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Should You Fertilize Or Spray For Weeds First?

If you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for ways to keep your turf lookin’ top-notch.

And that might leave ya wondering whether you should fertilize or spray for weeds first.

Most of the time, it’s weeds first but there are some exceptions.

It’s a pretty important decision cause it makes a big difference in how your lawn looks and how healthy it is.

So, buckle up, ’cause we’re about to dive into this fertilize or spray debate and help you figure out the best approach for your green paradise.

In This Article

Gettin’ to Know Fertilizers

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a grasp on what fertilizers actually do for your lawn.

grass fertilize 2

Fertilizers play a major role in promoting healthy lawn growth by providing the essential nutrients your grass craves. But not all fertilizers are created equal, my friends.

There are different types and formulations, each with their own perks and quirks. So let’s break ’em down.

Types of Fertilizers

When it comes to fertilizers, you’ve got a couple of options:

  • Organic: These bad boys are made from natural materials like plant and animal byproducts, compost, and minerals. They release nutrients slowly, feeding your lawn over time. Plus, they’re eco-friendly!
  • Synthetic: Man-made fertilizers, also known as chemical fertilizers, provide a quick nutrient boost to your grass. They’re usually more concentrated and can work wonders when used correctly. Just be careful you don’t overdo it, or you might end up with some burnt patches.

Nutrients Galore

Alright, so we’ve talked about the types of fertilizers, but what about the nutrients they provide?

Well, there’s this thing called the “Big Three” nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) – which are crucial for your lawn’s growth, health, and overall beauty.

  • Nitrogen: This guy’s responsible for that lush, green color and rapid growth. Your lawn can’t get enough of it!
  • Phosphorus: Root growth and development are Phosphorus’s forte. It’s super important for establishing new lawns or helping your existing lawn bounce back from stress.
  • Potassium: Last but not least, Potassium strengthens your grass’s immune system, making it more resistant to diseases, pests, and other stressors.

Now that you’re well-versed in the world of fertilizers, let’s move on to weed control and see how it fits into the picture.

Weed Control: Showin’ Those Weeds Who’s Boss

Weeds can be a real pain in the grass, but fear not, ’cause we’re about to dive into some effective weed control methods.

A healthy lawn is a happy lawn, and controlling weeds is essential in keeping your grass in tip-top shape.

Let’s take a look at the various ways you can show those pesky weeds who’s boss.

Manual weed control
Manual weed control

Non-Chemical Weed Control

First up, let’s talk about non-chemical weed control methods.

These are the ones that don’t involve any chemicals or herbicides.

They’re more eco-friendly and can work wonders when used correctly.

Check ’em out:

  • Hand pulling: Good ol’ fashioned hand pulling can be effective for small patches of weeds. Just make sure to get the entire root, or those sneaky weeds will make a comeback.
  • Mowing: Regular mowing helps keep weeds in check by preventing them from producing seeds. Just don’t mow too short, or you’ll stress your grass and make it more susceptible to weeds.
  • Cultural practices: Proper lawn care practices like watering, fertilizing, and aerating can promote a thick, healthy lawn that outcompetes weeds for resources. In other words, give your grass the TLC it deserves, and you’ll have fewer weeds to worry about.

Chemical Weed Control

If non-chemical methods aren’t cuttin’ it, you might need to bring in the big guns: chemical weed control.

This involves using herbicides to zap those pesky weeds.

But before you go all guns blazing, let’s take a moment to understand the different types of herbicides:

  • Pre-emergent: These herbicides target weeds before they even pop their heads above the soil. They’re great for preventing annual weeds like crabgrass from taking over your lawn.
  • Post-emergent: Got weeds already growing in your lawn? Post-emergent herbicides can help. They’re designed to kill actively growing weeds, but be careful – some of these can harm your grass if you’re not careful!
  • Selective vs. non-selective: Selective herbicides target specific weeds without harming your lawn, while non-selective herbicides kill everything in their path. Use selective herbicides for spot treatments and non-selective ones with extreme caution.

With these weed control methods in your arsenal, you’re ready to tackle whatever weed problem comes your way.

But the big question remains: should you fertilize or spray for weeds first?

Weeds vs. Fertilizer: The Battle for Your Lawn’s Resources

Before we settle the fertilizer or weed control debate, it’s crucial to understand how weeds can impact the effectiveness of fertilization.

You see, weeds are sneaky little buggers that compete with your grass for all the good stuff – nutrients, water, and sunlight.

Let’s dive deeper into how weeds throw a wrench into your fertilization plans.

Nutrient Competition

When you fertilize your lawn, you’re providing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to help your grass grow strong and healthy.

But if you’ve got a weed problem, those nutrients might be going to the wrong place.

Weeds are notorious for hogging nutrients, leaving your grass high and dry.

