Weed and feed is an all-in-one product that promises to fertilize your lawn & prevent weeds in one application—learn if it’s the best solution for your yard. Weed and feed products have both fertilizers and herbicides to target broadleaf weeds. These products are used to kill weeds and green up the grass. Weed and feed can help … When to Fertilize New Grass for Best ResultsGrowing grass generally doesn’t take an agonizing amount of effort. But cultivating a new lawn requires a certain level of diligence to give grass seed the best chance to germinate and thrive. It is also important for roots to grow deep into the soil in or…
Everything You Need to Know About Weed and Feed
Weed and feed is the lawn care equivalent of the shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one products in the hair care aisle. They promise to save you time while giving you the same results by applying two different products. However, you’ve probably noticed that two-in-one hair care products haven’t led to the extinction of individual shampoos and conditioners. Many people believe it’s better to weed and feed your lawn as a two-step process for much the same reason.
If you’d like a healthy green lawn but don’t like the idea of applying fertilizers and weed killers yourself, House Method’s recommended lawn care service provider is TruGreen. TruGreen has offices throughout the US and Canada, so there’s likely a TruGreen branch near you.
- Large variety of plan options tailored to homeowners wants and needs
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- Services provided in 49 states
What is Weed and Feed?
Weed and feed is the term used for lawn care products that contain both herbicides (weed killers, the “weed” part of the name) and fertilizer (the “feed” part). Weed and feed is designed to fertilize your lawn while also killing weeds in your grass, like dandelions and clovers.
Many people like the idea of using weed and feed because it means they only need to do a single application of product rather than separately applying herbicide and fertilizer. They see it as a way to do twice the work in half the time.
The weed killer in weed and feed is either pre-emergent or post-emergent.
- Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating, so they need to be applied very early in the year before the weeds begin to sprout.
- Post-emergent herbicides work on weeds that are already growing,such as moss, clover, and dandelions, so they should be applied later in the year, usually in the summer. Broadleaf weed killers might even be more effective in the fall.
Get Rid of Weeds Now
with the help of a professional lawn care service, TruGreen
Tips for Using Weed and Feed
Suppose you still think the benefits of a two-for-one application outweigh the negative aspects of weed and feed. In that case, the Weed Science Society of America offers some tips to follow so you get the best results with minor environmental damage:
- Please read the label before you purchase to know what you’re buying and how to apply it.
- Identify the kinds of weeds growing in your yard and make sure the herbicide in your product targets those weeds. If you don’t know what the weeds are, contact your local Extension agent or check an online resource, such as those produced by the Extension Service.
- Identify the kind of grass growing in your yard. A quick rule of thumb: cool-season grasses stay green all year while warm-season grasses go dormant and turn brown in winter. It would be best to fertilize cool-season grasses in the fall and warm-season grasses in the late spring or early summer. Choose a weed and feed that works in that fertilization period.
- Apply the product with post-emergent herbicides early in the morning when the dew is on the grass, or water the lawn before applying. The granules will stick to the wet blades of grass and release the herbicide better than with dry blades.
- Follow the directions that come with the product, including using the recommended amount at the suggested time of year or growth stage for weeds. Applying too much weed and feed or putting it down at the wrong time of year is a waste of money and could damage your lawn.
- Keep the product off other landscape plants. If any gets on the sidewalk or driveway, use a blower or broom to sweep it back into the lawn.
- Clean your hands and shoes after applying the product so you don’t unwittingly take the chemicals into your house.
- Keep kids and pets out of the yard for a few days after treating your lawn. Studies show that lawn chemicals stay in the grass for at least 48 hours, and dogs who’ve been exposed to properties treated with herbicides may have a higher risk of certain cancers.
Alternatives to Weed and Feed
The easiest alternative to applying weed and feed is to treat feeding and weed killing as two separate processes. Apply fertilizer at the time dictated by the kind of grass growing in your yard —fall for cool-season grasses, late spring or early summer for warm-season grasses.
Treat for weeds at an appropriate time. If you genuinely think you have weed seeds all over your yard waiting to sprout, apply a pre-emergent over the entire yard in late winter before the seeds germinate. If you’ve applied pre-emergent in previous years and have your weeds under control, putting pre-emergent over the whole yard may be overkill. In that case, it makes more sense to see if any weeds do come up and spot-treat them with an appropriate herbicide based on what’s growing in your yard.
