Can the weather impact fertilized lawns? If you are a caring lawn owner, you know that watering and fertilizing are the key points of healthy lawns. So, when it comes to fertilizing part, you can’t decide what is the best time to fertilize lawn: before or after rain?
Don’t panic! Here are some smart tips that can help you to grow a lush lawn with healthy grass.
Choose the best time to fertilize lawn: before or after rain
There is no common opinion on this point. Many gardeners prefer fertilizing after heavy rain, but some others think it is better to fertilize before the rain. So, which of these methods is the best one?
Both variants have their pros and cons, though. To decide which one is better for you, let’s focus on the details. There are many factors that you should consider. Not only the weather plays a big role in fertilizing the lawn, but also the type of fertilizer you use. For each type, there are some specific characteristics!
A few words about lawn fertilizers
Fertilizers are one of the most essential parts of lawn care. They are also called the lawn food that helps the grass to grow green, thick, and healthy. In addition, the nutrients in fertilizer can also provide weed prevention in your lawn.
These three critical nutrients are united in the NPK formula:
Nitrogen provides the nourishment of your lawn.
It feeds the grass, makes it grow thick and green, and boosts leaf growth.
Some nitrogen comes naturally from rainfall water and mulched grass clippings. However, your lawn still needs more nutrients than only natural ones. That’s why it is important to add some more nitrogen by fertilizing.
Phosphorus is responsible for strong roots and healthy sprouts.
In adequate amounts, it stimulates root growth and boosts the grass seeds’ sprout. Strong and healthy roots help the plants to survive in drought conditions. Thick grass covering does not allow any free space for weeds.
Potassium provides a kind of lawn immunization.
It hardens the grass’s resistance to stresses, diseases, and extreme weather conditions. This nutrient in your lawn fertilizer is responsible for the complete health of your lawn.
Types of lawn fertilizers
The world of lawn fertilizers is wide and different, so they have different characteristics. Some of them go well with rain watering, and some don’t. Let’s focus on the most essential types of lawn fertilizers.
Today, you can find lots of lawn fertilizers on the market. They can be concentrated liquids, granular or powders, they are made from organics or chemicals. And, of course, each of them works differently at some point.
1. Organic vs Synthetic fertilizers
In general, all lawn fertilizers are grouped into 2 categories – organic fertilizers and synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are purely natural. They are made of all-natural, organic ingredients, as is clear from their name. Organic components enhance the soil composition, they feed and stimulate the beneficial microorganisms. In whole interaction, they enrich the soil and provide a healthy lawn.
Mainly, organic fertilizers contain such natural components as plant-based ingredients with natural grains and soy, soybean meal, feather meal, blood meal, and many other nutrients and bio-solids.
Some of the best organic fertilizers are Jonathan Green Organic Lawn Food and Purely Organics.
Synthetic fertilizers are chemicals that are made in laboratories. Their feature is “fast release”, and they work really faster than organic fertilizers. As a rule, chemical fertilizers are released in granular form and contain a higher percentage of NPK-formula (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium).
Choose popular and high-quality brands such as Lesco, Yard Mastery, or Scott’s. There are lots of variants up to your needs: standard 4-Step fertilizers, starter or winter fertilizers, and others. They are easily spread with a lawn spreader, dissolve in the soil, and are absorbed through the plant roots like any organic fertilizer.
NB: The most essential difference between these two is that organic fertilizer feeds the soil, whereas synthetic fertilizer feeds the grass.
2. Granular vs Liquid fertilizers
Granular fertilizers are popular with their acceptable price and easy storage. You can buy them in bulk using not much money and will have no problem with keeping them safe.
The drawback of granular fertilizers is the slow release of nitrogen and other components. When applied, they dissolve slowly and release the nutrients steadily into the lawn soil.
Liquid fertilizers have a big advantage, as it is easier to control the dosage and apply them more evenly on the whole lawn. Besides, the grass absorbs them from the soil more easily.
If you fit this slow problem, it is a good idea to use liquid fertilizer rather than granular. Choose from LawnStar, Simple Lawn Solutions, CoRoN, or other popular liquid fertilizers. You can easily spread them with a help of a backpack sprayer or a hose sprayer.
Actually, liquid fertilizers are similar to synthetic granular fertilizers. The difference is just in their concentration form. Liquid has a wider front of spreading and can be absorbed from the soil more efficiently.
Liquid fertilizers can also be called foliar. As they are spread evenly on the lawn, some of the nutrients can be absorbed not only by the grassroots but also by the grass blades. As a result, they affect the lawn colorize it with extra green grass.
3. Soil amendments
In fact, soil amendments are not considered to be fertilizers, they are just extra additions that help boost the lawn soil. These are such products as humic and fulvic acids, biochar charbon, and others. As developed for different types of lawn grass, they work both with warm-season lawns and cool-season grasses.
Look for the popular brands of soil amendments, such as Lesco Carbon Pro G, Kelp4Less, N-Ext (Green County Fertilizer), and others. High quality is essential for keeping a healthy lawn.
