Urea fertilizer is a stable, organic fertilizer than can improve the quality of your soil, provide nitrogen to your plants, and increase the yield of your crops.You can usually get it in a dry, granular form. There are several benefits to using urea as a fertilizer, but urea is not without its disadvantages. Knowing how to properly apply urea fertilizer to your soil and how urea interacts with other fertilizers can help you avoid these disadvantages and get as much benefit out of your fertilizer as possible.
Minimize ammonia loss by applying urea on a cool day. Urea is best applied on a cool day, in weather between 32° to 60° F (0°-15.6° C), and with little to no wind. At colder temperatures, the ground is frozen, making it difficult to incorporate the urea into the soil. At higher temperatures, and in windy conditions, the urea is broken down faster than it can soak into the soil.
Use a urea fertilizer with a urease inhibitor before planting. Urease is the enzyme that begins the chemical reaction that turns urea into the nitrates plants need. Applying urea fertilizers before planting leads to high amounts of the urea being lost before it can benefit your plants. Using a fertilizer with a urease inhibitor can slow the chemical reaction, and helps retain urea in the soil.
Spread the urea evenly across the soil. Urea is packaged and sold as small, solid pellets or granules. Broadcast the urea with a fertilizer spreader or sprinkle the pellets by hand evenly across your soil. For most plants, you will want to keep the urea close to the plant’s roots, or close to where you will plant the seeds.
Wet the soil. Before urea is turned into the nitrates your plants need, it first becomes ammonia gas. Because gases can easily escape from the surface of the soil, applying fertilizer when the ground is wet will help to incorporate the urea into the soil before the chemical reaction begins. This way, more of the ammonia is trapped within the soil.
The top half inch (1.3 cm) of soil should be wet to keep as much ammonia gas in the soil as possible. You can water the soil yourself, apply the urea before it rains, or apply within 48 hours after the snow on your fields has completely melted.