Fall Pre-Emergent

“Be proactive about weeds in your lawn…..not reactive!”

It’s that time to put out pre-emergent herbicides. What is that you ask? Pre-emergent herbicides are usually applied twice a year to lawns and established flower beds to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Timing of application is key! We apply the fall application around mid to late September when our fall rains come (and we know the cool-season weeds will appear).

Pre-emergent herbicides are much safer to use around surrounding trees and plants than “weed and feed” type fertilizers. Many “Weed and Feed” products contain post-emergent broad leaf weed killers which kill already green and growing broadleaf plants. These types of weed killers do not discriminate between a broad leaf weed or an ornamental tree or shrub, and will slowly, over time, weaken our trees and shrubs. This could kill them or pre-dispose them to insects and disease problems. The beauty of pre-emergent herbicides is that you can prevent the weeds from even starting to grow and never have to use broadleaf post-emergent week killers!  If used properly twice a year (once in spring for warm-season weeds and once in fall for cool-season weeds), you should never have to worry about weeds again! Wouldn’t that be nice? Basically, pre-emergent herbicides ONLY stop seeds from growing, while weed and feed products can and will harm any plant or tree over time. Click here to see why “Weed and Feed” products are so harmful to the environment.

In addition to pre-emergent herbicides, it is also time to apply fall fertilizer to your lawns. Fertilization at this time is not intended to “green-up” your yard, but rather to encourage healthy root formation for next spring’s growth. MicroLife‘s line of Organic Fertilizers are an excellent choice. Here is a helpful link from Texas A&M about warm season turf grass fertilization.

Remember, Backbone Valley Nursery is here to help! Please let us know your questions and concerns. If we don’t know the answer, then we will try to find out for you.

Recommended Pre-emergent Herbicides


XL2G will control over 50 broadleaf and grassy weed species. It comes in a 50# bag and will cover 21,780 sq.ft. It is labeled for use in established turfgrass, ornamentals, and landscaped areas. It can be used in well established St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Buffalograss. It also will not harm most tree species. Use at a rate of 4.6 lbs/1,000 sq.ft or 200 lbs/acres. See label for spreader settings, directions, and cautions. Read label before you apply any chemical.


Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper with Dimension

This is a great product that we have started to carry in the last year. It is easy on the pocket book, controls crabgrass, grasses, and other broadleaf weeds. Plus it also controls sandburs (stickers to us Texans). It comes in a 35# bag which covers 10,000 sq.ft and also a 12# bag that covers 5,000 sq.ft.  It is safe for use in zoysia grass, bermuda grass, buffalo grass, St. Augustine grass, and landscaped areas. Be sure to only use in established grasses and flower beds. It is safe for use around established trees. Use at a rate of 4-9 lbs/ 1,000 sq.ft or .22-.5 lbs/acre. See label for spreader settings, directions, and cautions.


Corn Gluten Meal

This is a great organic alternative to chemical pre-emergent herbicides. It is the best choice if you live next to the lake or fresh water source!  Corn gluten meal is a by-product of the corn milling process, which works by inhibiting root formation in germinating seeds.  Weeds germinate and form a shoot, but not roots.  A short drying period is required after germination because too much water may allow the weed plant to recover and grow roots. Thus, it is important to water-in the corn gluten meal at the time of application with ¼” to ½” water, followed by several days of dry weather to prevent root formation. Watch the weather for upcoming stray showers! Additionally, this product provides about 10% Nitrogen by weight to fertilize our lawns.

Be sure not to confuse corn gluten meal with plain horticultural cornmeal. There is a difference between the two and plain horticultural cornmeal will not give you the pre-emergent weed control properties you are looking for. Apply Corn Gluten Meal at a rate of 10-20 lbs per 1,000 sq.ft. It is safe to use on any type of grass or in established flower beds. It is also handy in the vegetable garden around tomatoes and established veggies (4-6″ tall), but don’t use it in an area where you are going to want vegetable seeds to germinate within the next 4-6 months.


By |2017-09-15T15:25:54+00:00September 14th, 2017|Lawn Care|

About the Author:

Mary Kay is an asset to Backbone and a wealth of knowledge! Many customers come in and ask for her by name for all their plant questions. It's no wonder why, as Mary Kay has 43 years of experience in the horticulture field. She holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Ohio State University, and a TMCNP and a TCLP from Texas Association of Nurserymen, and a Specialist in Urban Trees Certification from Texas A&M.