When you picture your ideal, perfect lawn, that picture probably doesn’t include pesky weeds like crabgrass. However, keeping your lawn free of invasive weeds requires constant care. Here’s one important step that can save time, money and a lot of frustration. Pre-emergent herbicides are weed killers that prevent the germination of seeds by secreting an enzyme that stops the weed’s growing process before it can even push through the soil. The most common type of pre-emergent herbicide is one designed to prevent crabgrass and other weed seeds from establishing new plants for the next season. 

seedlings pushing through the soil

The important thing to remember about using pre-emergent herbicides is to get the timing right, as it is crucial in order for the chemical to work. For example, crabgrass seeds germinate when soil temperatures reaches a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to work, pre-emergent herbicides must be applied before temperatures rise enough to allow the seed to germinate. According to weather specialists, soil temperatures in the Atlanta region will reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-March. Therefore, you must apply your anti-crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide sometime in the next eight weeks in order for it to work.

Conversely, you must also be careful not apply your pre-emergent herbicide too early, as the chemicals in the herbicide will degenerate and be of no use to you once the weeds begin to germinate. As most pre-emergent herbicides can remain active in soil for six weeks, it is safe to say that the ideal dates for pre-emergent herbicide application in the Atlanta area looks to be around March 1st .

While timing is the most crucial aspect of pre-emergent herbicide application, there are other factors to keep in mind as well. Below are some helpful tips on how to best apply and use your pre-emergent herbicides.

  • Treat the Entire Area- Pre-emergent herbicides only work where they have been spread, so if you miss a spot, weeds will grow. 
  • Water Often- The majority of pre-emergent herbicides require plenty of watering. This includes those that are in liquid forms themselves. The pre-emergent is dispersed into the layers of the soil by being absorbed with water, so feel free to water with liberty. 
  • Use Caution When Applying to New Lawns- Pre-emergent herbicides can also effect the germination of grass seed, so be sure to wait before applying new lawn seed after using a pre-emergent.
  • Read the Label- Pre-emergent herbicides are dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to you, your children, and your pets. Always be sure to read the label thoroughly and carefully understand any and all of the safety directions. 

Pre-emergent herbicides, when used correctly, are an easy and effective way to keep your lawn beautiful and weed-free. And the specialists at Environmental Turf Management can handle the job for you, applying the right treatments at the right time. Contact us to find out how we can give you a beautiful lawn this spring.