Spring Weed Pre-Emergent
For gardeners and lawn lovers, spring is a celebration of new growth as your yard slowly awakens from winter’s dormancy. Yet every seasoned homeowner knows that certain unwelcome plants have been germinating all winter, long before they make their woeful appearance on your turf.
TLC Landscapes is well-versed in the proper use of weed control products, including spring pre-emergent herbicides. For tenacious foes like spurge and crabgrass, this form of treatment is the only way to go.
However, due to the special chemical makeup of pre-emergent weed killers, it is important to make an informed purchase so you don’t damage your grass, or fails to target the specific weeds you’re battling.
Types of Spring Pre-Emergent Weed Killers
All pre-emergent herbicides work to kill off weeds before they emerge from the soil. For many aggressive species, the growth process is already too far along by the time the plant sprouts, for a post-emergent product to work. This makes them quite difficult to eradicate.
Pre-emergent treatments attack the weed while it’s still germinating, disrupting the growth process early on. They work at a cellular level to damage the plant’s development so it is unable to sprout, spread, and thrive.
There are two types of pre-emergents: selective herbicides and non-selective herbicides. Visit our Fertilization and Weed Control service page to learn more about how we can help.
Selective Pre-Emergent Herbicides
These products are formulated to target specific sub-types of weeds, such as grassy weeds or broadleaf weeds. Why is this important? Because you only want to kill what’s not welcome in your yard.
For instance: perhaps you need to stay a step ahead of the crabgrass you spotted in your neighbor’s yard before it spreads, but you sort of like the clover patches in your lawn. Using a pre-emergent product that targets only grassy weeds is your best bet.
But how do they work?
Making an herbicide “selective” is all about designing the product in such a way that it affects certain plants but not others. One example is how some broadleaf weed killers create rapid overgrowth that the plant cannot sustain. Though the science is unclear about why, the product is not absorbed by your grass.
Another method is inhibiting root growth, which kills grassy weeds when they begin to germinate, but does not harm your grass’s established root system. There are also products designed to inhibit photosynthesis in some plants but not others, as this process differs slightly between various plant species.
Non-Selective Pre-Emergent Herbicides
These are great products for broad-spectrum effectiveness. But unfortunately, that may also include new grass and other germinating plants. If you overseeded your lawn this winter, or planted some winter flowers and veggies, the use of these treatments will hamper your progress. Most pre-emergents last at least 6 weeks, so put a long gap between planting and herbicidal treatment.
True to their name, non-selective pre-emergent products are not selective about which seedlings they kill. But the good news is that established plants and grasses are safe from harm. This makes them a great choice for yards and gardens that experience the emergence of multiple weed types in the spring time.
When and How to Apply Spring Weed Pre-Emergents
Weeds begin to germinate at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so you want to apply your treatment beforehand, to stay one step ahead. This can be tricky in our unpredictable North Texas winters, as the final frost can come late in the season. Check your almanac for annual weather patterns, and try to time the pre-emergent treatment after the last frost if possible.
Herbicides are applied either as a spray or in granulated form. Liquid products can be attached to your hose, dispensed from a backpack sprayer, or sprayed directly out of the container for spot-treatment. Granules can be sprinkled using a handheld granular spreader for smaller jobs, or they can be added to a broadcast spreader to treat your entire yard.
Be sure to use appropriate safety precautions, regardless of which herbicide and application method you use. Even the solid form (granules) still leave a chemical residue on skin. Always use gardening gloves, closed shoes, and long pants. A set of protective eyewear is also advised if you choose the spray methods.
Common Weeds for Pre-Emergent Treatment:
- Prevention: No one wants to wrangle with a ragged patch of weeds in their yard. The truth is, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when it comes to your lawn’s health. A dense, thriving bed of grass is the best way to deter weeds. Click here for a free service quote, to get year-round help from our team of lawn care experts.
- Proper application: The truth is, NO yard is completely immune to weed invasion. If your lawn is in need of a weed treatment, be sure to educate yourself beforehand with good information. Also see: When to Apply: Weed and Feed Schedule.
- Pick the right product: There are several pre-emergent herbicides on the market, that are good for use in any season. Learn more from Best Fall and Winter Weed Pre-Emergent Herbicides.
Published on January 26th, 2020
Updated on February 14th, 2020