So maybe you've heard of pre-emergent herbicide or maybe you haven't. This article is designed to explain what pre-emergent herbicide is, how it works and why it's a necessity if you want a lawn free from weeds.
What is pre-emergent herbicide?
Pre-emergent herbicide is a product sold in a variety of forms, by a variety of companies, and when applied properly, is designed to prevent weeds before they ever occur. This does several things for you:
How does pre-emergent herbicide work?
So this magical substance sounds great, right? But if you're like me you want to know what mechanism really makes this stuff function. Well, the way it works is that once it's applied and watered in, it prevents existing seeds from being able to sprout roots. Without sprouting roots, the weed can't form and it's dead before it really ever had a chance to experience life. To get even more technical it works by inhibiting certain enzymes that are responsible for aiding in the process of germination.
When to apply pre-emergent weed control?
In order for pre-emergent weed control to work you have to time it properly. Too soon and the effects will wear off before the seeds are ready to germinate. If you time it too late, the seeds will sprout, take root, and you've missed your window of opportunity. The only hope for you then is to find some selective post-emergent weed control products to help combat the weeds that have taken root.
There's no one right answer on how to properly time pre-emergent weed prevention. If you live in the southern part of the United States, like I do, in Tuscaloosa Alabama then you're going to need to put your pre-emergent out sooner in the season than if you live in say, North Dakota or Oregon.
A good rule of thumb is to apply the pre-emergent herbicide when you expect soil temperatures to get up over about 55 degrees Fahrenheit and stay there for a few days. These are the required temperatures for germination to occur in most weed species. For me here in Tuscaloosa, that could be as soon as January or February and in the northern part of the country that could be as late as April or May.
A second application is needed in the fall to prevent any seeds that are left over from being able to germinate. A good pre-emergent product should give you coverage for about 4 - 5 months.
Do you need to apply pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn?
In short, yes. The only way you're not going to spend your entire year being overrun with weeds in your lawn is if you apply a weed prevention product and put it out at the right times as outlined below. This really is one of the the biggest reasons that when you drive through a subdivision you sometimes see a lawn covered in weeds and then the next door neighbor has a flawless weed-free lawn. There are some other contributing factors that I will cover in future blog posts, but this one is huge!
Will pre-emergent herbicide harm my grass?
If applied in the recommended amounts and on the proper schedule you'll see no negative effects on your lawn, just less weeds.
Do's and Don'ts of pre-emergent herbicide
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