Fertilize before watering your trees, shrubs, vegetables, or fruit trees. When you water your garden after you fertilize, it will start to release the nutrients into the soil and help to prevent the roots of the plants from being burnt. If you are adding fertilizer to your lawn, make sure you water it in well to prevent the lawn shoots and leaves from burning.
How soon to water your garden after fertilizing
You should water your garden straight after fertilizing. This will help to release the nutrients, prevent leaf or root burn and stop it from blowing away in the wind. Even when I apply liquid fertilizer, I will water it in with a watering can or hose.
The amount of water that you add with liquid fertilizer is not enough to give the plant a deep water. It also helps to water down the liquid fertilizer in case you accidentally added too much to the individual plant. Organic liquid fertilizer is a gentle fertilizer so it will lower the risk of root and leaf burn. Watering it in will make it sure that there is no risk of damage.
Fertilizing your garden after rain
Fertilizing your trees, vegetables and shrubs after rain also has its benefits. The best time to fertilize your plants can often be when you have time and when you remember. If you are a weekend gardener like me, then it is better to add fertilizer at the time you remember even if it has just rained. The soil will be ready to take up nutrients and as long as there aren’t puddles then it will be fine.
I will add a fish emulsion or liquid fertilizer and seaweed solution monthly to my vegetables, trees, and shrubs. I will also add slower release, pelletized chicken manure every season, to keep my garden growing well.
When I plant out new vegetables, I will always add some pelletized chicken manure to the soil and dig it in as well as compost and worm castings if I have them. I replant my vegetable garden fully twice per year, in spring and fall the garden will have extra fertilizer added at these times. Between this I will add organic liquid fertilizer monthly or whenever I remember.
Watering after applying liquid fertilizer
Always water plants after applying liquid fertilizer. I live in a warm area, so it is a good opportunity to give the plants a good water. If I only add the amount of water needed to mix up the fertilizer, it will not be enough to give the plant a deep water. Shallow watering can encourage roots to stay near the surface, so trees and shrubs won’t develop the deep root system that will help support them in the long term.
Top Tip: Don’t add too much water after applying liquid fertilizer as you may cause it to run off and it won’t help the plant. If you are using an inorganic fertilizer, then the runoff can reach drains and waterways and be damaging to the environment.
Applying liquid fertilizer before rain
You can add liquid fertilizer to the plants before rain. If you are certain it will rain in the next hour or so, you can add a liquid feed to your garden which will be watered in by the rain. The only time you shouldn’t add liquid fertilizer to your garden before rain is if you live in a tropical area or if the rain is going to be very heavy. This will just wash away the fertilizer from your plants.
Fertilizing lawn when it’s wet
If you are using non-organic granular lawn food it is best not to fertilize your lawn when it is wet. If you are using liquid or organic fertilizers, you can fertilize your lawn when it is wet but it is best to water it in afterwards so it doesn’t sit for too long on the lawn shoots.
Granular lawn food
It is best not to fertilize your lawn with granular lawn food when it is wet. Non-organic fertilizers can stick to the leaves, which can activate the granules and burn your lawn. You may see the lawn turn yellow or brown on the tips. To solve this, you will need to make sure you water the fertilizer in and wash the granules off the leaf blades.
You can add liquid fertilizer when the lawn is wet. The only exception is if you have heavy clay soil. The fertilizer may sit on the surface of the soil and run off into drains and waterways. It is best to wait until the conditions are dryer to use liquid fertilizer on your lawn.
Organic Fertilizers – Compost, fish emulsion and liquid seaweed tonic
Organic fertilizers can be applied to lawn when it is wet. These are a great choice as they are a mild fertilizer, that is easily absorbed by your lawn and is less concentrated that synthetic fertilizers.
You can top-dress your lawn with an organic compost mix by simply raking a thin layer over the top. To help the compost to reach the soil and roots, prick the lawn with a fork or lawn aerator. This is a great process to do once per year, in spring to keep your lawn looking great.
You can spray on a mix of fish emulsion fertilizer and liquid seaweed throughout the year. I like to do this in the early morning and evening so that the sun won’t dry the fertilizer onto the leaf blades. Liquid seaweed is a fantastic root tonic, not technically a fertilizer but it will increase the good microbial activity in your soil and support great lawn growth.
Organic fertilizers are great for your lawn and a good option if you are trying to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals in your home. You can also buy slow-release lawn fertilizer, made from organic materials which will release the nutrients over time and will need to be applied less often than liquid feeds.
How long to stay off grass after you fertilize
It is best to keep everyone including kids, dogs, and cats off lawn for 48 hours after fertilizing if you are using an inorganic fertilizer. If you are using an organic fertilizer, is best to be watered in and left for 1-2 days to break down and be absorbed by your lawn.
Organic fertilizer still contains bacteria and microbes so if you let people or pets onto the lawn, it may end up sticking to their feet and clothes and they can bring it into your house which can be quite a mess to clean up.
Fertilizing in the rain
You can fertilize in the rain if you are using an organic fertilizer. The rain will cause it to stick to your hands and clothes so if you give your hands and yourself a good wash afterwards you can fertilize plants in the rain. Fertilizing in the rain will make the job a bit trickier as the organic fertilizer will be more difficult to spread.
If you are using an inorganic fertilizer, I suggest waiting until the rain has stopped and the water has dried. This will avoid any leaf damage in case the fertilizer sticks to them, will make it easier to spread and avoid fertilizer run off.
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.