Fertilizer smell can be reduced by watering in pelleted chicken manure, covering with well-rotted compost or use well aged manures. The longer the manures are aged, the less they will smell. Cover fertilizers with mulch like bark chips or hay to reduce the distance the smell travels. Water the fertilizer every day for 3 days to get rid of the smell quickly.
Top 4 ways to get rid of fertilizer smell
1. Water it in
Watering fertilizer into your soil and garden is the best way to help to reduce the smell. Each time you water you will wash the ingredients down to incorporate into your soil. The smell will slowly disappear over a few days.
Water each day for the best results. This is particularly important for pelleted chicken manure, fish emulsion and seaweed solution. Liquid fertilizers that contain natural ingredients can have a lingering smell so water them in well.
2. Cover with mulch
Cover all fertilizers whether they are natural or synthetic with a layer of mulch to help to stop the smell. Layer 2-3 inches of bark mulch, sugar cane or straw. This will speed up the breakdown process that will naturally occur with soil bacteria breaking down the fertilizer.
Mulch will also block the smell that comes up from the soil. Combine this with regular water and you will quickly get rid of the fertilizer smell in your garden.
3. Dig it into the soil
Dig fertilizer like cow manure, sheep manure and pelleted chicken manure into the soil to block the smell. When preparing your vegetable or flower garden beds, dig through these natural fertilizers that have been aged. This will mask the smell and feed your soil and plants at the same time.
You can plant directly into the soil if the fertilizers are aged manures or processed. Surround your plant with mulch and water in well. Fertilizer that has been dug into the soil will smell less and break down quicker.
4. Use well aged manures
Using well aged manures will help to reduce the smell in your yard. Any fresh manure will have a strong smell but manures that have been aged and packaged up or aged in your own compost will smell less.
I buy aged cow manure which still has a smell which resembles soil and fertilizer. The difference is that it will stop smelling after around 1 day. I simply water it in well and cover it with mulch.
Fresh manure should not be added to your garden without breaking it down in compost first. Chicken manure, sheep, cow and pigeon manure will burn your plant roots if added in fresh.
Never add any cat or dog poo to your garden as this could carry pathogens. These can be broken down in specialized in ground compost container.
Get rid of pelleted chicken manure smell
Pelleted chicken manure can be one of the smelliest, natural fertilizers you can apply. While it is fantastic for your garden, it can have a lingering smell. To get rid of chicken pellet manure smell, water it in immediately with your garden sprayer or watering can. Cover the pelleted chicken manure with mulch 2-3 inches thick which will also block the smell transfer.
Digging pelleted chicken manure in the soil is also a fantastic way to reduce the smell and how far it travels.
Get rid of cow manure smell
When adding cow manure to your garden it is best to use manure that has aged. Allowing fresh cow manure to break down in your compost heap mixed with other ingredients is a great way to reduce the smell.
Mix it in with dry materials like fall leaves and hay and allow it to break down for at least 6 months. Once the manure resembles soil and has been broken down by bacteria it will smell like soil and be great for your garden.
Get rid of synthetic fertilizer smell
Synthetic or non-natural fertilizers can smell when applied to your garden. Many high nitrogen lawn fertilizers can smell bad when you first spread them on.
When using synthetic fertilizers, water them in immediately as any that sit on plant or lawn leaves can cause damage or burn. IT is also important water them in and avoid walking on them for at least 24 hours until they have washed down into the soil.
Dogs can be attracted to these fertilizers so do not use them in areas your dog can access. Dogs can get sick if they consume any fertilizer.
Get rid of liquid fertilizer smell
Liquid fertilizers can smell very strong. I use liquid fish emulsion as fertilizer and it has a very strong fishy smell. This however only lasts the afternoon as I water it in. Liquid fertilizers will generally smell less as they will quickly work their way through the soil.
After applying liquid fertilizer, water it in with a watering can or hose with a sprayer nozzle. This will reduce any smells quickly and reduce the chance or the rich fertilizers damaging plant roots.
Bone meal fertilizer smell
One of the smelliest but most beneficial natural fertilizers for your garden is blood and bone meal. This is made from animal remains so has an incredibly strong smell. While this is good for your garden you will definitely notice the smell.
To help to reduce the smell you can mix it first in a bucket of water. Mix through seaweed solution for an extra boost. You can then pour the mix over your soil and it will smell less.
It is best not to add the mix to your watering can as it can stick up the nozzle ends due to the larger pieces contained in the bone meal.
How to get rid of fertilizer smell | Summary
Fertilizers can be a smell but essential addition to your garden. If you are using natural fertilizers you can definitely notice the smell. I recommend watering in all fertilizer which will reduce the smell quicker and reduce the risk of the plants taking on any damage from rich fertilizer elements.
Dig fertilizers into the soil if you are preparing your bed. This will hide the smell under the soil and feed your plants well. Top the soil with mulch and you will reduce the smell of your fertilizer.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.