Pre-emergent weed and feed is applied in early spring so the herbicide is in place before the undesirable weeds germinate. Pre-emergent herbicide works by inhibiting germination. It must be watered with at least one-half inch of water to move the chemical from the surface into the soil. Post-emergent herbicides, however, must be applied while the weeds are actively growing because for the chemical to work, the herbicide must be absorbed into the plant.
Weed and feed products consist of fertilizers such as nitrogen or potassium, and a pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicide. If the weed and feed is designed for spring application, it contains a pre-emergent. If it is designed for later in the growing season, it incorporates a post-emergent herbicide. Knowing which one you are using is important because the herbicides affect plants in significantly different ways.
You want a beautiful lawn for your family to enjoy, but it’s no longer enough to just mow it. You have to fertilize, water, kill weeds and then reseed any bare spots. Using a weed and feed product saved you some time, so now you’re ready to plant some grass seed. You may have to wait a bit longer, though, depending on the type of weed and feed product you used.
How They Work
Since weed and feed products are designed to prevent germination — or to eradicate a living plant — they can, for the most part, have a similar effect on young turf grass. The only exception is the pre-emergent herbicide siduron, which is actually used to assist in seed germination. When using a pre-emergent that does not contain siduron, wait a minimum of two months before seeding. If using a product designed for broadleaf weeds, read the label carefully, because the active ingredient in these post-emergent herbicides have a wider range for the waiting period. Grass can be planted in as little as one month after application for products using 2,4-D to as much as six months for atrazine-based products.
When you are ready to seed your lawn, use a garden rake to remove debris and to break up the surface to ensure the seed comes into contact with the soil. Broadcast the seeds in two directions to ensure complete coverage, and water the ground lightly and often for up to two weeks — keeping the soil moist. Once seedlings have established, gradually reduce the frequency of the watering, but lengthen the amount of time per watering. This will encourage a deep root system for your grass.
Weed and feed products work by preventing new growth, effectively stopping weed seeds from sprouting and newly sprouted wheat from flourishing. However, the herbicides used are insufficient to target weeds only; grass grains and any new grass growth are the same.
Ideally, you should plant seeds well enough before frost in the autumn so that the new grass will grow for several weeks before sleep. You can also sow grass seed in the early spring, though if you do so you should hold off on applying weaving feet for at least four to eight weeks to ensure it doesn’t damage the young grass.
If you must sow grass seed after applying weed and feed, wait for at least four to six weeks before doing so to ensure the herbicide won’t prevent the seeds from sprouting. Prepare seedbeds with the help of a rake which is one of the important garden tools that every gardener should have. It helps the seeds to have proper contact with the ground and prevents any bare patches.
Weed and feed products, as the name implies, contain both a fertilizer and a herbicide to control weeds while feeding the surrounding grass. If the lawn has grass that is already established, this works well. The product should ideally be applied just a couple of weeks after the final frost when grass and weeds grow visibly because it is not effective for sleeping weeds. Apply it periodically throughout the rest of the year as well to keep weeds under control.
It can take up to four weeks for the herbicide effective to fade, so sowing grass soon after applying weed and feed is likely futile because new grass won’t be able to grow.