How to Use Pre-Emergent & Grass Seed


A pre-emergent herbicide is a chemical used to control growth of annual weeds by preventing their seeds from germinating. Apply the herbicide to the soil at least one week prior to weed seed germination to establish and be effective. Grass seed cannot be planted in the area until the fall season as the pre-emergent must fully leach out of the soil to allow the grass seed to germinate.

Step 1

Purchase a pre-emergent herbicide that is rated for use with grass seed and lawn. Some pre-emergent herbicides will kill all vegetation and should be avoided on lawns.

Step 2

Clear all vegetation from the area being seeded in late winter or early spring. Apply the pre-emergent herbicide to the soil in late March or early April. The herbicide must be applied prior to sowing grass seed as it can inhibit seed germination and growth.

Step 3

Water the soil with 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water immediately after applying the herbicide to push it into the soil. The herbicide will stop vegetative weed growth at the root level and must be leached out of the soil before sowing the grass seed.

Step 4

Sow grass seeds in the fall season once the temperatures begin to cool. Rake the soil well to smooth the surface prior to sowing grass seed. Apply a starter fertilizer to the soil to assist with seed germination.

Step 5

Sow grass seeds using a broadcast lawn seeder to get an even application of seed. Gently water the seeded area and place a light layer of mulch over the seed to retain moisture and prevent seed being washed away or eaten by birds.

Step 6

Apply lawn fertilizer three to four weeks after seeding the lawn to stimulate lawn growth. The seed should sprout and become established at this time.

Things You'll Need

  • Pre-emergent herbicide
  • Water
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Grass seed
  • Rake
  • Mulch
  • Lawn fertilizer


  • Landscape America: Pre-Emergent Weed Control
  • University of Colorado Extension: Pre-emergent Herbicides
  • University of Georgia: Herbicides Available for Weed Control
Keywords: pre-emergent and grass seed, use pre-emergent on lawn, seed with pre-emergent

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.