Your grass is loaded with clumps of dandelion, clover, and other malicious weeds while your neighbors seem to have flawless front lawns. Sure, you could spend the entire weekend digging up weeds, only to leave a portion of the root behind to mock you later, but you would rather be golfing or fishing instead of partaking in backbreaking labor.
Getting rid of weeds is a daunting task, but luckily, you can have a beautiful lawn AND still enjoy your weekend. Using a quality weed and feed will solve your problem by working smarter, not harder, and leave you with a lush, green, flawless lawn.
|Our Favorite||Greenview Fairwary Formula|
|Best Organic||Espoma Organic Weed Preventer|
|Budget Pick||Scott’s Turf Builder|
- What is weed and feed?
- Weed and Feed Product Reviews
- Does your lawn need weed and feed?
- Looking for Lawn Deficiencies
- The Different Types of Weed and Feed
- Types of Grass
- What to Look for In Weed and Feed Products
- When to Apply Weed and Feed
- What to Do After Applying Weed and Feed
- Weed and Feed FAQ
- Final Thoughts
What is weed and feed?
A weed and feed is a formula that typically combines herbicides that kill weeds with fertilizers that nourish your lawn. Think of it as a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner for your lawn. It gets rid of what you don’t and leaves your lawn lush and green. Weed and feeds let you work smarter, not harder to maintain a beautiful lawn without the backbreaking work.
Some brands can kill up to 250 different varieties of weeds and best of all, they only have to be applied once or twice a year.
With so many options out there, picking the best weed and feed for your lawn type can be confusing. That’s why we did the work for you with our comprehensive guide and in-depth reviews of the best weed and feed fertilizers out there.
Weed and Feed Product Reviews
Greenview Fairway Formula
This slow-release formula from Greenview helps reduce your annual feeding and weeding thanks to its long-lasting effects. This professional-grade product contains 65% nitrogen and kills over 200 different species of weeds, including chickweed, seedling crabgrass, and dandelion. It is ideal for Bermuda grass and feeds your grass for up to 3 months.
This product is a bit more expensive up front but it saves you both time and money in the long run. If you live in a warmer climate, you may only need to apply in early spring and fall, with no mid-season feeding necessary.
Apply the Greenview Fairway Formula granules in early spring when the lawn is wet, using a drop or broadcast feeder, then wait a week before mowing your lawn. The product comes in both 18 and 36-pound bags. To get an idea of the size you will need, an 18-pound bag will cover approximately 5,000 square feet.
This 20-0-6 formula is designed for established lawns and works great on most turfgrass varieties. Using it on new lawns, however, may result in stunted growth. If you have St. Augustine grass or dichondra grass, stay away. This formula is too strong and can cause considerable damage.
- Excellent fertilizer
- Noticeable results after 1 month
- Kills over 200 weed varieties
- Requires infrequent application
- For established lawns only
- Too strong for carpet grass and St. Augustine grass
- Not as effective on established crabgrass
Scotts Turf Builder
The name Scott’s is widely recognized for their weed and feed formulas and for good reason. Scotts Turf Builder delivers exceptional performance when it comes to controlling dandelions and other hard-to-kill weeds. Not only does it perform well, but it also comes with a price tag that will fit most budgets.
The Scott’s formula is suited for Bermuda, Fescues, Centipede, Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Zoysia. It targets 50 hard-to-kill weeds like clover, dollar weed, and is known as the best dandelion killer out there. Some tougher weeds, like nutgrass and dandelions, however, may require the use of a dandelion remover tool thanks to their deep root systems. This product should not be used on bentgrass, carpetgrass, or St. Augustine grass.
Apply it to a pre-moistened lawn so the Scott’s Weedgrip technology will allow the granules to stick to the foliage of the weeds. Your pesky weeds will start to die off while the 28-0-3 formula nourishes your lawn, making it thick, green, and lush.
Apply to grass anytime between early spring and late fall using a drop, broadcast, or rotary spreader. You will get the best results applying it in early spring and then every 6 weeks throughout the growing season.
For best results, apply to an evenly moist lawn and then avoid disturbing or watering the lawn for 24 hours. One bag covers approximately 5,000 square feet.
