Mote: Deal with some lawn weeds now

February 12, 2014 

Is your summer lawn full of weeds? If yes, pre-emergent herbicides are for you.

In a matter of days, the window will be open for the use of pre-emergent herbicides. Feb. 15 to March 15 is the ideal time to apply pre-emergent herbicides in Georgia.

So what is a weed? Weeds by definition are a plant out of place, causing economic loss, whose virtues have not been discovered, or a non-native plant.

We control weeds to maintain landscape beauty, prevent economic loss and decrease plant competition. Weeds can also be a host for disease and insects.

Before applying a pre-emergent herbicide, or any herbicide for that matter, the weed and the type of grass in your lawn needs to be identified. Some herbicides are more effective on some weeds than others, and some herbicides will cause damage to certain grass types.

Pre-emergent herbicides kill a variety of weeds just as the seeds germinate. By the time you see weeds in your yard, it is too late to apply a pre-emergent herbicide.

If you are seeing weeds in your yard, a postemergent herbicide will have to be used. The secret to weed control when using a pre-emergent herbicide is to apply the herbicide to the lawn before summer annual weeds germinate. Germination can vary from year to year, so applying too early is always better than doing it late.

Pre-emergent herbicides primarily control summer annual weeds such as crabgrass, goosegrass and spurge. Postemergent herbicides can control these weeds as well, but pre-emergent treatments offer some advantages. Since you apply the chemical before the weed seed germinates, most weeds never appear in our lawn.

Many pre-emergent herbicides come in granular formulations. Granules tend to be easier to apply for most homeowners. Postemergent herbicides can leave yellow or dead spots in your yard where the weed has died.

Make sure if you use a pre-emergent herbicide that the lawn has been established for at least a year. These herbicides can and often will severely injure freshly seeded or sprigged turfgrass. Don’t apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring if the lawn will be seeded, sprigged, or sodded in the early summer. Pre-emergent herbicides persist in the soil anywhere from two to four months and will hinder establishment of new turfgrass.

Now is also the time to apply postemergent herbicides to your lawn for you winter annual weeds.


For more information on any program area, contact Houston County Extension at 478-987-2028 or drop by our office in the old courthouse, downtown Perry, 801 Main St. Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit our website at for more news about your local Extension office.

Dates to remember:

Production meetings for the Houston/Macon/Peach County Area:

All meetings will be held at the Macon County Extension office at noon.

Feb. 17: Corn Production

Feb. 19: Weed Management

Feb. 25: Cotton Production

The soybean meeting is still in the planning stages.

Feb. 13: 14th Annual Conservation Production Systems Training Conference/Workshop, Vidalia Onion Research Farm, Lyons

Feb. 19-23: Junior Nation Livestock Show, Perry

Feb. 25: Precision Agriculture (TAPAC) Workshop, Tifton

Feb. 28: Small Farming Registration Deadline

March 14: Small Farm Workshop, Milledgeville

March 14-15: Peaches to Beaches

March 15: Cloverleaf DPA: Perry

March 19: Growing Vegetables in Containers

Charlotte Mote is the Houston County agricultural and natural resources agent. Contact her at 478-987-2028 or

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