A natural product called corn gluten meal, sometimes referred to by its initials, CGM, may offer some hope for an organic alternative to weed and feed. CGM is a byproduct that results from wet milling corn. An Iowa State University professor found that it reduces seed germination, and it has been patented for use as a natural pre-emergent agent. CGM is about 10% nitrogen, the main ingredient in most fertilizers, so it’s also a natural fertilizer.
But if a natural, organic weed and feed sounds too good to be true, it might be. There are several reasons why CGM hasn’t become the go-to weed and feed product:
- CGM is very expensive.
- It only works on certain kinds of weeds.
- It typically requires multiple applications.
- It must be applied at the right time to stop seed germination.
Skip The Chemical Weed Killer
The most environmentally friendly way to avoid weed killer is to pull the weeds out of your yard by hand. Weeding is never a fun task, but you don’t have to worry about chemicals being tracked into your home or being washed off and polluting local waterways if you hand-weed.
Various weeding tools are available to make the chore a little easier. These include long-handled, foot-operated tools that grip the weeds and allow you to dig up the roots without having to bend down.
The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn. Keep your property adequately watered, apply fertilizer when necessary, and take steps such as aerating when necessary may be all your lawn needs to stand tall against a weed invasion.
Mowing after weed and feed, what should you do?
Weed and feed products have both fertilizers and herbicides to target broadleaf weeds. These products are used to kill weeds and green up the grass. Weed and feed can help to build a strong turf and healthy lawn. To ensure that you are using the correct product for your grass species, always check the label on the product. Increasing the concentration or application rate can harm your lawn. To achieve the best results from weed and feed, mow your lawn to a recommended height at specified intervals before or after the application.
Mowing after weed and feed, what should you do:
In general, mowing just before or soon after weed and feed application is not beneficial at all. The weed and feed granules are collected or get dispersed unevenly before they get a chance to work. The best practice is to mow the lawn to a correct height a couple of days before weed and feed application or a couple of days after the application in case you are using post-emergent weed and feed.
This article will guide you by mowing your lawn after applying weed and feed to achieve the best results. It will discuss the effects of mowing too short or leaving the grass to grow long after weed and feed. You’ll also find information about the best time to apply weed and feed to your lawn and precautions that must be taken to avoid any mess.
Mowing after weed and feed application
Mowing the lawn just before weed and feed application may damage and burn the grass. Mowing causes stress to the grass and creates wounds on the grass blades. The chemicals in weed and feed products may affect the wounded blades of the grass and burn them. Herbicides in the weed and feed product work better when the grass is not compacted from mowing.
It is also recommended to wait a few days after applying weed and feed to mow your lawn again. Mowing the lawn instantly after weed and feed application does no good to your lawn. The granules of weed and feed product get collected in the mower bag and don’t have any time to work before the mower picks them up.
If you mow the lawn without bagging the clippings, even then, the weed and feed product’s granules are irregularly dispersed by the mower, creating some areas full of weed and feed and others with no granules of the product.
Mowing the lawn after weed and feed application can be more effective if your lawn already has weeds growing in it and you are using a weed and feed product with a post-emergent herbicide. Mowing weeds before weed and feed application chops off the weeds and reduces the surface area of the weed leaves that would otherwise take up the chemical and hinder weeds’ growth. As such, this doesn’t allow the product to work effectively.
Mowing height always helps to battle against the weeds. A careful balance must be maintained between keeping the grass long enough to help the weeds from going to seeds and cutting the grass too short.
Mowing at higher heights may allow the weeds to mature and make seeds. On the other hand, mowing too short weakens the turf and causes damage to your lawn’s health. This makes your lawn more vulnerable to weeds. Mowing the grass to a recommended height helps you to maintain the right balance.
“Weed and feed” and bagging while mowing
If your lawn faces severe weed infestation and the weed has gone to seed, then you must consider bagging the grass clipping before you apply weed and feed. This helps to stop the seeds from spreading all over the lawn and affecting the healthy areas.
Once the weed and feed treatment is done, you can leave the clipping on the grass for the next few times you mow the grass. These clipping will help to mulch the turf. Mowing a few days after weed and feed application allows the leftover product granules to break down and redistribute around the mowing area.
The same applies to bagging the clippings if you use liquid weed and feed products. The clippings that have chemicals left on them will break down and release the chemicals back into the soil.
