Fall is the best time of year for cool season varieties whereas spring is the best time of year for warm season varieties. When is the best time to use weed and feed on your lawn? You need to make sure not to apply it more than twice a year, and at least 2 months apart… My Lowes 4 step fertiizer weed and feed program. Use Scotts or Sta-Green. I show you how to create a weed free program for a lush green lawn every year!
When is the Best Time to Plant Grass Seed?
Overall, fall is the best time to seed or overseed with a cool season variety no matter where you are located in the country. If you are above the transition zone, the best time slots are around the weeks between August 15th–October 1st. As you get farther south towards the transition zone, your window of opportunity expands a little more and you can seed during the weeks of Labor Day through the end of October instead.
If you follow these dates, your grass seed will germinate properly. You also won’t have as much weed pressure as you would during the spring or summer because of the killing freeze that will arrive a few months later.
This timeframe applies to seeding your entire lawn with grass seed or overseeding a warm season grass with a cool season grass. During the fall, homeowners will sometimes overseed their warm season bermuda grass with a cool season grass like ryegrass, for example, to keep it green during the winter once their bermuda grass goes dormant. Learn more about this in How to Keep Your Lawn Green During the Winter.
Warm Season Grass Seed
Fall is definitely not the best time to plant warm season grass seed because it may not have a lot of time to germinate before the onset of winter temperatures. Even if it does have time to germinate, it still may be a little too weak going into the winter and might be susceptible for winterkill and winter damage.
How to Plant Grass Seed in the Winter
It is not recommended that you plant grass seed during the winter months for either warm or cool season grass seed. The chances of it sticking around and not washing away during the winter are pretty low. The spring and fall seasons, in comparison, will guarantee the most success with seeding projects.
How to Plant Grass Seed in the Spring
Cool Season Grass Seed
Spring is the second best time to plant grass seed for cool season varieties. The best time to plant cool season grass seed during this season is somewhere between the weeks of April 1st–May 15th. This will give you a few weeks to get your seed to pop up from the surface of the soil. March is still pretty cold in the cooler areas up North.
You can expect more weed pressure in the spring, though, because weeds like crabgrass will be germinating around this same time. You also won’t want to overseed a warm season turfgrass with a cool season turfgrass in the spring.
Warm Season Grass Seed
Spring is the best time to plant warm season grass seed. The timeframe that guarantees the most success with a warm season turfgrass variety is around the month of May if you are located in northern areas of Georgia or North Carolina. As you get farther south, the window of opportunity expands.
Be sure to really irrigate your grass seed at this time as the proper amounts of irrigation will help it germinate before the onset of summer heat. The grass will fill in rapidly through the heat of the summer in July, August and early September.
A popular warm season variety homeowners love is centipede grass, which should stay within the May timeframe if you plan on seeding it. Centipede seed planted in May will really pop before it gets too hot, so this gives you time to have the proper irrigation and help it grow in beforehand.
How to Plant Grass Seed in the Summer
Cool Season Grass Seed
It is not recommended that you plant cool season grass seed at this time because the grass will be dormant. It will not be worth your time and effort unless you are located really far up North. Sod University suggests blocking out the dates of June–early August before doing this.
Warm Season Grass Seed
The summer is not ideal for warm season grass seed either because of the extreme heat. You would have to spend a lot of time and money irrigating it. It is possible to do this in the summer, but you will need to spend a lot more time and money on proper amounts of irrigation.
Recommended Products for Grass Seed Projects
Take a look at some of our products for your seeding project coming up. The Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box, which contains three bottles of Lawnifi product, is the best fertilizer for new seed. It contains everything newly seeded lawns need to establish thick, healthy grass including two bottles of Grow for improved soil health and one bottle of Maintain to feed the lawn. This fertilizer box will give your grass the nutrients it needs during establishment.
When to Apply Weed and Feed to Your Lawn
If you desire a healthy, lush lawn all year round, timing matters! It’s just as important to understand when your lawn needs it, as it is to understand what it needs.
One of the fundamental tasks required to improve your lawn’s health, is providing it with the right level of protection against the onslaught of lawn weeds.
So, to find when is the best time to use weed and feed on your lawn, please read on.
What is Weed and Feed and When Is The Best Time To Apply It?
With myriad different recommendations on best practices and solutions, homeowners are mystified when trying to determine the best weed killer for their greensward. Weed and feed products, unlike weed killer or hand pulling them, offer twofold benefits — they kill weeds and fertilize the lawn in a single application.
