Weed Control Before Seeding

If you have decided that you are ready for a total lawn makeover, your first order of business should be to get rid of the weeds. Most professional landscapers How Long After Using Weed Killer Can You Sow Seed?. Using a pre-emergent weed killer on your grass helps keep pesky weeds from marring the lush, even look of your lawn. Whether you use granule or spray types, don’t plant grass seed for several weeks after applying the herbicide. This holds true if you’re using … People often ask if they should kill weeds before or after seeding their lawn. The answer depends on a lot of factors. Learn the lawn care timing that’s best for your lawn.

Controlling Weeds before You Plant Your Lawn

If you have decided that you are ready for a total lawn makeover, your first order of business should be to get rid of the weeds. Most professional landscapers will tell you that the best way to get rid of weeds is to spray the entire area with an herbicide.

The most commonly available, easiest to use, and relatively safest herbicide is one with the active ingredient glyphosate. Brand names include Roundup, Kleenup, and others. The best way to tell whether you’re getting the product you want is to ask your hardware store or garden center associate to help you. Be sure to read the label and look for the active ingredient glyphosate.

You will probably have to apply this herbicide more than once.

For a lawn over 1,000 square feet, you need to rent or buy a backpack sprayer to do the job. The herbicide comes in a concentrated form that you mix with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cordon off your lawn with tape, streamers, balloons, or some type of barrier. Keep the kids and your pets off the lawn and away from the yard. Glyphosate is a relatively benign herbicide, but it is a pesticide, and children and pets have lower sensitivity thresholds to chemicals than adults.

Make sure that you follow the label instructions and wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, rubber boots, and plastic gloves. Wait the specified time for the herbicide to work and then rake off any debris. Your lawn should be grass- and weed-free at this time, but be sure to make another application if you feel it is necessary.

When you’ve finally decided that all weeds and remaining grass are gone, wait one week before you plant your new expensive grass seed.

For those of you who prefer not to use toxic synthetic chemicals to kill the old grass and/or weeds, you can take several approaches to getting rid of weeds without chemicals.

Rent a tiller: For a modest-sized yard with not a lot of weeds or dense turf, till your lawn area to a depth of 4 to 8 inches, rake out the grass and weeds, and till again. Keep tilling and raking until all the green matter is gone. Dump all this material in your compost bin where it decomposes over a period of months.

Credit: “Horns & Tiller,” © 2008 , Lisa Brewster used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Be sure to get a tiller that has the rotating tines in the rear behind the tires. They easier to handle than the tillers with the tines in front and over the engine. Running a front-tined tiller is like trying to control a bucking bronco.

Don’t try to till dry or very wet soil. Water the whole area, let it dry for a few days, and then till.

Renting a sod cutter: You simply guide the sod cutter over your old weedy lawn, and it cuts the turf at just below soil level. Turn the sheets of grass upside down where they will decompose and add nutrients to the soil. You also can haul the sod to a recycling center that accepts yard waste.

Using black plastic: If your lawn is less than 1,000 square feet, buy enough heavy-gauge black plastic to cover your entire lawn. Spread the plastic out over the lawn and weigh down the edges with stakes, or rocks. Without sunlight, grass can’t grow and eventually dies. This process can take anywhere from a month to three months, depending on how hot and dry your season is.

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Plowing: Plowing is another method to use if your lawn is rather large. Adjust the plow blade or blades to dig the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Rake off the weeds and debris and keep plowing and raking until you get rid of all the unwanted green matter.

*Bulldozing: If you have a really large area, a bulldozer or Bobcat may be a good option. Adjust the blade so that you’re just scraping off the thin layer of grass and weeds. You don’t want to take off the soil layer.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

About the Authors Lance Walheim, former staff garden writer for Sunset magazine, is the nationally recognized author of over 30 widely read garden books, including The Natural Rose Gardener and Hungry Minds’ Roses For Dummies. The National Gardening Association (NGA) is recognized for its bimonthly National Gardening magazine and prolific work in science education for children. NGA is also the coauthor of Gardening For Dummies. Roses For Dummies. Perennials For Dummies. Annuals For Dummies. and Container Gardening For Dummies.

How Long After Using Weed Killer Can You Sow Seed?

It makes sense to be cautious about sowing seed after using weed killer. Certain herbicides can harm sprouting seeds and young plants. However, while you must wait several months to sow seed after applying some weed killers, you only need to wait a few days after applying others. The reason for this difference lies in the effect of the active chemicals in the individual products. Read the label carefully and follow all the directions when applying a weed killer.

Sowing Seed After Applying Glyphosate

You can sow seeds in as little as a week or even sooner after spraying glyphosate, a systemic, nonselective weed killer. Glyphosate moves from the leaves to the roots of plants, destroying the entire plant, but leaving no residue in the soil. The chemical affects many types of plants, including weeds, grasses and desirable plants, but after the liquid is absorbed into the plant, it doesn’t pose any further threat. You can safely sow ornamental flower seeds a day after spraying with glyphosate and grass and vegetable seeds, three days after, even though the herbicide takes up to seven days to destroy weeds. If you remove the dying weeds too soon, live roots could remain in the soil, ready to regrow. Another systemic weed killer that doesn’t affect seeds is pelargonic acid.

Pre-Emergence Weed Killers and Sowing Seed

Pre-emergence weed killers prevent seeds from sprouting. They create a chemical barrier on the soil surface that suppresses seed development. What this means is, if you sow your own seed after applying a pre-emergence weed killer, the seed isn’t likely to grow. However, some pre-emergence products only affect grassy weeds, so you can safely sow most vegetable and flower seeds after applying these herbicides. The same doesn’t apply to reseeding or overseeding your lawn. Grass seed won’t sprout until a pre-emergence weed killer has decayed and become ineffective. For example, it isn’t safe to sow lawn seed until four months after applying a crabgrass preventer.

Warning

Sowing seed after applying a pre-emergence weed killer disturbs the chemical barrier on the soil surface, which means that weed seeds may germinate too.

Seed Sowing and Selective Weed Killers

Many selective weed killers leave little or no trace in the soil, and they target certain plants while leaving others unharmed. Generally, these types of herbicides destroy either grassy weeds or broadleaf weeds. You can safely sow most seeds in your vegetable or flower patch a day after applying selective herbicides, such as sethoxydim, clethodim and bentazon, for grassy weeds. These herbicides only affect your desired plants if the plants belong to the grass family. For lawns, herbicides that destroy broadleaf weeds are effective, but it isn’t safe to reseed until a month after applying these products, unless the label states differently.

  • National Pesticide Information Center: Can I Plant Vegetables After Using a Weed Killer?
  • Oregon State University: Top 10 Reasons Your Herbicide Failed
  • Scotts: The Questions People Ask Most About Grass Seed
  • The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
  • Roundup: When can I replant/reseed after use?
  • The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture: Common Herbicides for Fruit and Vegetable Weed Control
  • Roundup: How Soon Can I Replant After Using Roundup Weed & Grass Killer Products?
  • Michigan State University Extension: Get an Early Start on Vegetable Garden Weed Control
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A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about gardening and homes since 2007. Green’s work appears in SFGate, Mom.me, The Pink Plumber and many home services blogs .

Should I Kill Weeds Now or After Seeding My Lawn? Tips for Fixing Lawns in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, or Northern KY

Timing is everything. You’ve likely heard this said many times before and can come up with a variety of ways that it applies to your life. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that it also applies to lawn care.

Amongst your timing questions, you might be wondering whether you should kill weeds before seeding or if one time of year is ultimately better than another. Should you wait?

The answer depends not only on the time of year but also on your expectations, including what you want to achieve.

Let’s look at a few important things that you should know as you ponder what’s best for your lawn.

The Best Defense Against Weeds is a Thick Healthy Turf

You’ve probably heard us say this mantra before and it’s a good time to emphasize this point again. Both your healthy grass and your weeds compete for the same water, oxygen, and nutrients. That’s why weeds thrive in bare spots and why one of the best ways to combat weeds is to thicken your lawn and choke them out.

A thick and healthy lawn is best achieved by enlisting various lawn care treatments from spring through fall and also adding a service called lawn aeration .

Lawn aeration helps relieve compaction and allows more water, oxygen, and nutrients to penetrate deep into the soil. Seeding is best performed at the same time so that the seeds can fall into the holes which were created and receive the optimal seed-to-soil contact they need to germinate and thrive.

Of course, this is where timing matters.

Lawn aeration is a service best performed in the fall when the weather is ideal for seed germination . In the fall, the air is cool but the ground is still warm, which will give grass its best chance at growth.

But if you plan to kill weeds before seeding the lawn, it might not be that simple. Trying to optimally time aeration and overseeding with weed control applications is important.

We can aerate and overseed 3 weeks after using broadleaf weed control products. That means, ideally, we want to spray weeds by mid September so that we can come back in mid October to perform aeration and overseeding. SInce it’s such an important service, it’s really not one you want to skip.

Should I Kill Weeds Now or Later?

Keeping in mind the importance and the optimal timing of lawn aeration and overseeding, you should know that the answer to the question about the best time to kill weeds is usually “now,” unless you’re reading this in the fall.

If it’s after mid September, we’re going to need to discuss your expectations and your goals as we make a decision on what’s best for your lawn.

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Quite likely, you’ll benefit most from holding off from performing weed control in order to allow us to complete lawn aeration and overseeding. If you treat weeds late in the fall and skip aeration and overseeding, you’re only going to have more bare patches and more weeds creeping in. This will set you back even further than you are now.

It’s likely best to hold off on weed control for now and then get started with the right weed treatments when the timing is ideal.

A Word on a DIY Approach

In having this conversation about whether you should kill weeds before seeding, we recognize that you might be thinking about tackling this on your own. Maybe you’ve recently fired a lawn care company that wasn’t achieving the results you’re after or maybe you just feel like this is something you can handle yourself.

If that’s the case, you might even be considering DIY seeding. Perhaps you have just a few bare patches and you decide to toss down some seed to fill it in. You might even be a customer of a lawn care company but assume that you can still do some of your own seeding.

We would urge you of the importance of communicating with your lawn care company about what you’re planning to do.

We always talk to customers about not taking steps in between our visits to perform DIY lawn care services because it could do more harm than good. Even if you’re just trying to do something simple and toss down some seed and fill in a bare spot, you could actually be contributing to your weed problem. A lot of people don’t realize that the seed sold at big box stores commonly contains filler and even weed seeds. As a result, you might be filling in your bare spots with undesirable grasses.

At Oasis Turf & Tree, we use premium grass seed that is 99 percent pure so that we’re not planting more weeds in your yard.

Don’t give into temptation and take matters into your own hands. If you’re a client of Oasis Turf & Tree, trust that there is a process at work and you may just need to give it some time.

Let Time Do its Magic

It really does come down to the fact that timing is everything.

There is a “best time” to perform lawn care services to ensure that they work the way they’re supposed to but also that they don’t negatively interfere with one another. Poorly timed weed control treatments can obviously impact your new seed growth and you don’t want that to happen.

We understand that there’s a lot on the line here. You want your lawn to look its best, you may be investing in services, but you might not feel like waiting. However, it’s so important that you’re taking the proper steps in the proper timing. Sometimes it does mean having some patience and looking at the big picture.

At the end of the day, one of the best benefits of hiring a professional is handing your worries over to them instead of being burdened with them yourself. When you hire Oasis Turf & Tree, you let us handle these tasks so that you don’t have to. That means we’re applying our knowledge of optimal timing to help get you the results that you truly desire with no hassles on your end. You might have to be patient but you’ll see that it will pay off tremendously.

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams!