When it comes to maintaining beautiful grass, clovers, dandelions, and other weeds are a yard’s worst enemy. But rather than wait for the noxious plants to sprout and flourish, Charlotte homeowners can apply pre-emergent weed control. What is pre-emergent weed control? This form of lawn management prevents weed seedlings from ever growing by killing the roots, shoots, or both. 

Though pre-emergent herbicides are largely effective in the battle against weeds, Charlotte homeowners must understand how and when to use them. For the best results, these chemical compositions should be applied before the invasive sedge grasses or thistles have emerged from the soil. The pre-emergent herbicides should also be mixed correctly and applied evenly over the target area. A little guidance in using pre-emergent herbicides can go a long way in helping Charlotte homeowners cultivate thick, green backyards. 

MetroGreenscape uses pre-emergent weed control to prevent weed seedlings from ever growing.

What Is Pre-Emergent Weed Control?

Herbicides are toxins that kill unwanted plants while leaving the desired vegetation undisturbed. Similarly, pre-emergent herbicides are chemical compositions that destroy unwelcome weeds. However, these solutions do so before the plants even begin to grow.

A properly applied pre-emergent herbicide will eliminate weeds as their seeds begin to sprout. Without seedlings, the goosegrass, deadnettle, or other lawn pests will die before they become visible. In return, Charlotte homeowners can expect beautiful yards year-round. 

It should be noted that pre-emergent weed killer does not kill existing weeds, only the seeds of new weeds, preventing them from sprouting. 

How Do Pre-Emergent Herbicides Work? 

Pre-emergent herbicides work by creating a protective barrier in the soil. This protective barrier contains chemicals that inhibit plant growth. As weed seeds begin to germinate, or produce juvenile plants, the roots will grow toward this layer of dirt. 

Since the dirt contains an herbicide, the seed will be unable to undergo cell division and produce enzymes needed to produce a seedling. In short, the unwanted weed will be killed before it breaches the topsoil. For Charlotte residents, this means pesky plants will die before they are even visible.

Benefits of Pre-Emergent Weed Killer

Pre-emergent weed killers are a homeowner’s best friend. First and foremost, these herbicides eliminate the pesky plants before they become a problem. They also greatly reduce time spent pulling weeds by hand or spot-treating existing weeds. 

Proactive weed elimination pays dividends. When weeds are left to grow and mature, they produce more seeds which equate to more weeds in the future. Since pre-emergent weed killers prevent seed production altogether, Charlotte homeowners save money and time for seasons to come. 

When to Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Control in Charlotte

It is essential to apply the pre-emergent herbicide before weed seeds begin to germinate, or produce young plants. Some weeds emerge early, such as dandelions. Others, such as star thistle, germinate in the fall. 

Germination typically occurs when temperatures reach 50 degrees. In Charlotte, pre-emergent herbicides should be applied in March. As a general rule, it is better to apply the herbicide too early. If applied too late, the pre-emergent weed killer will be completely ineffective. 

At MetroGreenscape, we like to apply pre-emergent weed control before weed seeds begin to germinate.

How to Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Control 

Pre-emergent herbicides are tricky because they come in various forms and some only work on specific weeds. You must also choose between selective or nonselective herbicides. If you opt for the selective herbicide, you need to know what it will and will not kill. That means you need to know the types of weeds in your yard. For this reason, many Charlotte homeowners choose to have a landscaping professional handle pre-emergent weed control treatments. 

Comparatively, nonselective herbicide products kill everything they come in contact with. Since this herbicide does not differentiate between weeds and grass, it should be used very carefully on lawns. Other application tips include:

  • Apply the herbicide evenly. If you miss spots, the seeds will sprout and weeds will grow. 
  • Add water. Water activates the pre-emergent herbicide and “washes” the chemicals into the soil. For best results, apply the weed killer before an expected rainfall.
  • Do not disturb. One mistake that people make is to apply the herbicide and then aerate the lawn. Never use a pre-emergent and then work the soil. The dirt acts as an effective barrier for the herbicide. 

Selecting The Right Pre-Emergent Weed Killer

As previously mentioned, different chemicals target different weeds. Which pre-emergent will be most effective in a Charlotte homeowner’s yard depends on the types of weeds growing there. Common chemicals in pre-emergent weed killers include: 

Prodiamine

This herbicide is best used on grasses and broadleaf weed seeds, including crabgrass, dandelions, and plantains. Since pre-emergent herbicides only work on seeds, you can use Prodiamine to eliminate different types of invasive grasses in your lawn.

Oxyzalin

Also known as Surflan, this compound is commonly used on agriculture crops to control grass weeds such as yellow foxtail. It is also effective in eliminating vines like morning glory. 

Dithiopyr 

This herbicide is used to control root production in vining plants and grasses, including lawn grasses and ornamental plants. 

Since a lawn can host a wide variety of pesky weeds, the best solution is typically to apply various chemicals at specific locations in the yard. 

Can Pre-Emergents Damage Your Lawn? 

Pre-emergents target seeds. Therefore, these chemicals can damage lawns, especially those that have been newly seeded. Because of this, it is best to understand the restrictions of each type of herbicide you use. 

Generally, homeowners should wait several months after seeding their lawn to apply pre-emergent weed killers. If you need to reseed your lawn, the weed killer’s label should indicate how long you must wait before applying seeds. Adult grasses should be safe from a pre-emergent herbicide, but it is always best to read the label. 

Additional Considerations When Using Pre-Emergents 

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for weed control in Charlotte. While pre-emergent weed control for lawns can be effective in preventing certain weeds from taking root in your backyard, these chemicals will not kill all weeds. 

Some weed seeds will sit dormant in your soil for years and may grow despite the layer of herbicides. Other weed seeds will be carried by wind, birds, and even lawn equipment. If there is soil, sunshine, and water, weeds will grow.

Because of this, the most effective means of weed control focuses on growing healthy, disease-resistant soil. A professional landscaper in Charlotte can help homeowners determine the best turf management plan for their backyard. 

Benefits of Working With a Professional Landscaper 

Keeping weeds at bay is hard work, especially when selecting the best pre-emergent herbicide to control pesky invasives. Some herbicides can be largely ineffective in treating specific types of weeds while others can potentially kill desired vegetation. For these reasons, many Charlotte homeowners prefer to use a professional landscaping company to handle weed treatment. 

Experts like MetroGreenscape can analyze the weed patterns in your yard, and determine what kind of pre-emergents to use. They also understand how to properly mix and apply these sometimes dangerous chemicals, ensuring that the herbicides only kill the weeds and not the lawn. If you are looking for a professional lawn care company to help maintain your lawn’s health or an experienced lawn company that can help return your lawn to its full glory, then give MetroGreenscape a call. We have over 20 years of experience working with Charlotte landscapes. We will build the right lawn maintenance plan for you that covers regular lawn maintenance, like mowing and fertilizing, as well as specialized pre-emergent herbicide treatments. To get started, contact us today for a consultation.