An estimated 25 million pounds of weed ‘n feed is applied by Americans and landscaping professionals to; home lawns, parks, cemeteries and anywhere else grass is found, each year.
It is in fact one of the most used lawn care products today, given the sheer convenience it provides when trying to get rid of a weed strewn lawn.
Weed and feed is a combination of herbicides and fertilizer. The three phenoxy (selective) herbicides are Dicamba, 2, 4-D and/or MCPP, which are chemicals designed for broadleaf weed control of dandelions, dollarweed and much more. The feed aka fertilizer is typically a combination of phosphorous, nitrogen, and/or potassium.
Weed and feed can be in either liquid or granular form, but regardless of which type you choose, both kill just the weeds, and not regular, healthy grass blades, unless you apply too much.
Here are some quality picks worth your time;
Post vs Pre-Emergent Weed and Feed
When to use weed and feed will mostly depend on the type you’re using, whether post or pre-emergent weed and feed. The latter, just as the name suggests, targets weeds before they establish themselves, but does not affect existing broadleaf weeds.
The post type weed and feed is the most common way of getting rid of existing weeds, and preventing them from growing back.
This type of weed control solution is an ideal choice if you want to get rid of weeds that have already grown above ground, and nourish the soil quickly at the same time.
When to Put Down Weed and Feed?
Knowing when to weed and feed is essential, but before applying the best weed and feed, it is important to identify your type of grass, because some solutions can be applied to all lawn types, and others are designed for certain types of grasses and weeds.
If you apply the wrong product to the wrong grass and weeds, then damage to your healthy green lawn is inevitable.
When Is It Too Late To Use Weed and Feed?
It is generally considered too late at the end of fall. After this, if you are in a cold area, winter will start to take hold and the weed killer element will have nothing to work upon.
It works when the weeds are actively growing, or before they sprout, depending upon whether you have a post or pre – emergent type.
Do Not Use It During Winter
Regardless of the type of weed or grass, applying weed and feed during the winter will have absolutely no effect on the appearance of your lawn in the following spring and summer. Hence, weed and feed is most effective when applied in the spring and fall.
Early Spring And Fall Are The Best Times For A Healthy Lawn
Weed and feed products should be applied no more than twice a year, so one application in the spring, and another in the fall if the first one didn’t resolve the issue.
Further, each application should be at least two months apart, because not waiting long enough between applications could cause the herbicides to build up to high levels that can kill a healthy lawn and other vegetation.
Considering weed and feed products contain chemicals, there are a few safety precautions you need to take, starting with making sure kids and pets stay off the lawn until it dries completely.
It is best to wait until the next heavy rain or when the granules have completely dissolved before allowing foot traffic on your lawn.
If you’re applying pre-emergent weed and feed, then the best application time is prior to weed seed germination. But if you’re trying to control summer weeds, early spring is the best time to apply weed and feed.
However, if you’re trying to kill crabgrass, or your product includes a crabgrass preventer, you should apply weed and feed in mid-April. As mentioned earlier, post emergent weed killers will only kill weeds that are actively growing at the time of application.
Given that fertilizer applications aren’t recommended in the summer, such as at daytime temperatures above 90-degrees, the types of herbicides used to kill tough broadleaf weeds such as dandelions and clover should be applied from late spring onwards.
You should also note that even if you apply the best product, chances are that you won’t be able to get rid of all the weeds completely. Reason being weed seeds can spread fast, whether it’s kids running across the lawn, wind blowing them around or birds depositing them.
Should I Mow Before Applying Weed and Feed?
The question is, do you have to cut your grass before applying the weed & feed? If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know that the answer is always “it depends.”
It depends on the type of weeds you’re trying to get rid of, the species of grass you have, the phase of the season when you’re applying herbicide, how the herbicide works, and, of course, how you mow.
If you have large broad leafed weeds, and are using a post-emergent product, then it’s best not to mow too short before putting down weed and feed, better to have a larger leaf area for the product to work on.
If you are going to be using a granular product, you can cut the grass not less than 2 days before application, then water it in, as it needs to get under the surface to start working.
So, the general rule is; only mow at least 2 days before you apply weed & feed products, and don’t mow before 2 days after the weed and feed application.
How Long To Stay off Lawn After Weed and Feed?