That’s why it’s essential to keep weeds in check, so your fertilization efforts don’t go to waste.

Water and Sunlight Thieves

Weeds don’t just steal nutrients from your grass; they’re also water and sunlight thieves.

These two resources are vital for your lawn’s health, and when weeds are present, they’ll guzzle up water and hog sunlight before your grass has a chance to soak it up.

The result? A weak, struggling lawn that’s more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Impacts on Fertilization Results

So, what does all this mean for your fertilization efforts?

Well, if weeds are stealing nutrients, water, and sunlight from your grass, the results of fertilization won’t be as effective.

You might notice slower growth, patchy areas, or even dead spots in your lawn.

That’s why it’s essential to tackle those weeds before they wreak havoc on your fertilization plans.

Now that you know the impact of weeds on fertilizer effectiveness, we’re one step closer to answering the million-dollar question: should you fertilize or spray for weeds first?

Keep reading to find out!

Fertilizer Frenzy: Can It Actually Promote Weed Growth?

Now, let’s flip the script and talk about how fertilizers can sometimes promote weed growth if not applied correctly or if the lawn isn’t properly maintained.

It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s a legit concern you should be aware of when deciding whether to fertilize or spray for weeds first.

Over-Fertilization: A Double-Edged Sword

Applying too much fertilizer can be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, it can give your grass an initial boost of growth, but on the other hand, it can create the perfect environment for weeds to thrive.

You see, over-fertilizing can cause rapid, weak growth that’s more susceptible to disease and pests.

And when your grass is struggling, it opens up space for weeds to move in and take over.

Improper Application: A Recipe for Disaster

Using the wrong type of fertilizer or applying it at the wrong time can also cause problems.

For example, using a high-nitrogen fertilizer when your lawn needs phosphorus or potassium can lead to an imbalance that can make your grass more vulnerable to weed invasion.

Similarly, fertilizing during a drought or right before heavy rain can cause the fertilizer to run off, making it less effective and potentially promoting weed growth in the process.

Lack of Lawn Maintenance: Inviting Weeds to the Party

Finally, a poorly maintained lawn is like an open invitation for weeds to crash the party.

If you’re not mowing at the correct height, watering properly, or addressing other lawn care issues, your grass may struggle to compete with weeds for resources.

So even if you’re fertilizing, weeds might still have the upper hand if you’re not keeping up with regular lawn maintenance.

Alright, now that we’ve covered the impacts of both weeds on fertilization effectiveness and how fertilizers can sometimes promote weed growth, it’s time to tackle the big question: should you fertilize or spray for weeds first? Let’s get to it!

Fertilizing or Spraying for Weeds First: The Best Practices

So, here we are – should you fertilize or spray for weeds first?

lawn fertilizing

The answer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but we’re here to help you navigate this turf war.

Let’s break down the best practices, considering factors like the type of weeds, the type of grass, and the time of year.

Know Your Weeds and Grass

First things first, you need to know what kind of weeds you’re dealing with and what type of grass you have.

Different weeds have different life cycles, and some are more susceptible to weed control products at certain stages.

Similarly, different grasses have varying nutrient requirements and may respond differently to fertilizers.

So, do some research and get to know your lawn’s inhabitants!

Timing Is Everything

When it comes to lawn care, timing is crucial.

In most cases, it’s best to apply pre-emergent weed control in early spring before weeds have a chance to germinate.

This way, you’re nipping the problem in the bud (pun intended) before it gets out of hand.

Post-emergent weed control should be applied when weeds are actively growing, usually in late spring or early summer.

As for fertilizing, the ideal time to apply it depends on the type of grass you have.

Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and fescue typically benefit from fertilization in the fall, while warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia prefer fertilization in late spring or early summer.

Be sure to follow the recommended schedule for your specific grass type to maximize the benefits of fertilization.

Fertilize or Spray for Weeds First?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about the order of operations.

In general, it’s best to tackle weeds first before fertilizing.

npk fertilizer

Here’s why: If you fertilize first, you’re providing nutrients not only to your grass but also to the weeds.

And since weeds are usually more aggressive than grass, they’ll likely outcompete your turf for those precious nutrients.

By spraying for weeds first, you’re taking care of the competition and giving your grass a fighting chance.

Once the weeds are under control, you can then focus on providing your lawn with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

That being said, always read the label on your weed control and fertilizer products, as some may have specific recommendations on when to apply them in relation to each other.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and the best approach for your specific lawn may vary based on factors like the types of weeds and grass you have, as well as your local climate conditions.

If in doubt, consult a local lawn care professional for advice tailored to your unique situation.

Timing and Frequency: When and How Often to Fertilize and Spray for Weeds

Alright, now that we’ve covered the order of fertilizing and spraying for weeds, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of timing and frequency.

