Weed Seed Feed Lawn

Some shun weed and feed products, for a variety of reasons. Find out why, as well as whether there may be some instances where they make sense. Lawn Feeding is an important aspect of keeping a beautiful, healthy lawn. To find out why, check out Love The Garden's article on lawn feeding! C-I-L® Lawn Food BIO-WEED & FEED® 9-0-0 prevents weed seeds from germinating, including crabgrass, white clover and dandelion seeds.

Should You Use Weed and Feed? Weed and Feed 101

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia’s Farm and Gardens, a working sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column. She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

Monty Rakusen / Getty Images

“Weed and feed” is a catchy name for products promising something bound to catch the attention of any busy homeowner looking to save time and energy through low-maintenance landscaping. Who wouldn’t want to satisfy two landscaping needs in one operation? As straightforward as that sounds, whether people should use weed and feed can be a question harder to answer than you initially think. We’ll approach the question by discussing the products’ ingredients, effectiveness, and downsides. In case you conclude, from this information, that you’d prefer to use alternatives, you’ll learn about those, too.

What Is Weed and Feed?

“Weed and feed” is an umbrella term for certain 2-in-1 lawn products. They contain both chemical herbicide and chemical fertilizer, so you can kill weeds and feed your grass simultaneously.

What’s In Weed and Feed?

Because “weed and feed” is an umbrella term, there’s no one set list of ingredients for it. Not only is it sold in different forms (granules vs liquid), but it can also serve different purposes. If you’re trying to thwart weeds before they emerge, then you need a weed and feed that contains a pre-emergent herbicide. But if you need to kill weeds after the fact, the product to use is one with a post-emergent herbicide. The “feed” ingredients are not always exactly the same either. For example, the NPK ratio may vary (some mixes leave out phosphorous altogether).

But the typical bag of weed and feed with post-emergent herbicide contains:

  • 2, 4-D, dicamba, MCPP (herbicides)
  • Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (fertilizer)

A typical bag of weed and feed with pre-emergent herbicide may contain, among other ingredients:

  • Dithiopyr (herbicide; often sold as “Dimension”)
  • Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (fertilizer)

What Is an Herbicide vs. a Pesticide?

You’ll sometimes see weed and feed referred to as containing pesticide and fertilizer, which is confusing for beginners. “Pesticide” is a more general term than “herbicide.” A pesticide is a product that kills some type of pest. While “pest” may evoke images of mice or cutworms, weeds are also considered pests. An herbicide is a type of pesticide that specifically kills plant pests (weeds).

Does Weed and Feed Work?

Weed and feed can work, but only if you take the trouble to become informed about lawn care. These are not products suited to those unwilling to do any homework.

Timing is of the essence. Weed and feed is typically applied in spring, but timing here is complicated by the fact that you need to time two different things: weeding and feeding. Let’s assume you’re applying weed and feed with post-emergent herbicide: If you apply it too early, you may kill only a small percentage of the weeds. The weeds that haven’t yet emerged will avoid the post-emergent. But, if you apply it too late, your grass won’t receive the feed it needs to get off to a good start in spring.

See also  High Times Weed Seeds

Consequently, you’ll need to strike a balance. Your best bet is to apply weed and feed approximately when you notice the grass needs its first mowing of the season.

In their criticisms of weed and feed, detractors go well beyond pointing out the difficulty of striking this balance. They argue that, even if you arrive at just the right balance, an application made so early in the year (to satisfy the needs of your grass) generally doesn’t coincide with the ideal timing for killing weeds, most of which emerge later. Consequently, a potentially harmful chemical is being applied to your lawn that does relatively little good. While this is true, the argument is unlikely to persuade a homeowner whose lawn has been overrun by dandelions and who desperately wants to get rid of them: Dandelions are an example of a weed that emerges early in the year, so a post-emergent is effective against them.

Moreover, the argument limits itself to the issue of the effectiveness of post-emergent herbicides and fails to consider the utility of pre-emergent herbicides. Crabgrass is one of the most pernicious weeds and is best controlled with pre-emergent herbicides. Weed and feed designed to suppress crabgrass seed germination in spring could be the right answer for you if you’ve been fighting a losing battle with crabgrass.

Don’t assume the product you’re looking for will have “weed and feed” in its name. One weed and feed that may help you in your battle with crabgrass announces itself as “Crabgrass Pre-emergent Plus Fertilizer.”

How Weed and Feed Can Harm Your Lawn

But such a product will never be the right answer if you’re an organic gardener. Environmentalists are generally opposed to the use of chemicals on the lawn due to the potential harm they cause the environment.

To illustrate how controversial weed and feed is, we need only turn to Canada. That country banned it in 2010 (although you could still buy the herbicide or the fertilizer separately). The ban was meant to target cosmetic use of weed and feed (on residential, commercial, and recreational turf, such as golf courses), carving out an exception for agricultural use.