You should be good to use your lawn again after 24-72 hours. This give the fertilizer time to work its way into the soil. See the paragraphs below for when to water after application.
As always, we would recommend that you read the manufacturers directions included on the packaging. (If all else fails, read the instructions!).
You should also not carry out aerating, or spread new grass seed after weed & feed usage, as it can possibly damage any new emerging grass seedlings.
How Long Does Weed and Feed Take To Work?
How long weeds take to die after applying weed and feed will depend upon the type of product you use. Most post-emergent herbicides will start to take effect from between 5 and 7 days. The full effect could take as long as 3 weeks to completely kill off the weeds.
Pre-emergent herbicides work by preventing the weed from growing in the first place, so you shouldn’t see weeds popping up after using this type of product.
When To Water After Applying Weed and Feed Fertilizer Application?
With a granular product, it is important not to water for at least 24 hours after application. The reason for this is that you need the product to stay in contact with the leaves of the weeds to be most efficient.
It goes without saying that if you water too soon after you apply weed and feed, you will wash it off before it starts working.
Since no two products are built exactly the same, you should refer to manufacturer’s usage guidelines.
Many products can be watered in, so that the active ingredient is absorbed by the roots.
If you’re applying a liquid weed and feed product such as Scotts complete 4 step program, you don’t need to water the lawn after application, since both the fertilizer and herbicide are already in liquid form.
The nitrogen acts as the fertilizer, and gives your lawn a boost, while the herbicide kills weeds such as ground ivy, chickweed, and buckhorn.
Make sure to check the weather forecast for your area before carrying out your weed feed exercise.
If you can afford the irrigation system cost, don’t forget to turn off that zone or zones for 24 hours after, and remember to turn it back on again afterwards!
When To Apply Weed and Feed-Complete Year Round Guide
As a Lowes garden manager, one of the most asked questions I get is about healthy, green, weed free lawns. Here are my tips and directions for your Lowes lawn care program applying Sta Green or Scotts.
Weed and feed fertilizer will help improve your lawn.
The number one question: When is the best time to apply weed and feed to my lawn?
Well…it depends really. Where you live, whether you have sun or shade, and lots of other things make a big difference in what your lawn needs. Most regions in the United States can apply weed and feed from March till November.
A well-fed lawn is healthier, which means it has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other stresses.
One easy to follow rule is to use the summer holidays as your guide.
If you’re going to fertilize, remember the summer holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day as good times to apply.
Weed and Feed Basics and the 4 Step Process
Ok, this is my disclaimer: This is my version of the 4 step program that I have used for years. It works! Make sure you always follow instructions on the bag and use the correct settings on your spreader.
You will find many different versions of weed and feed programs out there. They all will be some variation of the following:
Step 1. Crabgrass Preventer
Step 2. Weed and Feed
Step 3. Summer Fertilizer with Insect Control
Step 4. Fall or Winter Fertilizer
The #1 Mistake: Skipping Step 1 and not using a crabgrass preventer.
The best looking lawns don’t have crabgrass for a reason; they use a crabgrass preventer every year! You can skip it if you want, but I don’t recommend it. Most people don’t realize this, but Scotts Halts and Sta Green Crabgrass both have fertilizer as well in the bag. So take care of the crabgrass and get in that first application of fertilizer.
Your soil supplies some of the nutrients that grass needs but most soils are not able to provide all of them during the entire growing season. Fertilizer helps your lawn stay healthy by promoting new blade and root growth and will aid in recovery from summer foot traffic and pest damage.
Weed & feed is the generic name for a broad range of lawn chemical products designed to strengthen existing grass and kill off certain weeds. It generally improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and food, and adds necessary nutrients which promote healthy growth. A healthy lawn discourages weed growth and enables a strong root system for your lawn.
The “weed” portion of weed and feed is one of a variety of broad leaf-targeted herbicides, usually Dicamba or 2,4-D, that attacks dandelions, dollarweed, and most other green leafy weeds. The chemical is applied to and absorbed by the leaves of the weed.
The granules will not sit on grass blades, which is why weed and feed generally won’t kill grass unless it is incorrectly applied. There are also liquid forms of weed and feed that are generally applied with a sprayer.
The “feed” portion of weed & feed is a fertilizer that contains some combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to green up your lawn. The exact blend of fertilizer ingredients varies by brand, but all products will contain some percentage of nitrogen. Some products also include additional benefits, such as timed-released nitrogen for extended feeding.
