Fertilizer in the Rain?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by adamc6, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. adamc6

    adamc6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I was wondering if it's okay to put down fertilizer onto wet ground or if it's going to rain later the same day. I will be using common fertilizer. Please let me know. thanks guys.

  2. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Sure as long as you have a cover for your spreader and it's not raining real hard. I did most of my second pre-m apps in the rain.
  3. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 472

    Fertilizer must be brought into the grass root zone to be most effective. Rain or irregation performs that fucntion. Not going to matter if it rains while fertilizing or after the job is done. If fact some fertilizers can volatilize if not watered into the soil within 2-3 days following app. Illinois extension service recommends not applying herbicides before (or during) real heavy rain storms. Their concern is run-off and pollution/contamination. So weed and feed can be applied in rain, but you should hold off if the predicted rain is going to be particularly heavy.


    If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence then just move the darn fence.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    You can certainly apply fert. in the rain. In fact, it's even better because many fertilizers need to be watered in before they take effect.

    HOWEVER, you must be careful for iron stains. A good fertilizer will contain at least trace amounts of iron (the one we use has 2%) and that will stain the heck out of a nice driveway or sidewalk on a rainy day. If it's raining really hard, you'll want someone blowing as you fertilize around walkways and driveways. If it's just overcast and about-to-rain, then you just need to blow real well after you are done.
  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Like the gents said, it is ok to do but I personally find it difficult. I have a Bigfoot spreader with a raincap but I use the cap for a safety in case it takes an unforseen bounce. If you absolutely have to fert in the rain, make sure you keep your product and your spreader hopper dry. Also realize that humidity effects the distribution of the fertilizer also.
    Also do as Jim said and blow the walks and drives every time you fertilize. Its the low class operators who walk away from a walk and driveway full of fertilizer. It is the professional thing to do. Use it as a selling point that you care.Good Luck
  6. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    You can do some damage to the leaf of turf when spreading urea prills on wet turf. They tend to stick to the leaf blade and roll down when the blades are wet. This can burn the blade somewhat. Use caution or liquid.

  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Old thread....New bump. In 2002 a career in Lawn Care never remotely crossed my mind. :laugh:

    Anyhow....weather issues rain and the wind factor continue to be a dodge ball factor for keeping a schedule...at least for me.

    In the last few weeks I read some place on how a poster here said fertilizer spreads well in the rain...:confused:

    Even if the product doesn't have any Iron compounds....most bags say to NOT apply when walks and drives are wet...?
  8. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,376

    Any weed-n-feed that requires moist foliage for best results would not yield best results, if applied in rain. Systemic weed-n-feed, sure,,,, but inches of expected rain is important to any application.
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  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    I do not do apps in the rain. #1 most of my fert contains Fe and I don't want sidewalk stains. #2 you cannot blow the prills off the sidewalk when wet, they just stick and its a big mess.
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    It is so difficult to keep the fertilizer dry enough to spread. A half full spreader on the back of a pickup as you drive 50 miles per hour in a driving rain. Yuck! Most spreader covers (like Lesco) are nylon around the outside with a bungi cord inside. But the nylon is not waterproof (except in a light mist). And if the spreader isn't moving, a couple gallons of water collects on top of the rain-cover until it gets deep enough to penetrate the green nylon along the border and water leaks down. Once wet, you cannot spread the fertilizer, nor can you legally dispose of it, especially if there is crabgrass control chemical in it.

    Are you listening Jeff K. at Earthway?
    I wish you had an engineer who could invent a spreader that would stay dry, and be useful even after a good rain while I am driving. Or eating lunch with a tall cup of coffee--waiting for the rain to quit.

    A better rain cover than Lesco would be a sales point--wouldn't it?

    And what about a Teflon impeller so fertilizer would never stick.
    Last edited: May 4, 2014

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