How To Use Weed And Seed

After the recent warm weather, I am beginning to see signs of life in my yard. I am also starting to get calls from homeowners with questions about weed and feed fertilizers, and when is the best time to apply them to the lawn. The answer depends upon the type of weed and feed fertilizer … Tips for Liquid Weed & Feed. Weed and feed is a type of fertilizer formula that contains herbicide to kill weeds while providing nutrients to your lawn. They are available in liquid and granule formulas, but liquids are ideal for ensuring total coverage of the weeds and often work more rapidly. Liquid weed and … When to apply pre-emergent? This is one of the most frequent questions you hear each spring. Here's what you need to know!

When Is the Best Time to Use Weed and Feed Fertilizers?

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After the recent warm weather, I am beginning to see signs of life in my yard. I am also starting to get calls from homeowners with questions about weed and feed fertilizers, and when is the best time to apply them to the lawn. The answer depends upon the type of weed and feed fertilizer you get.

Fertilizers that contain weed killers are divided into pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergent herbicides, as the name suggests, prevent weed seeds from germinating. With pre-emergent weed killers, it is critical that the material be applied prior to weed seed germination.

Now (early spring) is the time to apply the weed and feed if you are trying to control many summer weeds. The exception would be if you were trying to control crabgrass. Crabgrass preventer should be applied in mid-April, which is too late to include a fertilizer application on cool season lawns.

Most of the weed and feed fertilizers you see in the stores now contain a post-emergent weed killer. In order for these post-emergent herbicides to work, the weed must be actively growing at the time of application. So, if you apply a post-emergent weed and feed now, you will only kill weeds that are up at this time and it will have no effect on weeds coming up later.

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By the time summer weeds are up in the lawn, it will be too late to apply a weed and feed since fertilizer applications are not recommended in summer on cool season lawns. Post-emergent weed and feeds can also damage established ornamentals if they are applied under the wrong conditions, such as temperatures above 90 degrees F.

Both pre and postemergent weed and feeds may damage newly seeded lawns. There may also be other restrictions on when and how to apply these materials. Read the label carefully when purchasing any product containing weed killers or any pesticides.

Tips for Liquid Weed & Feed

Weed and feed is a type of fertilizer formula that contains herbicide to kill weeds while providing nutrients to your lawn. They are available in liquid and granule formulas, but liquids are ideal for ensuring total coverage of the weeds and often work more rapidly. Liquid weed and feeds are mixed with water and generally easy to apply, but there are some tips that ensure application is done safely and effectively.

Selection

Choose a weed and feed product with a high nitrogen content, but that also contains potassium and phosphorus. While grass needs nitrogen to grow lush and green, a weed and feed product that contains 100 percent nitrogen is more likely to burn your lawn. The additional nutrients provide their own benefits to your grass, while diluting the concentration of nitrogen.

Timing

Weed and feed kills existing weeds, but it does not prevent weeds in your lawn so proper timing of the application is important to avoid wasting your efforts. Apply weed and feed while it is warm, but before it is too hot. If liquid weed and feed is applied too early in the growing season, such as early spring, it will not kill the weeds because they’re not growing actively enough for the growth hormone in the weed and feed formula to cause enough of a shock to kill them. Applying it early is a wasted effort, and applying it at the height of summer may damage your lawn. The best time to apply a weed and feed product is either late May to early June, or early September as evenings begin to cool.

Application Technique

Apply liquid weed and feed over your entire lawn using a sprayer. Spray in wide, sweeping motions and do not apply more than one or two sweeps to a single area. Keep an eye out for low spots or corners, where runoff can accumulate. Apply lightly around these areas to avoid damaging surrounding plants and soil. Do not apply liquid weed and feed only to the soil. Herbicides must be absorbed through the leaves of the weeds, so the spray must be in contact with the weeds for 24 to 48 hours. Soaking the soil only wastes the product because the weed killer in the formula is not touching the leaves. Mowing the grass before application should be avoided because it removes the leaves that would absorb the herbicide.

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Ideal Conditions

Apply weed and feed when you have at least 2 inches of new growth and when weather is clear, with no rain forecasted for several days. Windy conditions can cause the weed and feed to drift across your lawn, where it may contact trees or valuable shrubs and perennials. If it rains in the 48 hours after application, the weed killer will be ineffective. Even a light shower can ruin your efforts.

Post Application

Weed and feed requires enough time to absorb fully into the weeds so mowing is not recommended for at least a week. After this period, hand-pull any weeds that survived the application, making sure to remove the entire root. Do not apply more weed and feed to kill these. Once the weeds are removed, you can mow your grass without redistributing their seeds. To ensure that future weeds don’t crop up, make sure you provide the right conditions for weed-free growth, such as adequate sun, water and proper mowing.