- Budget friendly
- Simply to apply
- Kills a broad range of weeds (including dandelions)
- Can be applied anytime
- Not effective on Bentgrass, Carpetgrass, or St. Augustine grass
- Not designed to kill crabgrass
- Harmful to pets in the first 24 hours
Scott’s Turf Builder Starter
This formula of Scott’s Turf Builder is best for new grass. If you want new, lush, thick, green grass in a hurry, this 2-in-1 formula will give you the quick results you crave.
Suitable for newly seeded lawns, sod, and grass plugs, Scott’s Turf Builder Starter is ideal for helping new lawns thrive.
The combination of lawn fertilizer and pre-emergent lasts up to 6 weeks between applications, and one 9-pound bag covers approximately 5,000 square feet.
- Faster growth
- Results in 2 weeks or less
- Pre-emergent prevents weeds from growing
- Covers a large area
- Only prevents weed growth
- Cannot kill crabgrass
- Not available in Florida
Espoma Organic Weed Preventer
One of the few organic lawn treatments readily available, Espoma Organic Weed and Feed is our go-to family and pet safe formula so if your children or pets are a concern, this one’s for you.
Made from 100% corn gluten meal, this natural herbicide is proven to kill weeds such as black medic, black nightshade, buckhorn plantain, catchweed bedstraw, lambs quarters, curly dock, dandelion, purslane, crabgrass, foxtail, and a variety of other weeds. It also nourishes your lawn with a 9% nitrogen content.
Espoma recommends you apply twice a year, in spring and fall, for best results. Espoma Organic Weed and Feed should be applied to a dry grass that has been recently mowed, using a drop or broadcast spreader. Apply 24 hours before expected rain or water lightly.
- Children and pet safe
- Long lasting
- Easy to apply
- Targets a wide variety of weeds
- May not be readily available in all areas
- Cannot be used on a newly seeded lawn
Scott’s Turf Builder Southern Triple Action Weed and Feed
If you live in the southern United States and are looking for both a lawn fertilizer and pest protecetant, we’ve got you covered. Yes, another Scott’s product has made our list.
This long-lasting formula will keep your lawn looking great for up to 6 months AND keep those nasty southern pests away.
Specifically formulated for the southern US, this product is easy to use and suitable for use on all southern grass types including St. Augustine, Floratam, Carpetgrass, Centipede, and Zosia.
Scott’s 3-in-1 formula provides your lawn with herbicide, fertilizer, and a preventative that is effective at killing both weeds and insects. This includes pesky weeds like dollarweed and clover, along with pests like ticks and fire ants.
It works great as a pre-emergent but will have some trouble with established crabgrass. Also, children and pets should be kept away from treated grass for 24 hours.
The fertilizer in this triple action formula specifically strengthens southern grass types to help protect them against drought and the product is easy to use too. Simply apply in the spring to a dry lawn using your spreader of choice. You can choose between bags that cover 4,000 or 8,000 square feet.
Scott’s backs this product with its famous satisfaction guarantee so what have you got to lose?
- Works on ALL southern grass types
- Kills ticks and fire ants
- Lasts 6 months
- Works with all commercial spreader machines
- Can only be applied in the spring
- Not safe for newly seeded lawns
- Doesn’t work on crabgrass
Does your lawn need weed and feed?
Does your lawn seem a little unhealthy? Does it have flat brown or yellow patches? Do you have lots of weeds scattered about?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a weed and feed is a good idea.
Of course, if your lawn is exceptionally healthy, good for you! Do absolutely nothing. You should always refrain from adding any lawn care products to a lawn that is perfectly healthy.
Keep in mind, weed and feed is designed to be used on an entire lawn. If your lawn only has one or two places that need help, we recommend using a product specific to your problem.
Also, if you only have a handful of weeds, we recommend using a manual weed removing tool instead of applying an herbicide to the entire lawn. But if a large part of your lawn needs both fertilizer and weed killer, a weed and feed product can be very helpful.
Common Lawn Problems And How to Fix Them
Crabgrass, dandelions, and other invasive weeds are only one problem your lawn may have. Even a well cared for lawn is prone to yellowing. This can be caused by poor or compact soil, inadequate watering, excessive heat or winter frost.