Mowing too short after weed and feed
Mowing too short after weed and feed makes your lawn more vulnerable to weather stress, weeds, and diseases. Cutting the grass too short also inhibits root growth. When grass is mowed too short, the leaves’ surface area is reduced, which is where the grass makes food. Therefore, it relies on roots to grow, which weakens the roots, and they are less able to endure rain and drought.
Shallow roots require more water and make it difficult for the grass to maintain moisture. A grass mowed too low has less leaf available for photosynthesis and, as a result, this damages the grass. Short grass exposes the turf to direct heat, which causes it to dry quickly – especially in summer.
Therefore, extra care is needed for short grass by watering it frequently to protect it from drought. Moreover, grass cut too short struggles to fight the intruders and succumbs to disease, weeds, and pests.
Leaving the grass long after weed and feed
Growing grass too long after weed and feed are also not advisable, as it makes it difficult for the grass to hold itself up, and it drops on the surrounding grass, suffocating it. Long grass also traps moisture in the lower areas, making the lawn prone to fungus and other diseases.
The grass may grow unevenly, and your lawn may look rough. Moreover, there is also a high chance that the grass may turn yellow or brown. Not mowing for an extended time after weed and feed may cause the grass to go to seed, whereby its blades look more like weeds than grass.
Long grass may overwhelm your mower and dull your mower’s blades when you try to mow it after a long time. Clippings left behind after mowing the longer grass are also longer and difficult to manage. Longer grass clippings often sit on the top of the lawn and are difficult to remove.
Do You Cut the Lawn and Weed First Before Applying Weed & Feed?
I recommend waiting at least 2 to 3 days after mowing before applying weed & feed. And after you applied the weed & feed you should wait again at least 2 to 3 days before mowing your lawn. This helps the grass to absorb the herbicide. If not you will apply it partly to cut leaves, or you cut the leaves before it has been absorbed.
Always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular weed & feed product.
When to weed and feed
Weed and feed products that contain pre-emergent herbicides must be applied in early spring before weeds appear. These products are applied over a dry lawn. A pre-emergent won’t affect the weeds once the weeds have already appeared on the lawn.
The lawns that are already infested with weeds must be treated with weed and feed product that contains post-emergent herbicides. These products must be applied over a wet lawn so that the product’s granules stick to the weed’s leaves. They must be applied from late spring onward.
Weed and feed products contain both herbicides and fertilizer. They must be applied if your lawn contains weeds and also need fertilizers. Using weed and feed over an entire lawn is only necessary if there are weeds all over.
If weeds are only present in a specific area of your lawn, then you must apply fertilizer and herbicides separately. Using herbicides in areas where there are no weeds is just a waste of money, as that patch doesn’t require any herbicide treatment. Therefore, you must always consider applying fertilizer and herbicide separately if you don’t have weeds all over.
Weed and feed products for bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses should be applied in spring or fall. During this season, the weeds are actively growing in these grasses, and hence it is the best time to hinder their growth.
For warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, zoysia, and St. Augustine, the weed and feed should also be applied before the targeted weed seeds germinate.
Before applying weed and feed, the forecast should be clear of rain for at least 24 hours. To spread weed and feed evenly over the lawn, use a spreader. Sprinkle the grass before weed and feed application to dampen it.
Bagging the clippings before treatment
If your lawn suffers from a lot of weed, I recommend bagging the clippings before you apply the weed & feed. This will reduce the seeds spread around other parts of the grass.
After you have used the weed & treat, this is not needed. I even recommend not removing them after the first mow after applying the weed & feed. In that case, the clippings will contain some weed & feed this will break down and reach the roots of the grass.
Weed and feed application
When you want to fertilize your turf and control the weeds with the same application, weed, and feed is an option to consider. The best way to choose the correct weed and feed product for your lawn is to observe your lawn care and decide whether you are trying to prevent weeds from growing or trying to get rid of the ones that are already there.
If you don’t have weeds on your lawn and try to prevent any future growth, you must use pre-emergent weed and feed products. When you apply this product to your lawn, you create a barrier underneath the soil. When the weed seeds try to emerge on your lawn, they face this chemical barrier and die out before they can sprout.
A post-emergent weed and feed product is used when you have already grown weeds on your lawn, and you are trying to remove them. This product needs to stick to the weed leaves to hinder growth and prevent them from further growth. Make sure that the chemical doesn’t get washed off into the ground.
The two important things to remember about weed and feed application are:
- Watering lightly prior: Water the lawn lightly before applying the product so that the leaves are wet and the granules stick to the leaves.
