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Spring Pre-Emergent: Your Weapon for a Weed-Free Spring Paradise!

Spring is in the air, and so are those pesky weeds! 🌸🌿

As the days lengthen and the sun warms the soil, our gardens and lawns come alive with vibrant colors and lush greenery.

But wait—what's that? A dandelion here, a crabgrass there?

Fear not! The solution lies in a simple yet powerful tool: spring pre-emergent. 🛡️




Welcome back to The Happy Horticulturist Blog!

I'm Shane Wade, owner/founder of Wade in the Water Landscape & Irrigation, and a certified landscape horticulturist, certified gardener, and certified tree surgeon.

Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of weed control, let's clarify what we're dealing with.

Spring pre-emergent herbicides are like magical shields for your lawn.

They don't just zap existing weeds; they prevent them from sprouting in the first place!

Imagine a force field around your grass, keeping those pesky seeds at bay. 🌟

Pre-emergent herbicides are products that are applied to soil before weeds start to emerge. They work by creating a barrier in the soil that prevents weed seeds from germinating.




It's essential to distinguish between pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.

Pre-emergents stop weeds from emerging initially, making them valuable for annual weed control or preemptive weed management to lessen manual labor outdoors.

On the other hand, post-emergent herbicides eliminate weeds after they've already sprouted in your lawn. Pre-emergents applied before weed germination in the spring and summer aim to prevent their growth.

"Despite common belief, pre-emergents don't hinder seed germination but rather target seeds during this process. They operate by obstructing the plant's protein production necessary for cell division during mitosis, which is vital for growth."
- Shane Wade, Certified Landscape Horticulturist, Gardener, & Tree Surgeon




When should you unleash this botanical wizardry?

The answer lies in the seasons...

  • Early Spring Application: As winter loosens its grip, apply pre-emergent to your lawns and perennial flower beds. This move dramatically reduces annual summer weeds like crabgrass, foxtail, and sandbur. But hold your horses! Avoid treating garden soil or annual flower beds where beneficial seeds (think flowers, corn, cucumbers, or squash) will soon sprout.

  • Fall Application: Just when you thought your lawn was weed-free, autumn surprises you with uninvited guests. The spring-applied pre-emergent has retired by now, leaving room for invasive weed seeds (hello, henbit and chickweed) to bide their time until cooler temperatures arrive. These hardy little rascals lie low throughout winter but come spring, they'll stage a comeback. Don't worry; we've got a plan for that too! 🍂




Forget calendars; think soil thermometers!

When soil temperatures hover around 55°F (for at least 48 hours), it's go time for pre-emergent application.

Different regions have different climates, so application timing must adapt accordingly.

I, myself, use a more old fashioned method to determine the best time of the season to apply pre-emergent. I go by the direction and indication of the only tree that can't be tricked - the pecan tree:

  • Buds: When buds start to pop out of the limbs, it's a sign that the last freeze has passed.

  • Leaves: When pecan trees begin to show leaves, it's a sign that spring is here. Pecans are one of the last native trees to leaf out in the spring, and cold weather rarely occurs after they put on leaves.

  • New shoots: The apex of a new shoot is undamaged and ready to unfurl new leaves if you look carefully. As the season progresses, pecan trees will probably abort all frost damaged leaves. 

This year, in our region - Plant Hardiness Zone 8b - the time to apply this powerful weapon against weeds is NOW!

Late February and early March is typically the ideal window in our area to apply

pre-emergent herbicides for maximum weed control to win our war on the weeds that invade our lawns and landscapes.




We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the pre-emergents, or about any other landscape, lawn care, or irrigation system topic!

We invite you to leave your questions or comments in the comments section at the end of this post. LEAVE A COMMENT




We invite you to CONTACT US at Wade in the Water Landscape & Irrigation to schedule an ON-SITE ESTIMATE APPOINTMENT.

We can help you design, install, and maintain a beautiful and sustainable garden that suits your style, budget, and zone. We have the expertise, experience, and equipment to handle any project, big or small.

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Thank you for reading our blog, and stay tuned for more tips and news coming soon from The Happy Horticulturist!


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