When to Weed & Feed?


Many homeowners would love to have a yard that is lush, green and filled with nothing but their specific, selected grass. Unfortunately, weeds like clover, dandelions and the dreaded crabgrass often take over yards that are allowed to develop naturally. This leads many homeowners to search for a product or solution that will kill the weeds and leave the grass to grow.

What is Weed & Feed?

Weed & feed is the name given to a variety of products, available at home and garden supply and landscaping stores, whose purpose is to kill unwanted weeds and fertilize desired grass at the same time. Weed & feed products come in two main varieties. The first contains a pre-emergent herbicide designed to kill weeds, along with a fertilizer for the grass. This type is applied before the yard really begins to grow and while the grass is growing but no weeds are present. The second type contains a post-emergent herbicide. This type is designed to kill weeds that are already growing along with fertilizing the grass and is used throughout the growing season.

When to Use Weed & Feed

The specific timing on when to apply all varieties of weed & feed is best determined by reading the packaging on the product. There are time limits which must be observed between planting new grass and applying this product, between applications of the product, and between cutting the grass and applying weed & feed. There are also strict instructions on how tall the grass needs to be and instructions on water usage and rain when using a weed & feed product.

Precautions When Choosing a Weed & Feed Product

Due to the increasing presence of chemicals contained in weed & feed products in groundwater, rivers and drinking water supplies, many areas have made using chemical weed & feed products illegal. These products contain strong herbicides that might be dangerous to local fish and wildlife. Chemical weed & feed products should not be used in yard or lawn areas where pets will be, children might play, or there is a chance that the chemicals will wash off the yard and into storm drains or other water sources. Do not use chemical weed & feed products near gardens, shrubs and bushes or ornamental plants.

A Natural Weed & Feed Alternative

An alternative to chemical weed & feed products is natural Corn Gluten Meal. Research shows that Corn Gluten Meal inhibits the growth of broad-leaf plants such as dandelions by limiting seed germination and preventing seedlings from developing normal root growth. Corn gluten meal also serves as a slow-release fertilizer due to its natural nitrogen content. If you choose to use Corn Gluten Meal as your weed & feed alternative, you can purchase it from organic and natural garden supply companies. Apply 20 lbs. of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet of lawn in the early fall to prevent winter weed growth and just before spring to prevent weeds while the grass begins to grow. You can also use Corn Gluten Meal wherever you need either an herbicide or a fertilizer. It is safe for use in yards with animals and children and will not harm groundwater supplies.

Keywords: Weed & Feed, Lawn Care, Corn Gluten Meal, Organic Herbicide, Organic Fertilizer

About this Author

Stephannie Hibbard is a High School and College English teacher and freelance writer. She has a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching. She has been involved in a number of published articles, websites, and studies and has served professionally as a copy editor for a local newspaper.

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