- No watering after: Avoid watering soon after application to give the product time to get absorbed and taken down to the roots.
Warnings and Precautions
Avoid mowing the lawn for at least one week after weed and feed application. Otherwise, the granules may get collected in the lawnmower bag.
Keep pets and children out of the area where weed and feed are applied. The product should stay on the lawn for at least two days before watering. You can mow the lawn after watering once the lawn is dry.
Avoid using weed and feed products on new lawns. If you have planted grass seeds in your yard, you must wait for at least 16 months after their plantation. If you have planted sods, you should wait for at least 3 months before applying weed and feed.
Reseeding the lawn soon after weed and feed application is not advisable. The pre-emergent herbicides in the product will hinder the growth of grass and prevent it from germinating. You should wait for three to four weeks after applying weed and feed before you reseed the bare spots in your lawn.
Watering the lawn after weed and feed application washes out the granules before they have a chance to work. Therefore, avoid watering the lawn for at least two days after application.
After application, pour the water on the grass and not down the drain when rinsing spreaders and other equipment types to prevent the contamination of waterways.
Weed and feed products work on broadleaf weeds only. If you have grass-like weeds on your lawn, then use crabgrass products instead. Avoid weed and feed application during the summer heat. Otherwise, you will burn your grass. Use a regular fertilizer to meet the needs of the grass in your lawn during summers.
Applying a combination of fertilizer and herbicide can be an effective way of boosting your lawn’s health and getting rid of the weeds in your lawn. The most important thing while using weed and feed products is to follow the directions on the label. This will help you to control the concentration and application rate according to the type of grass you grow in your yard. Mowing the lawn to the correct height can help to achieve the best results from weed and feed application. Mowing at least two days before or after the application is the most suitable practice. After successful weed and feed application, frequent mowing can help to achieve the best results.
When to apply weed and feed on newly seeded lawn – CANNABISGUIDEUSA.COM (2022)
Growing grass generally doesn’t take an agonizing amount of effort. But cultivating a new lawn requires a certain level of diligence to give grass seed the best chance to germinate and thrive. It is also important for roots to grow deep into the soil in order to form a well-established lawn. In this article I’ll explain when to fertilize new grass so that you can enjoy the best results.
The key benefit of a well-established lawn is that it will be hardy and more resistant to inclement conditions.
Fertilizer provides grass seed or newly germinated grass with concentrated nutrients. While you could introduce fertilizer at any time (or not at all), fertilizing grass at just the right times in the growth cycle can put your grass into “hulk mode” – if you will. The nutrients available in fertilizers also come in varying percentages that can be more beneficial for different stages of growth. Choosing a fertilizer that is too highly concentrated can actually burn your lawn!
Why Should I Fertilize New Grass?
Fertilizers contain essential nutrients that can improve overall soil health in your area. The main nutrients in fertilizer are potassium (K), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P). Healthy soil is more resistant to weeds, pests, fungus, erosion, runoff, and patchy grass. Soil that lacks the essential nutrients can be difficult growing medium.
That being said, too much can lead to burning and using the wrong fertilizer can have far-reaching effects on the soil in your area.
When the ground is saturated with the nutrients found in fertilizer, it can end up leaking through to the water table and lead to runoff. Runoff of fertilizer chemicals has been found to be responsible for toxic algae blooms in local ponds and lakes that are harmful to people and pets. For this reason, fertilizers are often highly regulated and often only certain amounts can be purchased at a time.
How to Choose the Best Fertilizer for New Grass
There are two main types of fertilizer to start with: regular (or slow-release) fertilizer and starter (or quick release) fertilizer. Consider the dietary needs of humans in different age groups: the needs of a baby are far different from an adult.
“Weed and Feed” fertilizers contain herbicides such as corn gluten to prevent weeds from germinating. This is an important fertilizer to take note of and avoid when planting new grass seed because most of these will also prevent your grass seed from germinating!
My Recommended Starter Fertilizer for New Grass
Crabgrass is everywhere in my area, so my favorite fertilizer to use when seeding a new section of lawn is Scott’s Turf Builder Starter Fertilizer + Crabgrass Preventer.
Unlike many other weed and feed products, this fertilizer does not harm new grass as it germinates, but it does (at least in my experience) successfully block crabgrass and other common weeds for 4-6 weeks to give your new grass time to establish itself. One bag goes a long way too.
Understanding The Nutrients in Lawn Fertilizer
There are three main nutrients in lawn fertilizer. Every fertilizer has a different ratio of these nutrients, and these ratios are on fertilizer packaging as a set of three numbers separated by dashes.
