If you find yourself constantly battling weeds in your yard, you may want to consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide. And now is the time to do that, before spring and before the weeds germinate and become established.

What is a pre-emergent herbicide?

A pre-emergent is a preventative herbicide that reduces and helps control weeds. It is used in the top layer of the soil. The timing is extremely important because the weed should be allowed to germinate so that the pre-emergent can then eliminate the young sprout, which will in turn, eliminate the weed permanently. This breaks the cycle of regrowth.

How to apply pre-emergent

Whether you choose a granular or liquid product, the labor is minimal. Distribute granular pre-emergent herbicide as evenly as possible using either a hand-held spreader or a push spreader. Liquid pre-emergents are also available and often come in a convenient, ready-to-use-spray bottle.

The herbicide is activated by applying enough water to sufficiently soak it into the ground. The pre-emergent should be watered within a couple of days after (granular) application. Do not cultivate or otherwise disturb the soil during this process, as it can disturb the barrier that is created when applied and allow weeds to grow freely. This process may need to be repeated each year but also may help to eventually eliminate the need for post-emergent herbicides.

Given the nature of weeds and their reproduction cycles, a small number will escape treatment but can be dealt with much easier. Your goal should always be to eliminate the weed before it goes to seed.

Pre-emergent herbicide precautions

It is best not to plant new grass seed during pre-emergent treatment. Most pre-emergents are non-selective, meaning they prevent all seeds from growing, not just weeds. Also, use caution if putting down grass sod right away in the treated areas. Be sure and check the label for a list of weeds that will be affected and plan any reseeding or starting a new lawn carefully around your application of pre-emergent.

Remember, once the weeds are showing and growing, it is too late to apply pre-emergent. Timing really is everything when it comes to preventing weeds. If you’re considering sodding your yard this spring, contact DSLD Land Management at (205) 437-1012. We are a full-service design/build landscape contractor located in Birmingham, AL.