When to Weed and Feed With Lowes Sta Green or Scotts
While feeding your lawn once a year will improve its condition, feeding it four times a year will make it even healthier. If you put your lawn on the regular schedule it will stay lush and green all season long.
Fertilize your lawn in the spring, early fall and/or late fall (such as late March, early April, early September and early November). However, if you live in an area with long, cold winters, then late April, August and the end of October may be best.
In most climates, late fall tends to offer better results because that’s when weeds grow stronger roots and take the herbicide to the roots along with it, killing them. You should also never fertilize any cool-season lawn during hot summer months.
If you live in the southern or western parts of the United States, such as Florida, Texas, Alabama or California fertilize your lawn in early summer and again in late summer or early fall. The application process is slightly different if you are using a product for southern lawns, such as Scotts Bonus S.
With all fertilizer schedules, you can add one treatment in midsummer, but avoid fertilizing when the temperature is too hot, particularly when it’s 85 degrees or above.
> Read our guide on southern weed and feed
Some Products Need Dry Lawn, Others Need Wet Lawn
For most areas of the United States, weed and feed products should be applied to a wet lawn either from rain or dew, on a calm day and left on the surface for 24 to 48 hours.
You can also wet the grass with a garden hose or turn on your sprinkler system for a few minutes before applying weed and feed.
The general exception is crabgrass control and southern weed and feed products.
Note: Scotts Bonus S, Sta Green Southern weed and feed and most crabgrass control products should be applied to a dry lawn.
A wet lawn helps fertilizer particles stick to the blades of grass and the weed leaves. To ensure that the particles have the best chance of doing their job, don’t water the lawn again for 48 hours.
If you’ve recently used grass seed, sod or sprigging, wait until your new grass has been mowed at least three times before applying any weed and feed product. For best results use a broadcast spreader set to the level indicated on the product package.
Early Spring: March – April. Step 1
Feeding your lawn in the spring strengthens roots and gets it off to a good start. Crabgrass control is the number one reason to use a pre-emergent fertilzer. If you had crabgrass last year, apply a combination fertilizer with a pre-emergent to control it.
Pre-emergents, such as those commonly used to prevent crabgrass, is weed control which must be applied before the weeds germinate. They are ineffective if the weeds are already actively growing.
You will only have about a 3 week window to apply Step 1. Use Scotts Halts plus Crabgrass Preventer or Sta-Green Crab-Ex Crabgrass Preventer. This early application is the most important part of getting a weed free and healthy green lawn. Yes, use it even if you didn’t have crabgrass last year.
Soil Temperature Map: Find your local ground temperature here
Step 1 should include pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer used in early spring. This can be from mid March to late April.
Crabgrass normally germinates when the ground temperature reaches 55° F . This is also the ground temperature at which dogwood trees start to bud and forsythias begin blooming.
Late Spring: April – June. Step 2
Spring is prime time for lawns. Your grass is busy growing and using up stored energy. Step 2 weed and feed fertilizer is designed to strengthen existing grass and kill off weeds at the same time. Its also the best time to apply a weed and feed product.
Weeds want sun, water and food, which, is what your lawn needs too. That’s why you want to supply the lawn with a weed and feeding product designed for this time of year. Your grass is growing and unfortunately, broadleaf weeds are actively growing, too. It improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.
Weed & feed has a fertilizer to help “green up” your lawn. It also has a weed killer that targets broadleaf weeds like dandelions and many others. Many weed and feed products also have timed-release nitrogen for extended feeding.
The weed killer in post-emergent types of fertilizers are contact killers, and are effective only if the weeds are already actively growing. They will not kill weeds which have not yet germinated.
Applying in the spring and summer also gives your lawn a nitrogen booster that helps build the roots of your grass. Feed your lawn with a combination of fertilizer with broadleaf weed control like Scotts Turfbuilder with Plus 2 Weed Control or Sta-Green Weed and Feed.
Summer: June – August. Step 3
If you’re going to fertilize, remember the summer holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day as the best times to apply. But what about summer months? What to do around the Fourth of July? Step 3 weed and feed products are designed for maximum effectiveness with a late-spring to mid summer application. They contain herbicides designed to kill actively growing broadleaf weeds like dandelions.
These herbicides are much more effective if you apply them in the spring or even the fall. At that time, the weeds are either growing or storing up reserves for winter and moving nutrients from the leaves to the roots. They move the herbicide to the roots at the same time, resulting in a better kill.