You may also encounter pests such as grubs, cranberry girdlers, and billbugs. These common pests feed on the grass, weakening its root system and resulting in yellow spots all over the lawn.
Fungi is another problem to look out for. Necrotic ring fungus can create yellow rings in your lawn that can remain for up to three years. This one is a tough beast to battle. Often you will need to turn up the soil, remove the infected grass (making sure to get all the roots), and reseed the lawn.
Another culprit for yellowing grass is spilled gasoline or pet urine. We know you love Fido, but the ammonia in urine and gasoline is no match for the roots of your grass. To repair these area, you will need to dig up the contaminated soil, replace it with fresh, high quality soil and reseed those areas.
Looking for Lawn Deficiencies
New homeowners and anyone new to gardening in general need to learn about the importance of adding nutrients to your lawn. These nutrients are what allows your lawn to absorb water and process sunlight, building and maintaining a healthy root structure. This healthy root system will help your lawn avoid disease and premature death of the grass.
Yellowing and other discolored patches are the first sign that the lawn is developing nutrient deficiencies and treating it with a high quality fertilizer can restore it to its healthy, green state.
Fertilizer, however, is complex in nature and comes in a range of blends. Each blend uses three to four different minerals including phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
Nitrogen is the mineral that promotes growth and gives the grass the coveted deep green color. Phosphorus stimulates root growth, and potassium helps your lawn fight drought and disease.
Most fertilizers have a combination of these three ingredients.
Testing Your Soil
Before you seed, or use a weed and feed on your lawn, you should test the soil to see what kind of nutrients it needs and what type of grass is the best fit for your soil composition.
Soil tests not only determine if your soil is missing any of the primary nutrients discussed above, they also determine if there are any deficiencies in other minerals such as oxygen, carbon, calcium, magnesium, boron, iron, cobalt, manganese, as well as other less common secondary nutrients.
You can either purchase a soil test to run yourself or you can take a sample of your soil to your local agricultural extension office. Both options will give you the information you need, but we highly recommend going to your local extension office. Not only will they test your soil, they also have master gardeners with a wealth of information. They can often tell you exactly what you need to amend your soil deficiencies as well as what types of grass and plants grow best in your specific area.
If you decide to test the soil yourself, start with making sure there is a balance of the three main nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus). Grass often needs more nitrogen than potassium and only trace amounts of phosphorus.
Using a pH meter will help you check the acidity level of the soil. The acidity can be adjusted by adding coarse sand or perlite if needed.
You will also need to test the soil’s texture and drainage. Most turfgrass needs a well-drained, and loamy soil to thrive. To check your soil’s texture, fill the palm of your hand with soil and close it tightly. The soil should remain loose when you open your hand. If it clumps, you will need to amend with more perlite and sand.
To self-check the drainage, dig a hole a few inches deep, fill it with water and wait. If it takes the soil a long time to absorb the water, it is not draining well enough. Once again, amend with coarse sand to allow for better drainage.
Reading Fertilizer Labels
Once you receive your soil test results, you will need to pick the correct fertilizer blend for your particular lawn. Each bag of fertilizer will list the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on the label. You will see numbers such as 8-0-24. These numbers indicate the NPK value and show that the fertilizer contains 8 parts nitrogen, 0 parts phosphorus, and 24 parts potassium.
If you had the extension office test your soil, ask which ratio is best for you. If you used a self test, remember that you want more nitrogen than potassium and only a trace of phosphorus.
The Different Types of Weed and Feed
Weed and feed products come in two basic forms: liquid and granular. Each has its drawbacks. The liquid form is easier to apply and provides faster results, but the granular form is often the most economical.
Spray weed and feed fertilizers are designed for small yards. These are often easier and more convenient to apply than granular formulas. Liquid weed and feed often comes in a concentrate that you simply screw on to your garden hose and spray onto your lawn. The entire process takes no more than a half hour. Unfortunately, you can burn your lawn if the concentrate is too high so be careful to follow the package instructions exactly.
If you have a large lawn, Granular weed and feeds are your best option. Granular weed and feed covers a larger area (often 5,000 square feet or more), and come in bags that are 18 pounds and larger, giving you a better bang for your buck.
