Question of the Week 2: February 16, 2017
“Neil, has all this warm weather changed your recommended date for applying pre-emergent weedkiller to our lawn?”
Timing for application of pre-emergent weedkiller granules for prevention of crabgrass and grassburs varies with where you are in the state. It normally is tethered somewhat to the average date of the last killing freeze for an area. I like to see the granules being applied one to two weeks before that average last killing freeze date.
That would mean mid-February (now) in South Texas, the first few days of March in South Central and Central Texas, mid-March in North Central Texas and late March into very early April in the Panhandle. However, because pre-emergents stop the germination of the weeds at the outset, it’s better to be one week too early in applying pre-emergent weedkillers than one day too late.
So, all that considered, yes, I am willing to move my recommended date forward by one week this year based on the weather we have coming up in the next week or so.
I try not to make this kind of suggestion too early in the season. People start asking if my recommended date might shift if we have a warm spell even as early as the first week or two of January. You simply can’t tell that far out. But now we’re much closer. I’m willing to shift forward by one week – only the second or third time I can remember doing so.
The products that are available for this task are Team and Dimension (both from independent retail nurseries) and Halts (from big national chains). Whichever of these you choose, you’ll need a second application 90 days later to get the full season of prevention.
Also note that commercial lawn care companies have access to different products than we consumers do. They also have scores of customers, so they can’t be on everyone’s lawn on “the day Neil recommended.” If you’ve been happy with their results otherwise, trust them, and give them a little leeway.