When is the best time to fertilize your lawn?
Now let’s decide exactly when is the best time to fertilize your lawn with maximum efficiency and minimum risk for your lawn.
1. Before a light rain
Look through the weather forecast.
If you are sure, it is time to fertilize your lawn a few days before a light rain. You can use both granular and liquid fertilizers. However, you can never predict the weather exactly, so it is not the best variant for lawn fertilizer application.
2. After a heavy rain
A few days after heavy rainfall is the best time to fertilize the lawn.
It is more reliable than predicting the possible rain. Moreover, it is not only convenient but also more eco-friendly for your lawn care. If there is no excess water, the lawn fertilizer will not pollute your backyard.
How long before it rains should you put down fertilizer?
The best idea is to fertilize your lawn 1-2 days before the rainfall.
If you are sure about the weather forecast, do this. It is enough time to have the desired effect of lawn fertilizing.
What if it rains right after I fertilize?
On the one hand, it is a good thought to fertilize your lawn before it rains.
As for non-foliar fertilizers, good rainfall helps them to get in the soil and dissolve faster.
On the other hand, the torrential downpour can wash out the nutrients before they get into the soil and feed the root system. So, be aware of the weather forecast if it tells about soon heavy rains.
Is it OK to fertilize a wet lawn?
It is not a good idea to fertilize a wet lawn.
When you apply fertilizer to wet grass, it can easily make dark green grass streaks. When the granular fertilizer is spread through a lawn spreader, it just sticks to the wet plants.
However, you can do it provided that you will water the lawn immediately, so the granular fertilizer can be spread more evenly to the soil.
When should you not fertilize your lawn?
There are two times when you should not fertilize your lawn:
1. During a drought
The grass is stressed from high temperatures and dry surroundings, so feeding is just a waste of fertilizer. Even with proper watering, it will not work as well as you need.
2. Before a heavy rainfall
A strong downpour hurts the freshly-applied fertilizer. Too much rain can just run off the lawn fertilizer or concentrated it in some areas with steady water. Thus, run-off can cause mini water pollution in your backyard.
Moreover, your lawn gets more nitrogen from the rainwater.
It is essential for healthy growth and keeping your lawn grass green.
When the healthy lawn gets some additional nutrients, it is the most effective way of feeding plants. The fertilization process is now effective for healthy grass and a strong root system.
How to feed your lawn after a rainfall
Here are some more tips for applying fertilizer after a good rain:
1. Wait a day or so after a rainfall
Do not rush with applying fertilizer. When the pools of water will be gone, it is high time to add a lawn fertilizer. The ground is still wet enough to work best with lawn fertilizer.
2. Do not apply fertilizer on the wet grass
If the grass blades are still wet, wait until they get dry enough. However, liquid fertilizer application is safer in this way.
3. Check the weather forecast
Make sure that no other rainfall is predicted for the next few days. Sunny weather works best, as sunshine makes the process of photosynthesis. It is the easiest natural way to improve the fertilizer effect and create healthy growth of your lawn grass.
What about the Catch-can test?
Here is one more way to make sure that you can fertilize the lawn.
Put some empty cans around your lawn before you start watering. This is an easy way to measure exactly how much time you need to fill up each can, around a quarter inch. This measurement shows how the lawn can absorb the nutrients to the root system.
Fertilizing and immediate watering can help you to work best without any reference to rainfall. In addition, when you control the water level, you can protect your lawn from extra after-rain pollution.
What time of day is the best for feeding the lawn?
The best way is to apply fertilizer early in the morning. When the air temperatures rise, they can boost the nitrogen and burn your grass.
The late evening is also good. But if the temperatures drop too much, there is some risk of other problems.
Make sure your lawn absorbs the fertilizer before the highest heat of the day.
Should you fertilize before or after a rain?
A few days after heavy rainfall is the best time to fertilize the lawn. It is more reliable than predicting the possible rain. Moreover, it is not only convenient but also more eco-friendly for your lawn care. If there is no excess water, the lawn fertilizer will not pollute your backyard.
What happens if you fertilize before rain?
The torrential downpour can wash out the nutrients before they get into the soil and feed the root system. So, be aware of the weather forecast if it tells about soon heavy rains.
Is it OK to put fertilizer on wet grass?
It is not a good idea to fertilize a wet lawn. When you apply fertilizer to wet grass, it can easily make dark green grass streaks. When the granular fertilizer is spread through a lawn spreader, it just sticks to the wet plants.
What time of day should I fertilize my lawn?
The best way is to apply fertilizer early in the morning. When the air temperatures rise, they can boost the nitrogen and burn your grass. The late evening is also good. But if the temperatures drop too much, there is some risk of other problems.
As you can see, you should know more about the weather’s role in fertilizing your lawn grass. Some useful information about the types of fertilizer, and their functions, help you to choose the right type for your lawn to keep it healthy.
And now, that you know how to feed your lawn, you can decide what is the best time to fertilize the lawn: before or after rain falls.