Weeds: the dread of every gardener. Weeds are not only unsightly, but they can choke out even the most vibrant, thriving grass and plants, turning your beautiful yard into an overgrown, unkempt mess.

Rather than fighting weeds after they’ve already taken root, stay ahead of their tricky game with a pre-emergent.

What is a pre-emergent? Pre-emergents prevent weeds from germinating.  A type of  herbicide, pre-emergents sit in the top layer of the soil, and block weed growth enzymes. They act like a chemical barrier, protecting your grass and plants from the enemy: weeds.

(DYK weed seeds can rest in your soil for years, waiting for a chance to sprout? A pre-emergent blocks the weeds’ long lifecycle, and can prevent years’ of future weeds from growing.)

Pre-emergents can be natural or synthetic, and generally come in the form of granules. The granules are put on the ground, and later activated by water.  Depending on the concentration, chemical makeup, and application, the pre-emergent can stay in your ground for a few short weeks, or for months.

There is no one pre-emergent that will keep every single type of weed at bay, and every yard is at risk for different types of weeds. A consultation with one of our landscape experts can be the first step to determining what pre-emergents will work best for your individual yard, and what additional steps you can take to further prevent additional weeds throughout the year.

Ask about the best types of pre-emergents from your lawn, and steer clear of untrusted products that kill all growth, even your grass, flowers, and plants.


What types of weeds can a pre-emergent control? Here in North Carolina, we hear our customers reporting that there are a few types of weeds that they are especially interested in controlling during spring and summer. Crabgrass, dandelions, and ground ivy are just the tip of the iceberg, but these three weeds are locally known to quickly overtake your yard and garden, and be nearly impossible to control.

(DYK: With the use of a pre-emergent, post-emergent weed sprays are needed less and less as you’ll preempt their growth, and overtime, break the weeds’ lifecycles?)

When should a pre-emergent be applied? A common myth is that herbicides should be applied at the same time as visible weed growth. Unfortunately, by the time you can see the weeds, they have already germinated and spread. It is most likely too late to easily take out the weeds without extreme post-emergent intervention. The moral of the story: if you see weeds, it’s too late for a pre-emergent.

On the other hand, if you apply the pre-emergent too early, it is likely to get washed away in the rain, or sink down too deep into the soil to affect the weeds that thrive in the top layer. Experts recommend finding out when the weeds in your area begin to grow in the spring, and then applying the pre-emergent two to three weeks beforehand to prevent their growth.

(DYK: If you’re too early or too late with your application of pre-emergents, they probably won’t help you much with weed control. If you miss your window, don’t worry. You can still call us to help with post-emergent weed control, and we can go ahead and recommend an earlier time next year to get a pre-emergent in the ground!)

Typically in this area of North Carolina, sometime March is a good time to get pre-emergents out, but to be safe, get an exact date window from your local landscaping professionals. If you apply pre-emergents too early or late, you won’t reap the benefits that a well-timed pre-emergent can bring, so call or email us to schedule a consultation to preempt those weeds!

Pre-emergent Care for Lawns

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