Question of the Week #1: January 26, 2017


“Neil. Is this the proper time to apply a weed-and-feed fertilizer? I heard an ad on the radio earlier this week.”

I heard that ad as well, and it’s absolutely preposterous. Let me first state that I do believe in using weedkillers where they’re appropriate, and I am absolutely fine with inorganic plant foods. (Plants don’t differentiate between different types of nutrient sources. Nutrients enter their roots in water solution.)

It is a rare day when you would need to apply a weedkiller to your entire lawn, and it’s a rare day when you would need to apply a herbicide and fertilizer at the same time.

From my own personal standpoint, you could certainly apply a broadleafed weedkiller spray on a warm day now to eliminate clover, dandelions, henbit, chickweed and the other winter, non-grassy weeds.

However, we are seven or eight weeks away from the time for the first feeding of St. Augustine or bermudagrass lawns in most of Texas. Those nutrients wouldn’t be utilized to full advantage, and it increases the chances of having them washed away in heavy spring rains.


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My solutions: Apply the appropriate herbicide at the appropriate time. Apply the appropriate fertilizer at the appropriate time. The timing will rarely coincide. What they’re proposing in those ads is totally inappropriate. That’s my opinion.

While I’m at it: Beware of weedkiller products that contain the active ingredient Atrazine. For all of my 47 years serving Texas gardeners, that weedkiller has been included in some of these well known weed-and-feed products. I have seen hundreds of shade trees harmed or killed by its application. There are equally dependable products that present far less risk. Again, that’s my opinion.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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