A Guide to Watering Your Lawn After Fertilizing

As garden enthusiasts, we understand the importance of watering our lawns, regardless of the type of grass we have. Whether we choose to water by hand, use a sprinkler system, or rely on natural rainfall, watering is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn.

In addition to water, our lawns also require essential nutrients like nitrogen, which can be obtained through the application of fertilizers. However, a common question arises: when and how should we water our lawns after fertilizing? After all, we don’t want to wash away all the efforts we put into spreading the fertilizer.

To answer these questions and more, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on watering lawns after fertilization. So, let’s dive in!

Why Water After Fertilizing?

Maintaining a proper watering schedule is essential for the overall health of your lawn. Without sufficient water, the grass becomes weak and dormant, making it difficult for any fertilizer application to stick. This applies to all types of fertilizers, including quick-release and slow-release, liquid and granular, as well as organic materials.

Watering your lawn after fertilizing serves several important purposes:

  1. Pushes fertilizer into the soil: Watering helps wash the fertilizer from the grass blades and pushes it into the soil, allowing the nutrients to nourish the soil surface.
  2. Prevents burning: Adequate watering prevents burning, which occurs when the grass dries out and turns brown.
  3. Prevents overfertilization: Watering after fertilization helps prevent overfertilization, which can lead to brown spots, dead patches, fungal diseases, and root burn.
  4. Protects the environment: If you live near surface water sources like ponds, lakes, or rivers, it is crucial to water your lawn after fertilizing to prevent the excess fertilizer from polluting these ecosystems.
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Should You Water Before Applying Lawn Fertilizer?

Providing a deep watering to your lawn a day or two before applying fertilizer can enhance nutrient absorption. However, it is essential to read the fertilizer instructions to determine the best application method. Some brands, like Scotts, allow application to dry lawns, but watering the soil beforehand can improve nutrient absorption.

When Should I Water My Lawn After Fertilizing?

The timing of watering your lawn after fertilizing depends on the type of fertilizer used:

  • Liquid fertilizer: Wait until the fertilizer is dry before watering, usually around 2 to 4 hours.
  • Granular fertilizer: Water immediately after application, unless you have also applied chemical herbicide. In that case, you should wait for it to dry completely before watering.

However, for optimal results, it is recommended to wait at least 24 hours before watering your lawn after fertilizing. This allows the fertilizer enough time to settle in and ensures proper activation of the nutrients. After the 24-hour mark, give your turf a thorough soak, making sure to provide generous watering to activate the fertilizer nutrients and wash away any excess accumulation on the grass blades.

How to Water Liquid Fertilizer?

When it comes to liquid fertilizer, there’s no need to water separately. Simply spray the fertilizer on your lawn and let it sit. You can apply liquid fertilizer using a garden hose end sprayer or a sprinkler system. Start by watering your entire lawn a day or two before the application. Once the grass is dry, apply the liquid fertilizer, and wait for it to dry before watering your turf.

How to Dissolve and Water Granular Fertilizer?

If you prefer to use granular fertilizer, you can dissolve it in water and apply it as liquid fertilizer. Dissolving the granules helps provide essential nutrients to your lawn more quickly. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Gather the necessary items such as a bucket, measuring cup, and stirrer.
  2. Calculate the amount of liquid fertilizer you need based on the amount of granular fertilizer you have. Generally, one cup of granular fertilizer makes around 8 to 16 gallons of liquid fertilizer.
  3. Soak the granules in water for approximately 24 to 48 hours, then strain the leftover solids.
  4. Your granular liquid fertilizer is now ready to spray on your lawn.
Further reading:  Applying Fertilizer to Wet Grass: What You Need to Know

Let Nature Help: Using Rain to Water Your Lawn

Before applying fertilizer, check the local weather forecast. If it predicts at least 1/4 inch of rain, consider letting nature water your lawn for you. Rainfall provides a good, even cover for your entire lawn. However, be cautious if heavy rain is expected, as excessive water can wash away the fertilizer.

What to Do After Fertilizing and Watering?

After the initial watering, take a break from watering your lawn for a few days. This allows the nutrients to settle in the soil. Once the break is over, resume your regular watering schedule, considering factors like grass type, region, and environmental conditions. Aim to water once or twice a week after fertilization, gradually increasing it to three to four times a week after two weeks. Make sure to moisten the top 1.5 inches of soil without causing it to become soggy, which can lead to root rot.

Should I Water My Lawn After Grasscycling?

Grasscycling, a natural approach to lawn care, involves leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Grass clippings decompose and provide nutrients, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers. To water after grasscycling, wait for the clippings to decompose, then water thoroughly and infrequently.

What Happens if You Don’t Water After Fertilization?

Failing to water your lawn after fertilization can result in various issues:

  • Leaf burn: Accumulated fertilizer on the grass blades can cause the leaves to turn brown and wilt.
  • Poor-quality fertilizer: Without water, the nutrients in the fertilizer may deteriorate, leading to poor-quality fertilizer that lacks the necessary nutrients for healthy grass.

To avoid these problems, it is crucial to water your lawn immediately after fertilization. Waiting until the end of the day is generally safe, allowing the fertilizer enough time to work its magic without risking the health of the lawn.

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What Time of Day to Water Lawn After Fertilization?

When it comes to watering your lawn, timing is everything. Watering early in the morning, preferably before 10:00 am, is recommended. At this time, the weather is cooler, reducing the risk of water evaporation and allowing the soil and grass roots to absorb the water effectively. In contrast, watering later in the day or at night increases the chances of the fertilizer blowing away or water evaporating rapidly.

Keep in mind that watering frequency depends on your lawn, grass type, and region. Start with once or twice a week after fertilization and adjust as needed. Remember to maintain soil moisture but avoid over-saturation, as it can lead to root rot.

How to Apply Fertilizer?

Applying fertilizer may seem simple, but it requires careful consideration. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Select the right fertilizer: Choose a fertilizer that suits your grass type.
  2. Create a fertilizer schedule: Develop a schedule that covers the entire growing season, applying fertilizer in early spring and avoiding the hottest parts of summer.
  3. Apply the fertilizer: You can either apply it by hand or use a spreader. Using a spreader ensures even coverage and reduces the risk of burning.
  4. Follow package instructions: Each fertilizer is unique, so refer to the package instructions for application guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Watering your lawn after fertilizing is essential for preventing burn and promoting grass health. It ensures that the soil absorbs the necessary nutrients properly. After applying fertilizer, wait for it to dry before watering, and then stick to a regular watering schedule based on your lawn’s needs. By following these guidelines, you can achieve a lush and healthy lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood. So, grab your hose or sprinkler, and let’s give your lawn the care it deserves!

For further information on lawn care and fertilizers, visit Ames Farm Center.