Lawn Feeding is an important aspect of keeping a beautiful, healthy lawn. To find out why, check out Love The Garden's article on lawn feeding! Weed and feed is an all-in-one product that promises to fertilize your lawn & prevent weeds in one application—learn if it’s the best solution for your yard. This is a big question in early spring: “My lawn needs everything what should I do first, put down seed or kill my weeds? The reason why this question is tricky is because many of the weed controls will harm new grass seedlings. Here are your best two options: Do you have less than 75%…
A complete guide to lawn and grass feeding
Without food to develop side shoots and thickness a lawn is also open to invasion by weed seeds and moss that thrive in low nutrient conditions. A regular supply of supplementary food makes your lawn thick and green.
There a few types of lawn feed, so you may be a little confused about what to look out for when buying online.
Don’t fret; below are the descriptions and properties of the types of lawn feeds, including the specific benefits of each.
Which lawn feed should I use?
Some lawn treatments just feed your garden lawn and are ideal if your lawn is weed and moss free, but others have added ingredients such as weed killers and/or moss killers. Furthermore, some are designed to use in the autumn to toughen up the grass ready for the winter and/or kill moss.
The reason some lawn feeds are better than others, is because they can release nitrogen and feed over several weeks rather than in one rush soon after application.
The best lawn feed (or fertiliser) to use is one that provides protection from weeds while systematically feeding your lawn and ideally should be applied between April and September. Try Miracle-Gro EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 as it will provide year-round feed when applied no more than twice a year.
Spring and summer lawn feeding
For spring feeding use a product containing feed, weed killers and moss control. This will quickly help the grass to start growing again and control any weeds that are present, plus kill off the moss that might have invaded the lawn over the winter.
Later in the spring once the weeds and moss are under control, move over to just a lawn feed to keep the grass looking thick and green. Liquid lawn feeds via a hose end feeder are ideal for using in late spring into summer as they water the lawn as well in dry periods.
If the weather turns very hot garden grass stops growing and will not use any feed. In addition to this lawns get ‘stressed’ during prolonged dry spells which makes them more susceptible to damage by lawn fertilisers. This will result in you having to take extra care of your garden lawn from that point on.
During these conditions stop feeding your lawn and wait until it has rained to let the water soak in for a few days, then start feeding again. Feed throughout the summer at 6-8 week intervals, weather permitting.
Autumn lawn feeding
Your lawn needs another type of feed in autumn, one which will keep the grass growing at a slow rate and not so lush but still green. It also prepares your lawn for the winter by building up the roots and health of the grass to withstand the cold.
Additionally, some autumn feeds have moss control added to combat any moss present. It’s important to feed with a specific autumn lawn food, such as Miracle-Gro EverGreen Autumn Lawn Care, to get the grass ready for the colder wetter weather of winter and strengthen the lawn ready for spring. Autumn lawn feeds are low in nitrogen as we don’t want to encourage any soft top growth that can be easily burnt by frost.
Feeding in autumn helps encourage strong root growth so your lawn will recover quickly from a harsh winter and put on lush green growth in spring. Autumn feeding is actually the most important feed and an integral part of lawn care!
Whichever product you are using, always carefully read the label before use and apply according to the instructions.
To summarise, steps to take for lawn feeding include:
- Prepare your lawn for feeding: scarify, rake and mow the lawn at least 3 days before the application of lawn feed or control products.
- Apply lawn feed: depending on the time of year apply your lawn feed (for high maintenance lawns consider optional added weed and moss control product).
- Maintenance: lightly water the feed in and repeat steps if necessary.
Check out our video tutorials for how to achieve a great looking lawn on our YouTube channel here.
Everything You Need to Know About Weed and Feed
Weed and feed is the lawn care equivalent of the shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one products in the hair care aisle. They promise to save you time while giving you the same results by applying two different products. However, you’ve probably noticed that two-in-one hair care products haven’t led to the extinction of individual shampoos and conditioners. Many people believe it’s better to weed and feed your lawn as a two-step process for much the same reason.
If you’d like a healthy green lawn but don’t like the idea of applying fertilizers and weed killers yourself, House Method’s recommended lawn care service provider is TruGreen. TruGreen has offices throughout the US and Canada, so there’s likely a TruGreen branch near you.
- Large variety of plan options tailored to homeowners wants and needs
- All services are backed and performed by TruExpert℠ Certified Specialists
- Services provided in 49 states
What is Weed and Feed?
Weed and feed is the term used for lawn care products that contain both herbicides (weed killers, the “weed” part of the name) and fertilizer (the “feed” part). Weed and feed is designed to fertilize your lawn while also killing weeds in your grass, like dandelions and clovers.
Many people like the idea of using weed and feed because it means they only need to do a single application of product rather than separately applying herbicide and fertilizer. They see it as a way to do twice the work in half the time.
The weed killer in weed and feed is either pre-emergent or post-emergent.
- Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating, so they need to be applied very early in the year before the weeds begin to sprout.
- Post-emergent herbicides work on weeds that are already growing,such as moss, clover, and dandelions, so they should be applied later in the year, usually in the summer. Broadleaf weed killers might even be more effective in the fall.
See our pick for DIY weed and feed available from Amazon.