You can still apply weed and feed in the summer
It is not recommended to apply if the temperature will be above 90 degrees and no re-application of any fertilizer for another 30 days.
Summer is tough on grass. You can still apply a weed and feed product, but do so cautiously. Heat, drought, foot traffic, and insects stress it out. Feeding your lawn in the summer still helps to protect and strengthen it against these problems.
Lawns in warm-season grass areas should be fed over the summer months as they grow steadily from spring to fall. Also consider spot treatment of weeds by using a product such as Ortho Weed B Gon.
A more common problem you will see in the summer months are insects. If you see insects in your grass, use a feeding product that also contains insect control, such as Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard. For additional insect control try Ortho Bug B Gon Max granules or try Bug B Gone liquid spray around the perimeter of your home.
Fall: September – November. Step 4
Fall brings back ideal conditions for your lawn. Cool nights, ample rainfall and morning dew all contribute to new growth for your lawn and prime time for Step 4. If you missed an early spring application of weed and feed, now is the time to apply.
Since the lawn is ready to grow again, it is looking for the nutrients it needs to recover from summer damage. Some experts say this is the single most important lawn feeding of the year, more important than an early spring application. Apply your final feeding right before the winter months. You can apply a fall fertilizer until the average daytime temperature is above 50 degrees.
This means most regions of the United States can apply into late October. This will strengthen roots and increase nitrogen storage for an early spring green up next year. Try Scotts Turfbuilder with WinterGuard or Sta Green Weed and Feed Winterizer.
Planting Grass Seed or Aerating after Weed and Feed
Weed & Feed prevents seed germination, so you should avoid planting new grass or aerating your lawn for at least four weeks. If you apply weed and feed in the spring and summer, spread new grass seed and aerate in the fall each year.
Reasons Weed & Feed Didn’t Work
Remember to always follow the directions on the package. Always use a spreader to apply. Here are some common reasons why a weed & feed application could be ineffective:
- Weed & feed targets broadleaf weeds like dandelions, and dollarweeds. It does nothing for crabgrass and other grassy weeds. For these, you should use a pre-emergent like Scotts Halts or Sta-Green Crab Ex crabgrass preventer in the early spring. Must be applied before weeds and crabgrass are growing.
- Mature weeds are not actively growing, so the product will not be as effective. Weed and feed should be applied early in the growing season and a couple days after mowing.
- Rain and sprinklers can wash away the granules. Make sure there is no rain in the forecast and avoid watering for two days after applying.
What if You Apply Too Much Weed & Feed?
The best way to avoid damaging your lawn after too much fertilizer application is to flush out the weed & feed. Water your lawn with 1 to 2 inches of water for about 4 days. It would be best not to apply any other weed & feed fertilizer until the following year. Unfortunately, over watering can create run-off in certain drainage situations, so be aware of your location and where the water is going.
A Healthy Lawn With Lowes Using Scotts or Sta-Green.
Enjoy a lush, healthy lawn with Scotts Turf Builder fertilizer or Lowes exclusive Sta Green Products. Both combine essential nutrients for even feeding and weed control from early spring through late fall. Both provide uniform coverage and improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and other nutrients to keep it healthy and looking great.
Remember to use the major summer holidays as your guide to the 4 step program: Step 1 Crabgrass in early spring. Step 2 Weed and Feed around Memorial Day. Step 3 Insect Control around July 4th. Step 4 Fall Fertilizer around Labor Day.
The 4 Step Weed and Feed Program-Make Your Own
The 4 step program from Scotts has been around for years. Did you know that it’s officially only available at local hardware stores and not Lowes or Home Depot? But, you can make your own version easily.
The bags sold at independent stores, like Ace Hardware, are a slightly different analysis and the bags will have each step number printed on each bag.
For example, here’s the difference in the first two applications of the 4 step process.
4 step bag: Step 1 for crabgrass ratio: 26-0-03. Step 2 Weed and Feed: 28-0-06
Lowes bag: Comparable Step 1 Halts crabgrass ratio: 30-0-04. Comparable Step 2 Weed and Feed : 28-0-03
Not a big difference. Sure, you can make a 4 step program simply by purchasing the four bags at Lowes or Home Depot, and many of us do, but the actual 4 step Scotts fertilizer program is only available at your local hardware.
Here are a few more helpful guides for weed and feed, grass seed and crabgrass control: