‘Weed & Feeds’ and Pre-Emergents

What are herbicides?

First, let’s ask “what are pesticides?” Pesticides are chemicals - natural or synthetic - that suppress or kill unwanted weeds, insects, diseases, vertebrates, nematodes...in short, pests. Herbicides, in particular, suppress plants. Not all herbicides act at the same time or in the same way, though.

What Types of Herbicides Exist?

  1. Pre-emergence herbicides: applied before weeds germinate, and will kill weeds as they emerge
  2. Post-emergence herbicides: used to control existing weeds
  3. Contact herbicides: only harm the parts of the plant they directly contact; multiple treatments may be required
  4. Systemic herbicides: move throughout the plant
  5. Selective herbicides: control target weed species without damaging desired species
  6. Non-selective herbicides: kill all plants they come in contact with (including your lawn!)

Finally, ‘Weed & Feeds’. ‘Weed and feeds’ is a commonly used term for products that contain both herbicide and fertilizer. They can be designed with pre- or post-emergent control for broadleaf weeds in lawns.

Why Doesn't Sunday Recommend Weed & Feed?

Before you spread, ask yourself – why apply harmful chemicals across your whole lawn when you don’t actually know if you’re going to have weeds – or where they might come up? 

Avoiding blanket use of weed & feed and pre-emergence products reduces the amount of pesticides used on the lawn because these products will only help for so long. When you apply pre-emergence, it stays active in the soil for about 6-10 weeks. Once the chemical is broken down, weeds can still germinate after treatment – and if they make it through the grass, you’ll need to apply even more pesticides. 

Just like you wouldn’t want to eat while getting your teeth cleaned – ideally, you wouldn’t want to treat and feed weeds at the same time. If you want a thick, green lawn without weeds, it’s best to apply nutrients prior to weed emergence to beef up your lawn. Hand-pull weeds and use spot treatment on existing weeds before nutrient application when necessary. Avoiding coupling fertilizer and weed control (‘weed & feed’) will ultimately be better for long-term lawn care and have significantly less impact on your lawn ecosystem.

Sunday Sustainability Tip: Switching from pre-emergence pesticides to Sunday weed control products? We have solutions for how to properly dispose of your unused chemicals safely and with the planet in mind!

How Does Sunday Approach Weed Control?

Your Sunday Smart Lawn Plan supports an Integrated Pest Management of weeds – encouraging a thick, green healthy lawn that can resist weeds, and only intervening with the least toxic options, when necessary. This means we typically don’t recommend ‘blanketed’ approaches to pest control, including pre-emergence herbicide use. 

Sunday Weed Control Products: Sunday offers two spot-treatment, post-emergence weed control options: Dandelion Doom and Weed Warrior.  

 

  1. Dandelion Doom (selective herbicide) kills most broadleaf weeds, but does not kill grassy weeds.
  2. Weed Warrior (non-selective herbicide) will kill all weeds, but is not recommended for use in your lawn.

 

Use Sunday’s spot-treatment products to target pesky weeds while minimizing pesticide use. And make sure to always read and follow labeled instructions!

How Can You Reduce Pesticide Use?

The best thing you can do to reduce pesticide use is maintain a good growing environment for your lawn. What does that mean? Essentially, ensuring your soil is well drained, introducing the best varieties of grass species, fertilizing with the right amount of nutrients at the right time, and making sure your grass gets enough sunlight. How these practices help: 

  1. Know your soil. Good soil drainage helps limit weed growth and promote healthy grass. It also maintains your lawn’s resilience to disease, by preventing a saturated environment that fungal diseases will thrive in.
  2. Planting new grass seed using the best varieties is key. Sunday Grass Seed blends are stress and pest tolerant and are designed specifically for your nutrient program system.
  3. Grasses only need fertilizer when they are actively growing. With Sunday, you’ll always know the proper timing for fertilizer applications and be provided with the right amount of nutrients. Our proven strategy is key to producing a dense, green lawn that can outcompete weeds. 
  4. Light penetration on your lawn directly impacts the grass’s ability to convert light to energy. A happy, healthy, well-lit lawn is more resilient to weed invasion. 

Sunday Sustainability Tip: Save the bees! If you do need to use a pesticide, of any sort, make sure to remove flowers from weeds before applying. This will ensure our pollinating friends won’t accidentally be sprayed by something they shouldn’t!   

Final Note on Weeds & Weed Management

Chronic weed populations in your lawn suggest an underlying problem limiting your lawn’s ability to outcompete weeds and prevent weeds from becoming established. Therefore, first identify and solve the underlying problem (e.g. compacted soil, shaded conditions, disease, pets, etc.). Establish the right plant in the right place using Sunday seed blends. Then, select & customize your Sunday Lawn Plan to build a healthy lawn.