Whether the grass needs spraying for weeds or seeding , it’s possible to get both issues handled by using our customized treatment plan. Do I Weed & Feed or Plant Seed First?. You can sow grass seeds now and kill weeds later with a post-emergent herbicide or kill weeds now with a pre-emergent herbicide and plant the seeds later. Weed-and-feed fertilizers are specially formulated combinations of turf fertilizer and herbicides that you apply either … Learn how to avoid common mistakes when planting grass seed for a more full, lush, vibrant lawn.
Seed First or Spray First – Which is Best?
Weed control treatments are tricky. You need the correct product applied at the right time to make it work. The first step in the process involves the assessment of your lawn. The decision to seed first or spray first depends on the result of this.
Why Skipping Spraying Won’t Work
You might think that the problem is over because the plants die off during the winter. Seeing dead weeds in your yard means that the plants have entered a new growth cycle.
Many species drop seeds that can lie dormant for years. Once the right combination of water, sunlight, and temperatures arrive, they can pop up fast. This is why you may feel like hundreds of weeds have grown overnight.
Certain weed varieties thrive during the winter. Mediterranean grass is an annual grassy type of weed that is commonly found in Arizona. Winter weeds often show up as patches of tall green grass among a sea of brown desirable grass blades that have done dormant.
If weeds are allowed to grow, they can have a devastating effect on grass. Weeds often have deeper and wider root systems that enable them to get water first. Tall weeds block sunlight from reaching shorter grass blades.
Getting control over weeds at the start of the winter and spring seasons protects desirable grass in each critical growth stage.
Analyze the Current State of the Landscaping
Lawn maintenance plans are based upon what type of plants are growing on your property along with the current season.
Lawns with minimal weeds growing may be seeded before doing a full-lawn spray. In this case, you could spot spray the few weeds that you see or hand-pull them.
After seeding, you’ll then need to wait the appropriate amount of time before arranging for pre-emergent weed spraying. While you wait to spray for weeds, this might be a good time for fertilizing or soil treatments.
If your lawn has a large number of weeds, then it might be in your best interest to tackle them first and worry about seeding later. This is especially true if you have a little time left in the primary grass sprouting season.
Post-emergent weed sprays are less likely to disrupt seed germination and grass growth. Selective sprays that target broadleaf weeds are also safer to use since they don’t affect the grass.
Using the right spray is just as critical as the timing that you use for the application. After any weed spray is used, find out when you can plant grass seed.
Certain types of weed spray allow for seeding to occur as soon as the next day. Other types may require you to wait a few weeks.
Know How to Get the Best Results From Seeding
Overseeding a lawn is often necessary to replenish grass that didn’t survive the harsh summer or winter seasons. Grass seed needs to reach the ground for it to have the best chances of sprouting. Eliminating competition from the weeds helps grass seed to have what it needs to grow.
Once the weeds die off, remove the dead plants, and consider dethatching the lawn. Then, apply the seed using the recommended application method and water thoroughly to ensure it sprouts.
Whether to spray or seed first is often as hard to figure out as the age-old chicken or the egg debate. With Arizona lawns, the answer to this question can change each year and even with each season.
Let us know about any problems that you’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks. Whether the grass needs spraying for weeds or seeding more, it’s possible to get both issues handled by using a customized treatment plan.
Do I Weed & Feed or Plant Seed First?
You can sow grass seeds now and kill weeds later with a post-emergent herbicide or kill weeds now with a pre-emergent herbicide and plant the seeds later. Weed-and-feed fertilizers are specially formulated combinations of turf fertilizer and herbicides that you apply either before you plant grass seeds or on established lawns.
You apply pre-emergent herbicides before weed seeds germinate, typically in the spring. Pre-emergent herbicides do not prevent weed seeds from germinating; they suppress the development of weed roots as they germinate. They’re usually effective for two weeks to three months, depending on the formulation, and you have to water the lawn after applying for the herbicide for it to be effective. There are pre-emergent herbicides to kill both broadleaf weeds and weedy grasses. You can apply them before you sow your grass seed. If you apply a pre-emergent herbicide that kills weedy grasses, you have to delay sowing your lawn seed.
Post emergent herbicides kill weeds after they appear. Some post-emergent, systemic herbicides that you can apply directly on lawns only kill weedy grasses, while others only kill weeds with broadleaf weeds. Contact herbicide such as those including the active ingredient glyphosate kills on contact. To use one of those on a lawn without killing the grass you have to daub it on individual weeds.
Pre-Emergent Weed-and-Feed Fertilizer
Fertilizers containing pre-emergent herbicides selectively prevent certain kinds of weeds from finishing their germination cycle. There is no point applying this type of weed-and-feed mix after weeds are growing on your lawn. You have to apply it early in the growing season before weeds appear. Make sure the pre-emergent herbicide in the fertilizer kills the kind of weeds that have plagued your lawn in the past. You might apply a starter fertilizer containing a pre-emergent herbicide before you sow your lawn seeds.
Post-Emergent Weed-and-Feed Fertilizer
Post-emergent weed-and-feed formulations kill selective weeds that are already growing in your lawn. Make sure that the herbicide in the formulation you buy kills the type of weeds that are growing in your lawn. Most weeds make their appearance in the spring, the best time to apply weed-and-feed fertilizer.
