when to seed weed and feed

Herbicides can target weeds before they germinate from seed – pre-emergent – or as developed plants – post-emergent. Before you seed, you can use a non-selective, post-emergent herbicide to control any weeds in the area to be seeded. Most of these can be applied up to two weeks before seeding to control any existing weeds. Herbicides should not be used after seeding until the new seedlings are established. Mowing and spot treatments can be used to control weeds until the seeded area is actively growing and requires only maintenance watering. Establishment times vary depending on the type of seed you use and your weather conditions.

Weed and feed fertilizers are often used in combination with seeding. Weed and feed formulations consist of two components: a herbicide to kill weeds and a fertilizer to strengthen the turf. The herbicide will weaken the grass as well as the weeds and the fertilizer will strengthen the weeds as well as the grass. When applying seed over a weed and feed application, remember that some weed and feeds can prevent grass seeds from growing.

It is important to know what kind of grass you have growing or want to have growing. Certain chemicals act differently on different species of grass and weeds. For example, the common herbicide 2,4-D is toxic to some cultivars of St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), which grows in the area roughly covered by U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. Another common herbicide, atrazine, is potentially lethal to grass when applied in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the instructions on the bag of each weed and feed product to determine how it will affect seeding.

Seeding.

It’s important to know a little about herbicides so you can make the best choice for when to apply seed in an area that has been treated for weeds. The most common types of herbicide in weed and feed products are selective and systemic. Selective herbicides target a species of plant to kill while systemic herbicides work by being absorbed though the roots and then transported throughout the plant, killing it from within. Read the bag label to see what kind of herbicide is used in the weed and feed you are considering using or have used. The bag label will tell you how many days you must wait before applying seed to a lawn that has been treated with that product.

Only use a weed and feed if the weed infestation is completely uniform over the entire lawn and all species of weeds targeted will be affected by the herbicide in the weed and feed. This scenario doesn’t occur often, so it is more likely the use of an herbicide and a fertilizer separately will be needed. If the weeds are uniformly spread over the area to be treated, match the appropriate weed and feed product to your grass, the seed you have recently applied or want to apply, and the time of year.

Sara DeBerry is a graduate of the University of Florida holding a masters degree in environmental horticulture and a minor in entomology and nematology. DeBerry has been writing for government agencies since 2004 and has published peer reviewed scientific articles during her studies at UF.

Types of Herbicide.

Using Weed and Feed.

The reason some lawn feeds are better than others, is because they can release nitrogen and feed over several weeks rather than in one rush soon after application.

Once the weeds and moss are under control later in the spring, move over to just a lawn feed to keep the grass looking thick and green. Liquid lawn feeds via a hose end feeder are ideal for using in late spring into summer as they water the lawn as well in dry periods.

The best lawn feed (or fertiliser) to use is one that provides both protection from weeds while systematically feeding your lawn. Ideally, lawn feed should be applied between April and September with Miracle-Gro EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 providing year-round feed when applied no more than twice a year.

Which lawn feed should I use?

If the weather turns very hot, then the garden grass stops growing and will not use any feed. In addition to this, the lawn will start to get ‘stressed’ during prolonged dry spells, making them more susceptible to damage by lawn fertilisers. This will result in you having to take extra care of your garden lawn from that point on.

Your lawn needs another type of feed come the autumn, which will keep the grass growing at a slow rate and not so lush, but still green. Also it prepares your lawn for the winter, by building up the roots and health of the grass to withstand the cold.

For spring feeding, use a product containing feed, weed killers and moss control. This will quickly help the grass to start growing again and control any weeds that are present, plus kill off the moss that might have invaded the lawn over the winter.

But don’t fret; below are the descriptions and properties of the types of lawn feeds, including the specific benefits of each.

Whichever product you are using, always carefully read the label before use and apply according to the instructions.

During these conditions stop feeding your lawn, wait until it has rained to let the water soak in for a few days, then start feeding again. Feed throughout the summer at 6-8 week intervals, weather permitting.

Spring and summer lawn feeding.

Feeding in autumn helps encourage strong root growth, so your lawn will recover quickly from a harsh winter and put on lush green growth in spring. Autumn feeding is actually the most important feed and integral part of lawn care!

To summarise, steps to take for lawn feeding include:

Some lawn treatments just feed your garden lawn and are ideal if your lawn is weed and moss free, but others have added ingredients such as weed killers and/or moss killers. Furthermore, some are designed to use in the autumn to toughen up the grass ready for the winter and/or kill moss.

There a few types of lawn feed, so you may be a little confused about what to look out for when buying online.

Autumn lawn feeding.

Without food to develop side shoots and thickness, the lawn seed is also open to invasion by weed seeds and moss, that thrive in low nutrient conditions. On the other hand, a regular supply of supplementary food makes your lawn thick and green.

This photograph on the right shows the difference feeding your lawn can make. On the left section the lawn has been fed with a granular lawn food, on the right section nothing extra has been applied. As you can see, the fed section of lawn is much greener and healthier looking.

Additionally, some have moss control added for any moss present. It’s important to feed with a specific autumn lawn food such as Miracle-Gro EverGreen Autumn Lawn Care, to get the grass ready for the colder, wetter weather in winter and get the lawn ready for spring. Autumn lawn feeds will be low in nitrogen, as we don’t want to encourage any top growth, which can be soft and easily burnt by frost.

Check out our video tutorials for how to achieve a great looking lawn on our YouTube channel here.

Here are your best two options:

Do you have less than 75% good grass with bare spots larger than a few inches in diameter?

Answer: If lots of larger spots, then seed this spring. Be sure to use a special Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer that is compatible with grass seed (the regular crabgrass preventers will keep grass seed from growing). If you do not prevent weeds when you seed, you are likely to be very disappointed as crabgrass and other weeds will germinate and choke out your good grass before it has a chance to take hold. A machine called a slit-seeder will help make sure the grass seed comes in contact with the soil. You just select the Turf Builder Grass Seed blend that is right for your conditions, such as sun, shade, heat-tolerant, etc. If you only have a few bare spots to take care of, consider Scotts EZ Seed. I think this is the best bare spot repair product we have ever sold! Spread the Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer after you put down the seed. Feed your lawn again in one month after seeding with Turf Builder Lawn Food. Once your new grass has been mowed 4 times, you can kill weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns.

Do you have more than 75% good grass however your lawn is thin and weedy without widespread bare spots?

Weed, Feed or Seed?

This is a big question in early spring: “My lawn needs everything what should I do first, put down seed or kill my weeds? The reason why this question is tricky is because many of the weed controls will harm new grass seedlings.

Answer: If you have more than 75% grass, you may be surprised how your good grass will fill in with four feedings a year at 6 to 8 week intervals. With this option you skip spring seeding (you can always seed in fall if your lawn still needs it). Here is a schedule for the year: Feed your lawn now with Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer. In 6 to 8 weeks after your first feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed if you have lots of weeds or if you only have a few weeds, your second feeding can be Turf Builder Lawn Food and spot treat your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns. Put down Scotts GrubEx sometime in May or June. In 6 to 8 weeks after your second feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard to control insects. In 6 to 8 weeks after your third feeding, in late summer/early fall, feed with Turf Builder Lawn Food.

If you have questions during the year, the Scotts Help Center folks will be happy to help you.