These factors can make a huge difference in how well your lawn fares, so let’s break it down based on grass type and local climate conditions.

Fertilizing Schedule: Cool-Season vs. Warm-Season Grasses

As mentioned earlier, the best time to fertilize your lawn depends on whether you have cool-season or warm-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass prefer fertilizing in the fall.

This helps them store nutrients and energy for the upcoming winter and promotes strong root development.

You may also want to give them a light feeding in early spring to help them bounce back after the cold season.

Warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine thrive when fertilized in late spring or early summer.

This is when they’re actively growing and can make the most of the nutrients you’re providing.

Avoid fertilizing warm-season grasses in the fall, as this can encourage new growth that may be susceptible to winter damage.

As for frequency, most lawns will benefit from 2-4 fertilizer applications per year, spaced about 6-8 weeks apart.

Of course, this can vary depending on the type of grass and the specific fertilizer you’re using, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and adjust as needed based on your lawn’s appearance and performance.

Weed Control Schedule: Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Applications

Weed control timing is all about catching the pesky invaders at the right stage of their life cycle.

Here’s a general guideline for when to apply pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control products:

  • Pre-emergent weed control: Apply in early spring before weeds have a chance to germinate. You may also want to apply a second pre-emergent treatment in the fall to control winter annual weeds. Be sure to check the label on your specific weed control product for the recommended application timing.
  • Post-emergent weed control: Apply when weeds are actively growing, which is usually in late spring or early summer. Some tough perennial weeds may require multiple applications throughout the growing season to get them under control, so keep an eye on your lawn and treat as needed.

Remember that your specific timing and frequency may vary based on factors like the types of weeds you’re dealing with, your grass type, and your local climate conditions.

Always read the label on your weed control products and consult a lawn care professional if you need tailored advice for your situation.

So, there you have it! With the right timing and frequency, you can keep your lawn looking lush and weed-free all year long.

DIY vs. Professional Services: Which Way to Go for Fertilization and Weed Control?

So, you’ve got the know-how for fertilizing and spraying for weeds, but you might still be wondering whether to tackle these tasks yourself or hire a professional lawn care service.

No worries, we’ve got you covered! Let’s weigh the pros and cons of each approach, so you can make the best decision for your lawn and your lifestyle.

DIY: Do-It-Yourself Lawn Care


  • Cost savings: Doing the work yourself can save you some serious dough, especially if you’ve got a tight budget.
  • Control: When you DIY, you get to choose the exact products and methods used on your lawn, giving you total control over the process.
  • Satisfaction: There’s something to be said for the satisfaction of caring for your own lawn and watching it thrive under your green thumb.


  • Time commitment: Let’s face it, lawn care can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not a seasoned pro. You’ll need to carve out time for research, shopping, and the actual tasks of fertilizing and spraying for weeds.
  • Learning curve: There can be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to proper lawn care techniques, and mistakes can be costly or time-consuming to fix.
  • Equipment and storage: You’ll need to invest in and maintain the right tools for the job, as well as find a place to store them when not in use.

Professional Services: Hiring a Lawn Care Pro


  • Expertise: Professional lawn care services have the experience and knowledge to provide top-notch care for your lawn, reducing the risk of mistakes or damage.
  • Convenience: With a pro handling your lawn care, you can kick back and enjoy your free time while they do the heavy lifting.
  • Consistency: Regular, scheduled treatments ensure that your lawn gets the care it needs, even if life gets busy.


  • Cost: Hiring a professional service can be more expensive than doing it yourself, so you’ll need to weigh the benefits against your budget.
  • Less control: While most pros are happy to accommodate your preferences, you may have less control over the products and methods used on your lawn.
  • Contract commitments: Some lawn care services require long-term contracts, which can be a downside if you’re not sure you want to commit to a particular company or service.

So, which approach is right for you? It really comes down to your priorities, your budget, and how much time you’re willing to invest in your lawn care.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so consider your unique situation and choose the path that suits you best.

Either way, with the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, weed-free lawn.

Stayin’ Safe: Safety Precautions for Fertilizers and Weed Control Products

When you’re workin’ on your lawn, it’s important to keep safety in mind.

Fertilizers and weed control products can be powerful stuff, so let’s go over some tips to make sure you’re using them safely and responsibly.

weed killer 2

Read and Follow Product Labels

First things first: always read the product label before using any fertilizer or weed control product.

The label is like a treasure map that’ll guide you through proper application rates, methods, and any precautions you need to take.

So give it a good read and follow the instructions to a T.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

When you’re messin’ with chemicals, it’s essential to wear the right gear.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) can help keep you safe from any potential hazards.

Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Long sleeves and pants to protect your skin
  • Gloves to keep your hands clean and safe
  • Protective eyewear to shield your peepers
  • A mask or respirator, especially if you’re working with products that could be harmful if inhaled

Keep Kids and Pets at Bay

Kids and pets are curious little creatures, so it’s important to keep them away from fertilizers and weed control products.

Make sure they’re not around when you’re applying these products, and follow the label instructions for how long they should stay off the treated area.

Proper Storage and Disposal

Store your lawn care products in a safe, dry, and cool place that’s out of reach of children and pets.

And remember, don’t just chuck empty containers in the trash!

Check the label for disposal instructions, and follow local guidelines for getting rid of any unused product.

Be Mindful of the Environment

Last but not least, keep Mother Nature in mind when using fertilizers and weed control products.

Apply the products responsibly to avoid runoff, which can harm nearby plants, wildlife, and water sources.

Stick to the recommended application rates and methods to minimize any negative impact on the environment.

There you have it, folks!

With these safety precautions in mind, you can confidently tackle fertilization and weed control tasks while keeping yourself, your family, and the environment safe.

So gear up, follow the rules, and give your lawn the love it deserves.

Keepin’ It Green: Lawn Care Tips for Preventing Weeds and a Healthy Lawn

Alright, now that we’ve covered fertilizin’ and weed control, let’s dive into some lawn care tips that’ll help prevent those pesky weeds from takin’ over and keep your turf lookin’ its best.

seeding after scotts 4

Mowin’ Like a Pro

First up, mowin’.

Yep, somethin’ as simple as mowin’ your lawn can have a big impact on its overall health and weed control.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Set your mower height right: Don’t scalp your lawn! Keep your grass at the right height for its type. Taller grass shades the soil, making it harder for weeds to take hold.
  • Keep those blades sharp: Dull mower blades can tear grass, leaving it vulnerable to disease and pests. So, sharpen your mower blades at least once a season to keep ’em slicin’ like a champ.
  • Mow when it’s dry: Mowin’ wet grass can spread disease and clump up, blockin’ sunlight from reachin’ the soil. So, hold off on mowin’ until the lawn’s dry.
  • Change up your mowin’ pattern: Switchin’ up your mowin’ direction helps prevent soil compaction and encourages healthy, upright growth.

Water Wisely

Waterin’ your lawn might seem like a no-brainer, but doin’ it right can make all the difference.

Here’s how to water for maximum lawn health:

  • Water deeply and infrequently: Instead of light, daily waterin’, give your lawn a good soak once or twice a week, depending on the weather. This encourages deeper root growth, which helps your lawn outcompete weeds and tolerate drought better.
  • Water in the mornin’: Waterin’ early in the day minimizes evaporation and reduces the chances of disease from water sittin’ on the grass too long.

Feed Your Lawn

A well-fed lawn is a happy lawn.

Make sure to fertilize your grass with the right nutrients and at the right time for its type.

And don’t forget to follow our earlier advice on fertilizin’ to keep weeds at bay!

Overseed Thin Areas

If you’ve got thin or patchy spots in your lawn, overseed those areas to help your grass outcompete weeds.

The thicker and healthier your grass, the harder it is for weeds to gain a foothold.

Stay Vigilant

Finally, keep an eye on your lawn and address any weed issues before they get out of control.

The sooner you tackle ’em, the easier it’ll be to maintain a lush, green lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

So there you have it!

With these lawn care tips in your arsenal, you’ll be well on your way to preventin’ weeds and maintainin’ a healthy, gorgeous lawn that’ll make you proud.

Wrappin’ It Up: Fertilizin’ and Weed Control for the Ultimate Lawn

Alright, folks, we’ve covered a whole lotta ground (pun intended) in this article.

We’ve talked about fertilizers, weed control, and proper lawn care practices, all to help you achieve that lush, green, weed-free yard you’ve always wanted.

Remember, it’s crucial to strike the right balance when it comes to fertilizin’ and weed control.

You don’t want your hard work on fertilizin’ to go to waste by lettin’ weeds hog all the nutrients, and you don’t want to accidentally encourage weed growth with improper fertilization.

As we’ve discussed, the recommended order for performin’ these tasks can vary based on factors like the type of weeds, the type of grass, and the time of year.

But generally speakin’, it’s a good idea to spray for weeds first, followed by fertilizin’.

This way, you’re givin’ your grass the best chance to thrive and outcompete those pesky invaders.

And don’t forget about proper lawn care!

Keepin’ up with mowin’, waterin’, and other maintenance tasks can go a long way in preventin’ weed issues and keepin’ your lawn lookin’ its best.

So, whether you choose to tackle fertilization and weed control on your own or enlist the help of a professional, follow these tips and guidelines to enjoy a healthy, vibrant lawn that’ll have your neighbors green with envy.