Not all soils are made equally, and some may need a bit of help to support lawn growth. Have you ever noticed potted plant soil refusing to soak up water and leaving it on the surface? This same phenomenon can happen to your lawn. Soils can be hydrophobic, meaning they repel water instead of attracting it. Drought-stricken and naturally hydrophobic soils can put up a fight when watered, but that’s why lawn care specialists rely on wetting agents! Let’s explore how these powerful solutions can transform Maine turf by ensuring optimal water absorption and promoting healthy growth.


Wetting agents, or surfactants, are water additives designed to reduce the surface tension between the soil and water. They’re used by gardeners, lawn owners, and lawn care professionals to solve water absorption problems and promote healthy lawn growth. Wetting agents can be manufactured from natural materials like seaweed or synthetic substances like polyacrylamides.


Wetting agents lower the surface tension to allow water and other liquids to be absorbed easier into the earth. Lawn wetting agents act similarly to your hand soap at home. Soap helps water molecules become smaller to break through tough materials like oil and dirt. Like soap surfactants, lawn surfactants help the water molecules shrink and spread within the soil. So while sandy soil might be hydrophobic, a lawn wetting agent can help soil better tolerate water.


There are several times throughout the growing season when you might benefit from a wetting agent. Your lawn will make the most of a surfactant application when water is having difficulty penetrating the soil. Dry climates and droughts increase the hydrophobic property of soil. So if your soil is cracked, flaky, and unable to absorb rainwater, a wetting agent can help combat the dryness. It will also break through compacted soil and improve nutrient, water, and air movement.

You can also add a wetting agent to the soil before installing new turf. The best times to install new turf in Maine are early fall and spring, so applying a wetting agent during these months can give your new grass an extra boost. Once you lay down the new turf, watering your lawn will activate the wetting agent and encourage your grass roots to establish themselves.


There are several benefits to introducing a lawn wetting agent to your lawn care routine. Take a look at four ways you’ll see wetting agents positively impact your lawn.

  1. Improved water retention – Water retention is the primary benefit your lawn will reap from lawn-wetting agents – after all, that’s what they’re made to do! Your soil will better absorb water like a sponge rather than leaving it on the surface. This benefit is why applying a wetting agent before rain is the best option to maximize the product’s use. It’ll be prepared to retain and distribute rainwater throughout the soil layers.
  2. Increased efficiency of fertilizers and herbicides – Surfactants also improve the absorption of fertilizers and herbicides so they can be used to the best of their ability. When you apply fertilizers or herbicides, you want to ensure that they reach the root zone and are effectively absorbed by the plants. Many fertilizers and pesticides are liquid-based, meaning they might also need help to absorb into the soil. Plus, soil conditions such as hydrophobic or compact soils have difficulty soaking up lawn care products. A wetting agent will allow the liquids to seep in so your grass accesses the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and disease-resistant.
  3. Reduced runoff – Reducing runoff is another valuable benefit of adding a wetting agent to your lawn. The runoff of pollutants is a critically impactful side effect of lawn care that can disturb your local ecosystems and damage nearby water sources. Wetting agents can reduce the chances of runoff by limiting how far wastewater will travel. Instead of streaming into lakes and rivers, it’s more likely to absorb into the soil beforehand. So not only will it benefit your lawn, but it will also support the environment!
  4. Greener turf growth – Wetting agents also benefit your lawn by aiding them in growing greener and fuller. Many homeowners aim to achieve a vibrant and lush green lawn, and wetting agents can play a valuable role in meeting this goal. It’s impossible to achieve a vibrant lawn without adequate watering and fertilizing. So if your soil isn’t allowing these essential elements to break the surface, a wetting agent can help. The increase in moisture provided by wetting agents contributes to your lawn’s overall health and aesthetic appeal, allowing you to enjoy a stunning and healthy green landscape.


Lawn wetting agents are often overlooked, but every homeowner should consider adding them to their lawn care routine. Wetting agents can be valuable if your lawn is weak and dehydrated. They help the soil retain moisture and improve the efficiency of lawn care applications. In addition, they prevent toxic runoff and avoid the pollution of local bodies of water. But their benefits aren’t only functional; they also aid in beautifying your yard by producing lush green grass.

Wetting agents are an excellent way to green up your lawn, but we recommend seeking a professional lawn care team for applications. If you’re unsure if a wetting agent is right for your lawn needs, your local lawn care company can assist in evaluating your soil and providing effective lawn care solutions. Finally, lawn care experts are a wealth of information, so keep in touch with yours to guarantee a vibrant lawn all season long.

Northern Turf Management delivers results with the most effective, modern lawn care methods. Our Maine lawn care team strives to keep local lawns prospering with high-quality lawn care. If you believe your lawn will benefit from wetting agents, contact us at (207) 544-9420 to learn more about our professional application services today.