Green Team Blog

What is Pre-Emergent Herbicide?

As warmer temperatures begin to arrive in Northern Michigan, you may be shifting your focus from the snow blower to the lawn mower. But before you break out your trusty lawn-mowing friend, you need to consider what your lawn needs after the long winter months.

Just like a bear emerging from hibernation, you grass and pesky weeds living in it, have been dormant for months. Your lawn desperately needs nutrients, water, and sunshine. Unfortunately, the weeds lurking in your turf need the same thing.

So how do you feed your lawn and prevent annoying weeds from taking root? Let’s explore what pre-emergent herbicide is, how it works, and when you should apply it so that your grass is healthier than ever this growing season.

What is Pre-Emergent Herbicide?

Pre-emergent herbicides, sometimes called pre-emergent weed control, are a vital tool in the fight against weeds in your lawn. It simply targets weeds that have not yet germinated and emerged from the soil. It forms a barrier in the soil that inhibits the growth of weed seedlings, effectively stopping them in their tracks before they have a chance to take root and spread.

When Should I Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Control?

Timing is crucial when it comes to applying pre-emergent weed control. The goal is to apply the herbicide before the weed seeds begin to germinate or grow, which is typically early in the Spring months here in Northern Michigan. With the sometimes wildly fluctuating weather in the Traverse City area, it is important to also not apply your pre-emergent too soon. Applying too early means the ground is still potentially frozen and therefore unable to absorb any treatments.

Thankfully, Mother Nature gives us a great guide for when to put down your first application of fertilizer containing pre-emergent herbicide. When the beautiful vibrant blooms of the Forsythia bush begin to show, be sure you apply your pre-emergent!

Most professional lawn care companies apply pre-emergent weed control as a part of their first application of fertilizer. This prevents weeds from using the nutrients meant for your grass!

How Does Pre-Emergent Herbicide Work?

Pre-emergent herbicides contain active ingredients that disrupt the growth process of weed seeds. When applied correctly, these herbicides form a protective barrier in the soil that does not allow weeds to establish themselves at all in your lawn. The hardest-to-defeat weeds, like crabgrass, are most effectively treated with a pre-emergent herbicide.

lawn care expert applies granular fertilizer on ride on machine

How is Pre-Emergent Herbicide Applied?

Pre-emergent herbicides must be spread evenly across your lawn like a blanket. If you do not cover your entire grass, you will have breakthrough weed growth.

When applying, pay close attention to areas where weeds are most likely to germinate, such as along edges, in bare patches, or in high-traffic areas. We recommend watering your lawn after your first fertilizer treatment to help activate the product and help it sink into the soil.

lawn care expert trims grass

Will Pre-Emergent Herbicide Work on Existing Weeds?

The short answer here is no. Pre-emergent herbicides target weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate, so if weeds are already present in your lawn, you will need to use a post-emergent herbicide to kill them. If you apply your pre-emergent herbicide too late in the season, unfortunately, it will do very little to combat weeds. However, incorporating pre-emergent weed control into your lawn care routine can help prevent future weed infestations and minimize the need for post-emergent treatments next year.

lawn care expert sprays spot sprays weeds in grass

Selecting Your Lawn Care Team

When it comes to achieving a lush, healthy lawn, having the right team on your side can make all the difference. While many lawn tasks are great DIY projects, fertilization and weed control are best left to professionals.

All lawn care professionals in the state of Michigan are required to be licensed. This licensure requires several lengthy tests and continuing education every year after the tests have been successfully passed. The knowledge lawn care professionals gain from this education helps to protect your grass from over or under-fertilization and helps to protect the environment.

When selecting a lawn care team, be sure to ask if weed control services are part of their traditional lawn fertilization packages. Here at Green Team, pre-emergent herbicides are included into every first fertilizer application of the season automatically. If you know that your lawn struggled with weeds in previous years, be sure to select a reputable lawn care team that has the expertise and resources needed to asses your lawn, identify potential weed issues, and develop a customized treatment plan to keep your lawn looking its best year-round.

With the power of pre-emergent herbicide applications on your side, you can take control of your lawn and say goodbye to pesky weeds once and for all. By understanding how pre-emergent works, knowing when and how to apply them, and enlisting the help of a skilled lawn care team, you can enjoy a lush, weed-free lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

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