  • PBI Gordon Corporation: Liquid Weed and Feed 15-0-0
  • Hewitt’s: Crabgrass Preventer vs. Weed Killer

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the “Community Press” newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.

Solved! When to Apply Pre-Emergent to Prevent a Weedy Lawn and Garden

Stop weeds before they get a foothold by applying a pre-emergent herbicide at the right time.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Oct 25, 2021 11:04 AM

Q: When should I apply pre-emergent weed control?

A: Knowing when to apply pre-emergent herbicide can mean the difference between having a lush, weed-free lawn or a yard riddled with dandelions and other unwanted plants.

Pre-emergent weed killers fit into a particular group of herbicides that don’t kill unwanted plants. Instead, they stop the seeds of unwanted plants from sprouting in the first place. Various pre-emergent products are available for lawns, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. However, applying them too early can keep beneficial seeds from sprouting, and applying them too late won’t do any good. Ahead, learn when to use pre-emergent and when not to.

Early spring and fall are the most effective times to apply pre-emergent herbicides.

Applying a pre-emergent herbicide will prevent seeds from sprouting, but the most effective times to use it are in the spring and again in the fall.

  • Early spring application: By treating lawns and perennial flower beds in early spring, gardeners can drastically reduce the number of annual summer weeds such as crabgrass, foxtail, and sandbur, which germinate in late spring. However, this is not the time to treat the soil in a garden or annual flower bed where beneficial seeds, such as flowers, corn, cucumbers, or squash, will be sown. Pre-emergents don’t keep just unwanted seeds from sprouting—they keep all seeds from germinating, so hold off on using the product in a garden or flower bed until the desired plants sprout and begin to grow.
  • Fall application: A lawn might appear virtually weed-free going into fall but then weeds suddenly appear. The pre-emergent applied in spring is no longer protecting the yard by this time, and a few invasive weed seed varieties, such as henbit and chickweed, are lying in wait for cooler temps before sprouting. After sprouting, these hardy weeds will remain small, perhaps even unnoticeable, throughout the winter. Still, next year, they’ll revive in spring and grow with a vengeance. By then, it’s too late to use a pre-emergent—a post-emergent herbicide is necessary at that point.
See also  Is Selling Weed Seeds Illegal

Some jobs are better left to the pros. Receive free, no-commitment estimate from licensed lawn service professionals near you.

Apply spring pre-emergent when the soil temperature is around 55 degrees or above.

Rather than setting a specific date for applying a pre-emergent, a good rule of thumb is to use pre-emergent when spring soil temperatures are around 55 degrees for at least 48 hours. Directions don’t always apply, because the climate varies from region to region. In southern USDA growing zones, such as Louisiana, this means around the first of March, while the temps will be more conducive to applying a pre-emergent in North Dakota when June arrives.

In the fall, it’s also a good idea to apply a pre-emergent when the soil temp cools to around 55 degrees. This usually corresponds with daytime temperatures that range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, indicating the soil is cooling to the temps at which cold weather seeds prepare to sprout.

Granules or liquid formulations are the two primary types of pre-emergent herbicides.

Both types of pre-emergent herbicides, liquid and granular, work in the same way to keep weed seeds from sprouting, and choosing one is often more about personal preference.

  • Liquid: Easy to apply with a pump-type garden sprayer, liquid pre-emergent herbicides are available either in full-strength products or as concentrates that require diluting in water before using.
  • Granular: Resembling tiny grains, granular pre-emergent products are applied using a drop spreader, a broadcast spreader, or even by shaking the granules onto the soil with a cup. Using a spreader works best for even coverage on large areas, such as lawns. Still, gardeners might prefer sprinkling the granules around established plants in a vegetable or flower garden using a cup, and then working the granules into the soil’s surface.

Reseeding a lawn too soon after applying a pre-emergent herbicide may keep the grass seeds from sprouting.

A typical step in keeping a lawn lush involves reseeding in late spring or early summer to add more grass to the turf and create a denser yard. Unfortunately, overseeding while a pre-emergent herbicide is still effective will prevent the grass seeds from sprouting. When overseeding, wait a minimum of 8 weeks after applying a pre-emergent.

If waiting isn’t an option because the grass species, such as fescue, needs cooler temps to sprout, consider skipping the fall application of pre-emergent and overseed the lawn at that time instead. This might result in needing to apply both a pre-emergent in early spring of the following year, followed by a post-emergent lawn herbicide a few weeks later to control both weed seeds and weeds that might have germinated over the winter.

Some jobs are better left to the pros. Receive free, no-commitment estimate from licensed lawn service professionals near you.