Spring Application of Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Remember the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? That seems to have been written about the use of pre-emergent herbicides. Who wouldn’t prefer spreading a product on our lawns and beds that STOPS the weed BEFORE it comes up? A real no-brainer for me!

Because weeds are classified as “warm-season or cool-season” according to the temperature at which they germinate, we can address a particular weed we may have by timing the application of pre-emergent appropriately. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Timing is everything when dealing with weed control!

Another important factor in determining which product to use and when to use it lies in the identification of the weeds you are trying to control. Chances are, if you had problems with a weed last year, you will also have problems with it this year. Bring samples to Backbone Valley Nursery, and we will identify your weeds if you are not familiar with them.  It is important to know if they are grassy weeds or broadleaf weeds, and whether they germinate in the spring (warm season weeds) or in the fall (cool season weeds). The correct product at the correct timing ensures success!

You have all probably heard of the dangers of using “Weed and Feed” products on your lawns. This primarily relates to the POST-EMEREGENT BROADLEAF WEED KILLER products sold in the spring. Pre-emergent products are much safer to use around established trees, as they only stop weeds from germinating, and are not active in killing established roots. Always read label directions for additional precautions.

We have both Organic and Chemical forms of pre-emergent available for use in the landscape. When using the Chemical forms, please read the instructions on the bag regarding how long to keep kids and pets off the lawn after application. In most cases, it is long enough for the lawn to dry after watering the product in, but be sure to check specifics.

Corn Gluten Meal is a by-product of the corn milling process.  It is an Organic alternative to chemical pre-emergent, and doubles as a slow-release Nitrogen source with about 10% N by weight. It is the best choice if you live near the lake or other water source.

Again, timing is critical in order to realize the best results possible. With corn gluten meal, the wet/dry period must be managed carefully, AND, the product must also be applied BEFORE the weed emerges from the seed!

Corn gluten meal works by inhibiting root formation in germinating seeds.  Weeds germinate and form a short, bent root. A short drying period is required after germination so the root does not develop after emerging. Too much water following germination may allow the weed root to recover and grow again.

Remember, it is important to water-in the corn gluten meal with about ¼” of water at the time of application, and then be sure that it will be followed by several days of dry weather (and no irrigation!).

Ideally, corn gluten meal should be applied to lawns and beds in mid-September to early October, and again in February in Central Texas. The recommended rate is 10-20#/ 1000 sq.ft.

XL2G is a chemical form of pre-emergent that is safe to use on established Bermuda, Buffalo grass, St. Augustine and Zoysia. It will not harm most tree species.  It is best applied when the ground temperature is between 55-85 degrees. It will prevent germination of over 50 broadleaf and grassy weed species such as Annual Bluegrass, Chickweed, Purslane, Spurge, Oxalis, Crabgrass and Barnyard Grass. Usual application is in mid-September for cool-season weeds and in mid- February for warm-season weeds, such as Field Sandburs (yes, it even prevents Grass Burs!) Use at a rate of 4.6#/1000 sq.ft.  A 50# bag will cover 21,780 sq.ft. (1/2 acre)

HiYield Weed and Grass Stopper with Dimension: This chemical form of pre-emergent is safe on established lawns such as Buffalo Grass, Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia as well as on established landscape beds. It is an excellent Crabgrass preventer, and also has post-emergent activity on Crabgrass for up to 4 weeks after it has emerged. For best results, apply the product a few days after mowing and delay mowing for a few days after application. Water it in with about ½” of water. In southern lawns, it is usually applied at the rate of 4-9#/1000 Sq. ft.

As with all chemical products, be sure to read the label and follow all recommendations.

Proper application rate can be just as important to your success as the timing of the application!

By |2017-04-25T14:10:22+00:00April 2nd, 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.

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