The sequence of numbers indicates the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, respectively and are thus known as NPK ratios.
If you see three numbers on a bag of lawn fertilizer, those numbers will be listed in this order:
Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium
A soil test can help you determine what type of fertilizer will best support your lawn’s health, just make sure you buy a kit that goes beyond simple PH levels and measures these three nutrient levels like this one.
What These 3 Key Nutrients Do to Support New Grass
- Nitrogen is important for the leaf growth you see above ground and helps grass look greener.
- Phosphorus is responsible for promoting root growth below the ground and is important for getting a lawn established.
- Potassium prevents disease and makes the grass more resilient.
New grass seeds need a starter fertilizer that has a higher level of phosphorus and nitrogen that is quick-release, thus readily available for the seeds to absorb.
Quick-release nitrogen also helps seeds absorb more potassium. Some areas actually restrict phosphorus usage exclusively to those starting new lawns.
Fertilizer Ratios for Established Lawns
An established lawn thrives best with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Mature lawns don’t really need much potassium or phosphorus, so you will look for a ratio with a large first number and smaller second and third number. For example, a 30-0-0 or a 27-3-3 ratio would be most appropriate for an established lawn that you want to green up and look beautiful.
Starter Fertilizer Ratios for New Grass Seed
A good starter fertilizer for new lawns should be closer to a 21 – 22 – 4 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and those nutrients should be quick-release so they’re accessible to your seedlings right away to help your new lawn establish itself as quickly as possible.
Potash commonly found in soil is a source of potassium, so it is common for the levels of potassium in fertilizer to be very low.
When to Fertilize New Grass
It is important to make sure that your soil has the appropriate nutrients for new grass seed prior to dispersing the seed itself.
So, after preparing your soil for seed or sod, the last step before planting is to fertilize the soil with a starter fertilizer. This can be done before you lay seed or sod, or at the same time.
After you apply starter fertilizer, don’t reapply it. The ratios of nutrients can actually be harmful and burn established grass. I recommend using a traditional, nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer 6-8 weeks after planting new grass.
While you may be eager to fertilize again to encourage growth, fertilizing too often is harmful. It can burn your grass, leach into the water table, and more. It’s important to wait a minimum of four to six weeks before another application of fertilizer, and I recommend 6-8 weeks.
My Process for Seeding a New Lawn
- Dethatch and Aerate the lawn if needed.
- If lawn does not need to be dethatched, use an iron rake to loosen the soil and remove dead grass.
- Remove any dead grass from the area you will be seeding.
- Apply starter fertilizer evenly across the area you will be seeding.
- Apply a generous amount of grass seed that is appropriate for your area and the growing conditions of your lot.
- Use the back of a leaf rake to gently work the seed into contact with the loosened soil
- Apply 1/4″ – 1/2″ of compost loosely over the grass seed to retain moisture and provide nutrients to the new grass seedlings
- Water to keep compost and seedlings moist until well established.
- After grass seedlings are established, water less frequently and more deeply to promote root growth.
- Mow once grass seedlings are about 3″ tall, removing 1/2″ – 3/4″ of grass blades with a sharp mower blade. Bag these clippings and remove.
- Mow again once grass gets to 3″ again, removing no more than 1″.
- Apply nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer 6-8 weeks after seeding (optional).
Should You Fertilize Again in the Fall?
An application of a fertilizer that has a modest amount of slow-release nitrogen in the fall can help to bolster your grass before the coming winter. It’s important to make sure that this is done well before the first frost, so no later than November 1st for southern states and an even earlier cutoff for northern states.
Fertilizing with nitrogen before snow can create snow mold and kill your lawn which landscaper Roger Cooke discusses in the video below:
When spring rolls around again, if you already have an established lawn, then the best time to fertilize will be when grass has greened up and you’ve been able to mow a couple of times. Do this about 6 weeks after overseeding. Use regular fertilizer that has a higher ratio of nitrogen.
In late spring and early summer, if your lawn has been a little bit neglected and needs a boost then you can apply a slow-release fertilizer in 45 to 60 day intervals.
My Preferred Slow-Release Organic Lawn Fertilizers
I use either Purely Organic Lawn Food or Milorganite on my lawn – both are effective organic options.
Compost is the best and most natural fertilizer that you can have available at your fingertips, and I try to apply a thin layer of compost to my entire lawn at least once every two years.
Using a dark, rich, and loose compost at least once every three or four years in the early fall can increase the nutrients in your soil naturally.
My town has an organic composting center where residents bring leaf and grass clippings, and residents are able to enjoy free screened compost in whatever quantity they need.
If you don’t have access to this, contact your local nursery – they can probably deliver screened compost to you. If you have a small yard, split a delivery with your neighbors.
How Do I Fertilize New Grass Seed?
Start by weeding the area that you will be planting in, then gently rake the top layer of soil to loosen it.
This is when to fertilize new grass seed. You can apply fertilizer to the soil, or you can do it at the same time as while you spread grass seed.
Spread your grass seed; a popular method is using a broadcast spreader.
Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of soil either by raking in one direction or sprinkling a little layer of soil using the same broadcast spreader. A very light watering is okay, just make sure not to uncover the seeds from their blanket of soil.
Growing, Growing, Gone
In summary, a lawn starter fertilizer high in phosphorus and quick-releasing nitrogen is ideal for starting a lawn from seed.
Regular slow-release fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen is best for planting sod or giving your existing lawn a boost. It is best to apply starter fertilizer just before, or at the same time as planting grass seed. Follow-up at least four to six weeks later with a regular fertilizer.
More frequent application can be harmful to your lawn and the environment, so don’t overdo it.
A final application of fertilizer in the fall before the first frost can also provide a beneficial boost for your grass through the winter and lead to more growth come spring. I like to use a phosphorus-heavy fertilizer in the fall to encourage deep root growth. This way my lawn is ready for an organic nitrogen treatment in the spring to green up beautifully.
Answered: When to Fertilize New Grass
Growing a thick and lush lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
Most grasses require only a small amount of maintenance to grow quite robust.
Properly timing the application of fertilizer can give you the most “bang for your buck.” It can also give your grass a boost in growth without burning your lawn or leading to harmful runoff.
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by Sarah The Lawn Chick
I’ve learned to love caring for my lawn naturally and enjoying it daily. On this blog I’ll share some of my best tips and tutorials to help you make your lawn the best on the block!
10 thoughts on “ When to Fertilize New Grass for Best Results ”
I overseeded two weeks or more ago and am just now starting to see some of it grow. I didn’t fertilize immediately before or while planting. Is it too late to apply any fertilizer of any sort, starter, etc? For full disclosure of the situation, I had applied a weed and feed probably 5 to 6 weeks before planting seed, not realizing part of my lawn was only weed, which resulted in lots of brown, bare areas! That’s why I overseeded with Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue later. I’ve been watering everyday since planting.
Great question. The best time to fertilize new grass grown from seed is with a good starter fertilizer high in phosphorous right when you sow the seed, but if you missed that window and your grass has already germinated I’d recommend holding off until your new grass seedlings are about 1.5 inches tall. At that time, apply a good all-around lawn fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.
Applying starter fertilizer to new grass risks burning your young seedlings, which is why it’s typically best to add those nutrients to the soil at the time of sowing your seed. This way the nutrients are accessible to your new shoots of grass, but have soaked in with your regular watering as you wait for your seed to germinate.
As I say in the article above, anyone who uses starter fertilizer when spreading seed should wait about 6 weeks to fertilize again, but in your circumstance (which is one a lot of people find themselves in), I’d suggest applying a good all-around lawn fertilizer when your new grass seedlings are almost an inch and a half in height. Something organic and slow release is the safest option as you won’t risk burning your new grass with that, even if you over-apply by mistake. If you choose to go with something synthetic, go light with the first application (0.5 – 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet). You can read my recommendations for organic lawn fertilizers right here, and if you’re not sure of the square footage of your yard, here’s a list of some online tools you can use to get accurate measurements of different areas of your lawn.
Hi, I’ve got a new lawn that was planted about 3 weeks ago. I have been watering on a regular basis. It’s coming in nice and thick in spots but other spots it seems like it’s just starting to grow.or even some spots bare. Is there something I can put on it to boost it up. Or leave as is… thanks for any advice
Thanks for the comment. When you’re seeding a new lawn it’s pretty common to get some spots here and there that are thin or bare. This is something you’ll just want to spot-treat with some more seed and peat moss to get those spots to fill in – that’s my best advice. If you’re growing a grass that spreads via rhizomes, the thin areas should take care of themselves over time … but I’d still probably get some of the same seed you used to patch the bare spots and get some grass growing there too.
This happens to everyone when seeding a new lawn – it’s part of the process. Wind, rain, birds, a funny bump with your spreader, or just a heavy hand with the rake when raking in your seed can all cause some sections to get a little less seed than others. Patch ’em now and in 3 more weeks you’ll have a beautiful lawn! Good luck
We have been following our local seed & garden store’s advice on a new lawn- no fertilizer till 3rd mowing., then apply starter fertilizer. So far it looks beautiful. They said to then apply a regular fertilizer after 6 more weeks. As we just read your advice and it differs should we do anything different since the starter fertilizer was applied later? What fertilizer should we switch to?
Thanks for the comment and I’m so glad your new lawn is coming in well. If you’re having good results based on their advice I’d probably recommend you stick with it. 6 Weeks after you applied starter fertilizer sounds right to me.
Personally, I like to go organic/slow-release with my regular lawn fertilizer so I’d follow-up what you’ve done with something along those lines. I like Milorganite, Purely Organic Lawn Food, or Espoma’s organic lawn fertilizer – any of those will work well for you. Follow the application rate on the bag, and if you want to get an accurate square footage size on different areas of your lawn, these tools can help you do that.
We have a new sod laid down by our builder in our new build home at the end of September in Ottawa, Ontario. I am trying to water once every day since it isn’t too warm anymore here. When is it a good time to over-seed or fertilize the new grass using Fall food before Winters and how long should I wait before the grass is established? The temperatures have started to lower a bit already. Thanks.
For cool-season lawns I like to do my final fertilizer application of the year (fall lawn food) in late October or Early November. Since you’re pretty far north I’d say any time between now and the end of the month is fine.
Since it’s brand new sod my guess is you won’t have to overseed right away, so you can probably do that next year – either in the spring or (ideally) in the fall.
I also missed the fertilizer at the time of new seed, and now grass is about 1″ tall, should I apply “Scotts starter fertilizer (since its first time I am planning to grow grass) or just the one you suggested with high nitrogen ?
If your grass is growing well I’d probably hold off and give it a shot in the arm with one of the organic fertilizers I mentioned above in the article. I would apply it after you do the first mow, once your grass is 3″ or taller. Bag those clippings, then feed it with the slow-release fertilizer. At this time of year a fall fertilizer is a good alternative to those I mentioned above (though they’ll work fine as well). Some of the fall lawn fertilizers have some extra phosphorus to help with root development, which may help since you skipped the starter fertilizer with that.
Sometimes a quick-release starter fertilizer after your young grass is already growing can burn it, which is why I recommend applying something else after your seedlings are more established.
How Long After I’ve Planted Grass Seed Can I Apply Weed Killer?
Before you plant grass seed, you should always prepare the area by removing any weeds that may be growing in the location. Even with careful preparation of the planting site, weeds can still develop among the newly planted grass seed. Weed killers, however, can harm grass seeds and seedlings if applied too early or improperly.
A general rule of thumb is to wait at least until you have mowed the new grass four times before using any standard postemergent broadleaf herbicide. A standard pre-emergent herbicide should not be applied until at least three to four months after seeding the area.
Herbicides and Seeding
Some pre-emergent herbicides can safely be used during seeding and usually come mixed with a seed starter. These products have the active ingredient Siduron – also known as Tupersan – that works by suppressing weed seeds while improving root development of the new grass. The fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide mix is applied with a drop or rotary spreader using a rate of 2 1/2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. The spreader setting and actual application depends on the brand of starter fertilizer plus weed control you use, and you should always follow the instructions found on the label.
Weed Control after Seeding
You can control weeds in newly planted grass seed and seedlings without the use of herbicides. Manually pulling the weeds by hand when they first appear keeps them from producing seeds and prevents the problematic plants from spreading, according to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program website. They suggest keeping the newly planted grass weed free with proper mowing, irrigation and fertilization. Since newly planted turfgrass has short roots, keep the root zone moist by watering the soil lightly. However, avoid over saturating the soil. After the turfgrass has become established, promote deep and healthy root growth by watering infrequently but deeply.
Considerations and Precautions
Weed management should be completed before seeding the lawn with a non-selective herbicide seven to 14 days before you till the soil. A second application of the herbicide may be required to kill any weeds you missed during the first treatment. Wait another seven days until tilling the soil if a second application is used.
Remember that all herbicides are different and the exact time you must wait to apply weed killers to newly planted grass will vary from one product to another. Also, some herbicides cannot be applied to certain species of turfgrass. For best results, always refer to the herbicide bottle’s label.