How to Avoid Common Grass Seed Mistakes
Creating a lush, vibrant lawn takes commitment, but the rewards of a successful grass seed project are worth the time and resources you invest. A beautiful lawn can improve your home’s value, benefit the environment and enhance your family’s quality of life. Even if you’re a first-time lawn grower, you can seed right and avoid these common mistakes:
1. Planting the wrong type of seed
Choosing appropriate grass varieties is the first step in ensuring your lawn performs up to your aspirations. Grasses vary widely in their preferences and tolerances, just like other types of plants. Kentucky bluegrass and Bermudagrass, for example, differ significantly in climate and maintenance requirements. Planting grass varieties appropriate to your growing region gives your seed a natural advantage.
Even with similar seed types, all grass seed isn’t equal. Learn what’s actually inside the seed bags you or your lawn professional buy. By understanding the seed tags on grass seed products, you can be sure you invest in quality seed. Cheaper price tags can mean less seed versus fillers, old seeds past their prime, more weed seeds and lower germination rates. Getting seed right from the start benefits your lawn and budget.
2. Skipping the soil test and recommendations
Seeding success depends on an environment conducive to good grass growth. Knowing how your soil measures up on certain essentials, such as soil pH and plant nutrients, allows you to provide the foundation an outstanding lawn needs. Soil testing processed through a reputable soil laboratory eliminates guesswork and reveals changes you need to make.
Without knowing where your soil stands, well-intended soil amendments and fertilizers can harm grass instead of help — or simply go to waste. Incorporating your specific soil lab recommendations helps circumvent potential problems and unnecessary setbacks. That’s one reason turf professionals emphasize regular soil testing to start seed right and keep lawns healthy and vibrant. Your local county extension office can help with testing kits and lab referrals.
3. Using lime incorrectly or unnecessarily
Many homeowners think lime is a lawn care necessity, but that doesn’t hold true across the board. Normal lawn care can naturally cause soil pH to drop lower over time, and lime applications benefit lawns that need pH raised. But in some cases, soil pH may already be high. Using too much lime or applying it unnecessarily can be as damaging as failing to add lime when it’s needed.
When soil test results show your lawn’s soil pH is below levels needed for optimal grass health, liming in accordance with recommendations restores proper pH balance, increases nutrient availability and helps keep lawns green. While many lime products are slow to work, products such as Pennington Fast Acting Lime speed up the process and start working immediately.
4. Ignoring recommended seeding rates
Using the proper amount of seed for your project influences success, whether you’re starting from scratch or overseeding an existing lawn. New lawns or spot repairs take about twice the amount of seed needed for overseeding thin areas. Quality grass seed labels include guidance on optimal seeding rates to maximize your results.
Don’t overdo or cut corners. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare. Always follow “best practice” guidelines for planting grass seed, including site preparation and good seed-to-soil contact, and stick with recommended seeding rates for lush results.
5. Miscalculating your lawn dimensions
Getting your seeding rates right requires knowing the correct size of the area you need to cover. One of the most common problems grass professionals see is when homeowners misjudge their actual lawn areas and over-apply grass seed or other products, such as fertilizers and herbicides.
Knowing your total property size is just the start. All non-lawn areas must then be deducted. This includes the footprints of your house, garage and outbuildings, as well as walkways and the driveway. Only then can you calculate your actual lawn area and the amount of seed you need. Time spent on proper measurements prevents wasted product, wasted money and poor results. Get it right and every bit of seed and labor work in your favor.
6. Planting without regard for proper timing
It can be tempting to plant seed as soon as the need arises. But proper timing has an important impact on results. Grass growth occurs in seasonal cycles, which vary according to the grass types common to different regions. Timing your seed projects to coincide with growing cycles greatly improves your rate of success.
For most of the country, fall is the best time to plant grass seed. This is when cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescues peak in growth, and conditions enhance fast germination and establishment. When paired with innovations such as water-conserving Pennington Smart Seed, proper timing leads to other advantages, including less input of resources, less maintenance and better results.
7. Using weed treatments or weed & feed fertilizers with seed
One of the ways weed treatments work is by preventing germinating seeds from establishing roots. But these products, known as pre-emergents, can’t distinguish between harmful weed seeds and desirable grass seed you put down. Using these products too close to newly planted seed — in timing or proximity — stops grass seed in its tracks, along with the weeds. Post-emergent weed treatments aimed at existing broadleaf weeds can also injure immature grass seedlings.
Always read and follow herbicide and fertilizer labels, especially the instructions for use on newly seeded lawns and your grass type. As a general rule, avoid pre-emergent weed treatments at least 10 to 12 weeks before seeding — or longer for some products. After planting, reserve broad-spectrum weed treatments until new lawns have been mowed at least two to three times; for fall-planted seed, that usually means spring.
When it comes to your lawn aspirations, you can bypass common grass seed mistakes and head straight for success. Make the most of your investment of time, money and grass seed, and enjoy the exceptional results. Pennington is committed to helping you grow the finest lawn possible and enjoy all the benefits that a beautiful, healthy lawn holds.
Pennington and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.