Pre-emergent Herbicides for Crabgrass Prevention in Lawns

Pre-emergent herbicides are most effective at controlling annual grassy weeds like crabgrass, foxtail, goose grass, and barnyard grass. Fair control of annual broadleaf weeds such as purslane, spurge, and oxalis can be expected from most pre-emergents.

crabgrassPre-emergent herbicides kill very young weed seedlings but not seeds, so they must be "in place" prior to weed seed germination to be effective. One half to one inch of water from precipitation or irrigation is needed following application to move the herbicide off foliage and onto the soil surface, where weed seeds are germinating. Pre-emergent products should be applied during March or early April. Sites that warm earlier in the spring like southern exposures and turf near sidewalks should be treated in early to mid-March. Acceptable weed control and prevention of turf injury require uniform application at correct rates.

Fertilizing lawns in spring & summer

Some pre-emergent herbicides can harm the roots of lawn grasses if excessive rates are applied. A healthy, vigorous turf will enhance the effectiveness of any pre-emergent herbicide application. Since all pre-emergent herbicides, except siduron sold as Tupersan, will also kill germinating grass seed, lawn overseeding must be delayed until late summer/early fall when a spring pre-emergent application is made.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).

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Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016