Fertilization and Weed Control: Timing and Application

Lawn Care & Landscape

Having a healthy and beautiful lawn requires more than just sticking to a regular watering and mowing schedule. A well-timed fertilizer or pre-emergent application can make all the difference between a full, lush lawn and a sparse, weed-filled lawn. Planning ahead and knowing your lawn type can help in understanding what to apply when for your best lawn this summer.

A Few Definitions

Pre-emergent: a weed control substance that, when applied to lawns, helps to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Pre-emergents target weeds that have not yet emerged from the soil.

Post-emergent: a weed control substance that kills already growing weeds to ensure they do not grow back. Post-emergents come in selective vs. non-selective varieties. When dealing with lawn applications, use a selective post-emergent that is designed to target weeds while not damaging the surrounding grass. 

Lawn Fertilizer: fertilizers fuel grass growth using three common nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Some varieties are phosphorus-free to protect water sources from excess, but most contain a blend of these three essential nutrients to promote healthy, lush, green growth. 

When to Apply Pre-Emergents/ Post-Emergents

For warm season grasses, including Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia, a combined pre-emergent/ post-emergent application is recommended 4 times a year. Since pre-emergents work on weed seeds before they have had a chance to germinate, timing is very important. 

Pre-emergents are best applied when the soil temperature is between 50-55 degrees, typically February-March and again in late fall, October-November. Especially in warmer climates, waiting until the start of spring is typically too late for pre-emergent, as weed seeds have already begun to germinate.

Application should be spread evenly over the entire lawn. Pre-emergents must be watered in to activate the herbicide. It’s also best to leave the treated area alone for at least a week - no lawn mowing and keep foot traffic to a minimum.

Post-emergents are best applied when your lawn, and the weeds within it, are in their peak growing season. Think of pre-emergents as bookending your growing season, while post-emergents are needed during the peak growing season, for southern zones, typically April - September. For best results, apply post-emergents 2 times during the growing season.

When to Fertilize Your Lawn

Fertilization keeps lawns healthy and promotes that desired green color. The right time and the right amount of fertilization are important factors to keep in mind. Fertilization is needed 2-4 times per year based on your soil and grass type, typically during the growing season. In the southern zones that means between March and November. 

Over-fertilization can cause a patchy look, with some areas growing more vigorously than others; while under-fertilization can make your lawn look sparse and make it easier for weeds to grow. 

Fertilizers also come in many different varieties and formulas. PRO TIP: You can combine fertilizer and pre-emergent applications in early spring to weed and feed your lawn. 

Knowing your local climate, soil type and grass types are all helpful in creating and maintaining a beautiful lawn. For assistance on setting up your fertilization and weed control schedule, trust your affordable home services experts at OneNeighbor. Our partners use high-quality products and are experts in the local area. See how OneNeighbor can help with your lawn care in Dallas/ Fort Worth, TX, Tampa Bay, FL, Houston, TX and Austin, TX

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