Continuous use of weed and feed may even negatively impact long-term lawn health. Weed and feed harms soil micro-organisms that are beneficial to grass.

Alternatives to Use

First of all, always ask yourself the question, Do I really need to apply an herbicide? When you notice the grass needs its first mowing of the spring, look around and see how many weeds are present. If you have done a good job in the past of keeping your lawn weed-free, you may not need to use a post-emergent herbicide. As for pre-emergent herbicides, an organic choice is corn gluten meal, which also contains some nitrogen (natural fertilizer), making it something of an “organic weed and feed.”

More generally, simply realize that it may be better to apply herbicides and fertilizers separately, rather than together. It may take more time, but they may work better when used separately, since you’ll be applying them when they’re most effective. This way, you can also limit the adverse impact of potentially harmful chemicals by spot-treating weeds with post-emergent herbicide when and where they appear, thereby reducing the total amount of herbicide released.

It’s easier to go totally organic on a small lawn than on a larger lawn. When the surface to be maintained is minimal, it becomes more feasible to weed your lawn through hand-pulling and to feed it with compost.

See also  Humboldt County Weed Seeds

A complete guide to lawn and grass feeding

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

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

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

Which lawn feed should I use?

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.

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.

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

Spring and summer lawn feeding

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.

Later in the spring once the weeds and moss are under control, 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.

If the weather turns very hot garden grass stops growing and will not use any feed. In addition to this lawns get ‘stressed’ during prolonged dry spells which makes 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.

During these conditions stop feeding your lawn and 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.

Autumn lawn feeding

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

Additionally, some autumn feeds have moss control added to combat 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 of winter and strengthen the lawn ready for spring. Autumn lawn feeds are low in nitrogen as we don’t want to encourage any soft top growth that can be easily burnt by frost.

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 an integral part of lawn care!

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

See also  Big Sur Holy Weed Seeds

To summarise, steps to take for lawn feeding include:

  1. Prepare your lawn for feeding: scarify, rake and mow the lawn at least 3 days before the application of lawn feed or control products.
  2. Apply lawn feed: depending on the time of year apply your lawn feed (for high maintenance lawns consider optional added weed and moss control product).
  3. Maintenance: lightly water the feed in and repeat steps if necessary.

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

BIO-WEED & FEED® Lawn Food 9-0-0

C-I-L ® Lawn Food BIO-WEED & FEED ® 9-0-0 prevents weed seeds from germinating, including crabgrass, white clover and dandelion seeds. Use this lawn fertilizer in conjunction with a sound lawn maintenance program.

  • Information
  • How to use
  • Tips
  • Safety
  • Application Rate
  • Specs

Coverage

Benefits

  • With 90 % corn gluten meal
  • Prevents weed seeds from germinating
  • Thick, green turf with no risk of burning

How to use

  • To inhibit weed seed germination, use in conjunction with a sound lawn maintenance program.
  • Apply product with a fertilizer spreader in a criss-cross pattern. Use half the content in each direction. Weeds that are established at the time of application will not be inhibited.
  • Do not apply the product on newly seeded grass as it may inhibit grass seeds from germinating. Wait until after first mowing when root systems are established.
  • If over-seeding or re-sodding in the spring, do not apply the product in the spring. If over-seeding or re-sodding in the fall, do not apply the product in the fall.

When to apply

  • Apply to established turf twice a year, once in the early spring two weeks before weed seed germination, and once in late summer or early fall after heat stress has passed.
  • Apply when soil is moist and when rain is forecast within 2 days of treatment. If rainfall does not occur within 2 days of treatment, irrigation is required.
  • Excessive moisture at the time of treatment may reduce the effectiveness of the product.
  • This product should be used as part of a complete fertilization program.
  • Do not apply under windy conditions.
  • The inhibitory effect of the product to weed seeds generally dissipates in five weeks following application.
  • Apply to a mature lawn having a well-developed root mass.

Storage

Keep in cool, dry conditions away from seed, fertilizer and pesticides.

Disposal

Do not reuse empty container. Dispose in accordance with municipal or provincial regulations if applicable. If no such regulations apply, wrap and dispose of empty container with household garbage.

Precautions

Keep out of the reach of children. May cause sensitization. Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing. Avoid inhaling/breathing dust. For good hygiene practice, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed footwear and gloves when handling the product. It is recommended that a dust mask be worn when transferring the product to the spreader. Should not be applied if the applicator or a member of the household has a sensitivity or allergy to corn.

General: Seek medical attention immediately if irritation or signs of toxicity occur and persist or are severe. Take container, label or product name and registration number with you when seeking medical attention. Toxicological information: Treat symptomatically.

First aid:
If swallowed:
Rinse mouth and throat with copious amounts of water. Do not induce vomiting.
If on skin/clothing: Take off contaminated clothing. Wash skin with plenty of soap and water. If inhaled: Move to fresh air.
If in eyes: Hold eye(s) open and rinse slowly and gently with water. Remove contact lenses if present, and then continue rinsing.