fertilizers are created from natural products, animals, or plants. They often have a more complete nutrient profile and are better for the environment.
Synthetic formulas many times only include NPK, but they release their nutrients faster than organic fertilizers.
Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizer
Granular fertilizer is easy to apply well with a spreader. It’s the fertilizer we would recommend for most homeowners who aren’t experienced with using fertilizer. You’ll need to water your lawn lightly every time after using it to help the fertilizer reach the roots.
Liquid fertilizer needs to be applied with a hosepipe, (a hose reel cart with wheels would make things easier on a large lawn), and it’s tougher to do well if you’re not experienced. With liquid fertilizer, it’s easier to over apply on some areas and burn your lawn, while not spraying enough on other parts.
On the plus side, it’s absorbed well into your soil, which is why most professional landscaping companies use liquid fertilizers.
Is It Good To Have Rain When You Fertilize?
Ideally, you should aim to fertilize about two days after rain or watering, and when the next heavy rainfall is at least two days away.
It can be helpful to have some rain before and after fertilizing. Rain a couple of days before fertilizing keeps your yard moist and the turf healthy, receptive to the nutrients. Light watering or rain right after fertilizing, on the other hand, washes the fertilizer off the blades and onto the ground.
Heavy rain right after fertilizing, however, may make the fertilizer run off the soil or into the lower layers, where it won’t do as much good for your roots.
Using fertilizer on wet grass the day after heavy rain is also not ideal, because the fertilizers can stick to wet grass and damage it.
Why Is Fertilizing Your Lawn After Rainfall Best?
After rainfall, your yard is in a healthy condition to receive the fertilizer and make the most out of its minerals. The top layers might still have some water from the heavy rain, which will mix with the fertilizer and surround the roots of the plants.
On completely dry soil that hasn’t experienced rains in a while, it’s harder to distribute the fertilizer evenly.
Tips for Applying Fertilizer After a Rainfall
It’s raining, and you’re wondering when to fertilize lawn. Here are some tips to get your lawn care right and help it grow healthy.
- Fertilizer application two days after heavy rainfall is the best way to get the most out of your investment.
- The best time to fertilize lawns is in the afternoon or evening when the sun is not burning high in the sky anymore. This helps give the turf a little time to absorb the nutrients.
- Apply fertilizer and give your lawn a light watering, unless you’re expecting light rain in the following hours.
- One important thing to note is that you need to keep pets and kids away from the lawn for at least 24 hours after fertilizing.
- In general, watering your lawn once a week, instead of every day, helps promote strong roots. If it rains a lot, you don’t need extra water.
- Another practice for healthy lawns is keeping your grass long, between about 3 and 4.5 inches. This helps provide a greater surface for photosynthesis, which improves their overall health.
- A heavy-handed nitrogen application will mean you need to mow more often.
- When you mow the lawn, leave the clippings on the ground as a mulch to feed the grass and reduce the evaporation of water.
When Most People Apply Fertilizer To Their Grass
Most people fertilize one or two times a year, but you can do it more often. The right season for fertilizing lawns is when they’re growing the most. For cool-season grasses, this is in the early spring and fall.
Some people do keep fertilizing throughout the summer, at intervals of six to eight weeks, but it’s not always necessary to do it this often. How often you need to fertilize your lawn depends on your lawn, the weather conditions, and how much rain you tend to get.
It’s important to make sure you don’t fertilize your lawn in the middle of a drought when it’s dry and brown. You’ll likely only end up doing damage because the soil hasn’t had enough water, and you might even burn it.
Make sure you wait for when the temperature cools down in the fall and use a long-releasing fertilizer if you can. The grass will still grow during the fall, and you’ll give your lawn a stronger start the next spring.
The Bottom Line
To sum up: the answer to the question of the best time to fertilize lawn, before or after rain, is about two days after. It’s better to pick a time when your soil still has water but the turf is dry, when the nutrients won’t directly wash off.
Depending on your lawn, you can fertilize anywhere from one to about four times a year. Don’t fertilize your grass during a heatwave or a drought, because the fertilizer can burn the blades.
It’s also best to apply fertilizer in the evening or late afternoon and water afterwards. This way, the sun won’t scorch the lawn when you’ve applied chemicals to it.
All clear? Just follow our tips to make the most out of your lawn care and make your turf strong and green.