As soon as temperatures warm up, many homeowners rush out to their local lawn and garden store in search of weed and feed for lawns products containing both chemical herbicides and fertilizers.
Unfortunately, applying fertilizers at an inappropriate time could damage your lawn and flow into storm drains or nearby water systems, potentially harming these resources as well as impacting them in an adverse manner.
Time of Year
Weed and feed products are two-in-one lawn treatments designed to combat both post-emergent broadleaf herbicides that target broadleaf weeds as well as fertilizers designed to promote new grass growth. According to Earth Works, the ideal time and place for applying these two-in-one solutions are early spring when plants are actively developing.
However, applying it too soon could miss any weeds that haven’t emerged yet and harm your lawn instead. The ideal time to apply herbicide is around the same time that your lawn requires its first trim of the year.
Liquid weed and feed typically comes in an easily mixed container that you mix with water or use a sprayer to spread. Granular varieties must be spread during wetter weather to ensure its herbicide stays on weeds.
Some critics of weed and feed formulations lament its difficulty in striking an effective balance between killing weeds and providing grass feed for growth, and simultaneously killing them off at an affordable price. Furthermore, their quick-release fertilizers wash off into nearby rivers or lakes when it rains, creating algae blooms which smother fish populations as well as other aquatic life.
There are thousands of different weed species; those deemed most problematic for gardeners and homeowners are those considered invasive or noxious. If left unchecked, these weeds can become difficult to manage with various herbicides.
Weeds can be defined based on their gross morphological features and life cycles; annual, biennial or perennial. Their reproduction cycle involves seeds or vegetative parts like rhizomes or bulbs as sources.
Clover is a perennial weed that forms dense mats of green and produces numerous seeds each year. Since it is also a legume, clover fixes its own nitrogen while outcompeting turf grasses in soils with poor nutrients.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), with its bright yellow flowers that produce many seeds, can quickly take over lawns if left unchecked. Dandelion infestation can be handled through manual digging or pre-emergent herbicide treatments in spring.
Many homeowners struggle with maintaining lush and green lawns. Weed and feed products may seem like an easy solution; however, for maximum effectiveness they must be used properly in order to be effective.
Most weed and feed products combine fertilizer and herbicide to effectively eliminate unwanted weeds while providing necessary nutrients to grass plants.
Problematic with applying weed and feed simultaneously is that pre-emergent herbicide is also required, meaning you’ll be applying three different chemicals within a short period – this increases the possibility of adverse side effects and should only be done at intervals as advised.
Some weed and feed products contain chemicals which are hazardous for children or pets who come into contact with treated yards, such as children playing there or pets licking their paws after walking through one. Therefore, experts advise against the use of weed and feed products if at all possible.
Weed and feed products combine a lawn fertilizer with herbicides or post-emergent weed killer/preventer into one application to make weeding simpler by killing off unwanted weeds while simultaneously providing grass with all of the essential nutrients it requires to thrive and survive.
Weed and feed can be applied either granules or liquid form, depending on your product, but for optimal results it’s essential that you follow its directions exactly. Granular forms should generally be spread after mowing while liquid applications should wait a few days before watering your lawn so the nutrients have time to seep into the soil.
In northern climates, early spring is usually the ideal time to apply weed and feed to your lawn, otherwise fall or summer should do just as well. Be sure to follow label directions so as not to overuse weed and feed products which could cause irreparable lawn damage.