Will Weed and Feed Kill Grass Seed? When to Plant and Spray
Many gardeners often find themselves unsure of how long they’re supposed to wait until they can apply weed and feed to their lawns after planting grass seed. Conversely, the issue may be how long one’s supposed to wait to plant grass seed after spraying weed and feed. For both concerns, the answer largely revolves around the type of herbicides found in different weed and feed products.
Can you put weed and feed on grass seed?
You may be having an irresistible urge to spray weed and feed on your recently overseeded turf after spotting one or two weeds sprouting on the lawn. However, the growing seedlings will not be able to survive the strength of the herbicide. If you’re planning to use a weed and feed product with a post-emergent herbicide on your growing turf, wait until the grass roots anchor deeper into the soil and the lawn is established.
Also, some weed and feed products are non-selective, pre-emergent herbicides targeted at preventing weed seeds from sprouting. As such, when they’re applied on a recently seeded lawn even before the grass seeds germinate, they’ll kill the weed seeds as well as the grass seeds.
To control weeds on lawns before the new grass is established, consider alternative measures like spot treatments. You can also manually uproot the weed plants if the infestation is still in the early stages.
Mowing also helps to control weed growth in newly-established lawns, as the grass grows stronger and crowds out more weeds. In fact, it’s advisable to refrain from spraying weed and feed on your new turf until after the third mowing. By then, the grass will be strong enough to withstand herbicides.
However, even then, you should only use a post-emergent, selective weed and feed product. These will easily kill broadleaf weeds like dandelions and clover without harming your turfgrass. Pre-emergent herbicides won’t work on already existing weed plants, while non-selective/systemic herbicides will kill both the weeds and your growing turfgrass.
When to plant grass seed after weed and feed?
The best time to plant grass seed after applying weed and feed depends on whether the weed and feed used contained a pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicide. For weed and feed products containing post-emergent, systemic weed killers, you can plant grass seed as soon as two weeks after application.
That’s because systemic herbicides don’t leave any residue in the soil that might harm seeds grown a few days after. They’re instead absorbed into plants via the leaves and roots, killing the whole plant within 7 days. Common examples of systemic herbicides include glyphosate and pelargonic acid.
Pre-emergent herbicides, on the other hand, are formulated to inhibit seed germination by forming a chemical barricade atop the soil. Thus, if you plant your grass seed soon after applying a weed and feed with a pre-emergent herbicide, they won’t sprout as the herbicide will still be in the soil.
To seed your lawn after using a pre-emergent weed and feed, you may have to wait between 1-6 months, with 2 months being the average wait time. This is due to the wide variation in the duration it takes for different types of pre-emergent herbicides to degrade in the soil. A herbicide like 2,4-D decays in as soon as four weeks, but you may have to wait for six months to plant grass seed on a lawn treated with Atrazine herbicide.
Take note, though, that there are some types of weed and feed products that can be used to suppress weed seeds without affecting grass seed. These products usually contain siduron, a pre-emergent herbicide that also boosts germination of grass seed. If your pre-emergent weed and feed contains siduron as the primary active ingredient, you can sow grass seed right after application.
Note: Always read the labelling on your weed and feed for information on how long you should wait to plant grass seed post-application. The types of herbicides infused into the product usually determines the manufacturers’ wait time recommendations.
How long after seeding can you spray for weeds?
It’s not uncommon to find weeds sprouting and growing on your lawn alongside your new grass seedlings. The right time to spray selective weed and feed on your lawn after seeding is after mowing three times. At this stage, the grass is mature enough to withstand the harsh chemical herbicides inside the weed and feed.
You can also spray a pre-emergent weed killer if the weed infestation is still in the earlier stages. When you start to notice weeds on your new turf, it’s a sign that more weed seeds are present in the ground and are about to germinate.
You should spray a pre-emergent at least 14 days after seeding, after the grass seeds have germinated into seedlings. As such, you’ll be targeting only the weed seeds that haven’t yet sprouted, and not your grass seeds.
Note: Never use a non-selective weed killer on your new lawn, no matter how mature the grass looks, as it will kill all plants it comes into contact with including the grass.
Weed Control Tips after Seeding a Lawn
You can keep weeds out of your lawn after seeding by adopting the proper watering, fertilizing, and mowing practices. Doing so helps your turf grow stronger and stay healthy enough to choke out weeds.