Tips for Using Weed and Feed
Suppose you still think the benefits of a two-for-one application outweigh the negative aspects of weed and feed. In that case, the Weed Science Society of America offers some tips to follow so you get the best results with minor environmental damage:
- Please read the label before you purchase to know what you’re buying and how to apply it.
- Identify the kinds of weeds growing in your yard and make sure the herbicide in your product targets those weeds. If you don’t know what the weeds are, contact your local Extension agent or check an online resource, such as those produced by the Extension Service.
- Identify the kind of grass growing in your yard. A quick rule of thumb: cool-season grasses stay green all year while warm-season grasses go dormant and turn brown in winter. It would be best to fertilize cool-season grasses in the fall and warm-season grasses in the late spring or early summer. Choose a weed and feed that works in that fertilization period.
- Apply the product with post-emergent herbicides early in the morning when the dew is on the grass, or water the lawn before applying. The granules will stick to the wet blades of grass and release the herbicide better than with dry blades.
- Follow the directions that come with the product, including using the recommended amount at the suggested time of year or growth stage for weeds. Applying too much weed and feed or putting it down at the wrong time of year is a waste of money and could damage your lawn.
- Keep the product off other landscape plants. If any gets on the sidewalk or driveway, use a blower or broom to sweep it back into the lawn.
- Clean your hands and shoes after applying the product so you don’t unwittingly take the chemicals into your house.
- Keep kids and pets out of the yard for a few days after treating your lawn. Studies show that lawn chemicals stay in the grass for at least 48 hours, and dogs who’ve been exposed to properties treated with herbicides may have a higher risk of certain cancers.
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Alternatives to Weed and Feed
The easiest alternative to applying weed and feed is to treat feeding and weed killing as two separate processes. Apply fertilizer at the time dictated by the kind of grass growing in your yard —fall for cool-season grasses, late spring or early summer for warm-season grasses.
Treat for weeds at an appropriate time. If you genuinely think you have weed seeds all over your yard waiting to sprout, apply a pre-emergent over the entire yard in late winter before the seeds germinate. If you’ve applied pre-emergent in previous years and have your weeds under control, putting pre-emergent over the whole yard may be overkill. In that case, it makes more sense to see if any weeds do come up and spot-treat them with an appropriate herbicide based on what’s growing in your yard.
A natural product called corn gluten meal, sometimes referred to by its initials, CGM, may offer some hope for an organic alternative to weed and feed. CGM is a byproduct that results from wet milling corn. An Iowa State University professor found that it reduces seed germination, and it has been patented for use as a natural pre-emergent agent. CGM is about 10% nitrogen, the main ingredient in most fertilizers, so it’s also a natural fertilizer.
But if a natural, organic weed and feed sounds too good to be true, it might be. There are several reasons why CGM hasn’t become the go-to weed and feed product:
- CGM is very expensive.
- It only works on certain kinds of weeds.
- It typically requires multiple applications.
- It must be applied at the right time to stop seed germination.
Skip The Chemical Weed Killer
The most environmentally friendly way to avoid weed killer is to pull the weeds out of your yard by hand. Weeding is never a fun task, but you don’t have to worry about chemicals being tracked into your home or being washed off and polluting local waterways if you hand-weed.
Various weeding tools are available to make the chore a little easier. These include long-handled, foot-operated tools that grip the weeds and allow you to dig up the roots without having to bend down.
The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn. Keep your property adequately watered, apply fertilizer when necessary, and take steps such as aerating when necessary may be all your lawn needs to stand tall against a weed invasion.
What’s First: Feed, Weed or Seed?
This is a big question in early spring: “My lawn needs everything what should I do first, put down seed or kill my weeds? The reason why this question is tricky is because many of the weed controls will harm new grass seedlings.
Weed, Feed or Seed?
Here are your best two options:
Do you have less than 75% good grass with bare spots larger than a few inches in diameter?
Answer: If lots of larger spots, then seed this spring. Be sure to use a special Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer that is compatible with grass seed (the regular crabgrass preventers will keep grass seed from growing). If you do not prevent weeds when you seed, you are likely to be very disappointed as crabgrass and other weeds will germinate and choke out your good grass before it has a chance to take hold. A machine called a slit-seeder will help make sure the grass seed comes in contact with the soil. You just select the Turf Builder Grass Seed blend that is right for your conditions, such as sun, shade, heat-tolerant, etc. If you only have a few bare spots to take care of, consider Scotts EZ Seed. I think this is the best bare spot repair product we have ever sold! Spread the Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer after you put down the seed. Feed your lawn again in one month after seeding with Turf Builder Lawn Food. Once your new grass has been mowed 4 times, you can kill weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns.
Do you have more than 75% good grass however your lawn is thin and weedy without widespread bare spots?
Answer: If you have more than 75% grass, you may be surprised how your good grass will fill in with four feedings a year at 6 to 8 week intervals. With this option you skip spring seeding (you can always seed in fall if your lawn still needs it). Here is a schedule for the year: Feed your lawn now with Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer. In 6 to 8 weeks after your first feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed if you have lots of weeds or if you only have a few weeds, your second feeding can be Turf Builder Lawn Food and spot treat your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns. Put down Scotts GrubEx sometime in May or June. In 6 to 8 weeks after your second feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard to control insects. In 6 to 8 weeks after your third feeding, in late summer/early fall, feed with Turf Builder Lawn Food.
If you have questions during the year, the Scotts Help Center folks will be happy to help you.