You simply load a spreader with the fertilizer and go back and forth across your lawn until you have covered the entire thing.
Granular fertilizers have less risk of spillage or stains and don’t require diluting or mixing with water. You do, however, need to water your lawn after application in order for it to penetrate the grass.
Slow Release vs. Quick Release
Some weed and feed varieties offer a slow-release formula so you don’t have to fertilize as often.
Slow-release fertilizers contain a water-insoluble nitrogen that ensures slow and steady grass growth. These formulas can provide continuous fertilization for 8-12 weeks.
Quick-release fertilizers provide an immediate nitrogen supply to your lawn and last around 3-4 weeks depending on the amount of rain your area gets.
We suggest using a slow release fertilizer on established lawns. New lawns, however, could be damaged by the strength of the slow release fertilizer so it is best to use a quick release variety and treat the lawn more frequently.
Types of Grass
It is important to know what type of grass you have before selecting a weed and feed. Different species of grasses respond better to certain fertilizer formulations. If you don’t know what type of grass you have growing, take a sample along to your extension office when you take the soil in to be tested. An experienced master gardener will be able to tell you what kind of grass it is with a quick glance.
Some fertilizers may burn grass types that are more sensitive so be sure you select the best weed and feed for your particular grass type. Otherwise, you could possibly kill your entire lawn.
What to Look for In Weed and Feed Products
When choosing the best weed and feed for your lawn, you need to consider three main things: grass compatibility, nitrogen content, and which weeds it targets.
Both granular and liquid varieties contain herbicides and fertilizer that simultaneously kill weeds and add essential nutrients to your lawn. That however, is where the similarities end. Each weed and feed is slightly different in composition.
As we mentioned earlier, grass compatibility is an important aspect to consider when selecting a weed and feed. Using the wrong formula could damage or even kill your lawn.
Grass needs nitrogen to achieve its coveted lush and green appearance. But fertilizers with a nitrogen content over 90% could kill your grass, leaving your lawn a dry, brown eyesore.
Finally, you want to select a weed and feed that targets the weeds you have. Since all formulas are a little different, be sure to select a weed and feed that targets your specific weed varieties.
When to Apply Weed and Feed
To get the best results from your weed and feed, you need to pay close attention to your feeding schedule. Timing is crucial and knowing when to spread your 2-in-1 product is of the utmost importance.
In general, the best time to apply weed and feed is April through August. If you apply it too early, you will miss out on the benefit of the extended-release fertilizer and may even damage your grass if it is in the wrong growing phase.
For established lawns, early spring is the best time for the first feeding of the season. If you have a new lawn, you should only apply weed and feed after the grass has reached 2 inches in height and has been mowed 2-3 times.
A second application of weed and feed can be applied at the end of summer but make sure there are at least two months between applications. Fertilizing too soon can cause a build up of chemicals in your yard and damage your grass in the long run.
What to Do After Applying Weed and Feed
Once you have applied weed and feed to your lawn, you wait. After a few days you will start to wee the weeds dying back. Wait at least a week before mowing your lawn to allow the weeds extra time to fully absorb the herbicides.
After a week has passed, pull any weeds that survived the application, make sure to get the entire root. Also, be sure to remove the dead weeds to avoid their seeds from spreading when you mow.
Watering Your Lawn
It is recommended to water your lawn prior to applying the weed and feed product. Dampening the soil can help activate the product. Some products, however, instruct you to avoid water your lawn for at least 24 hour after application while others will need watering-in. We suggest you check the manufacturer’s instructions on watering to get the best results.
* Pro tip: check the weather forecast before applying weed and feed. Find a stretch of 5 dry days before applying the product.
Weed and Feed FAQ
Can you use weed and feed and fertilizer at the same time?
You can, but it is common for weed and feed to already contain fertilizer so you probably will not need to apply a separate fertilizer.
How many seasonal applications do I need?
It depends on what type of grass you have. For most grasses, you will apply your first dose in early spring, again in mid to late May, and then continue feeding every 6-8 weeks until the end of October.
Is liquid weed and feed better than granular?
Liquid weed and feed is sprayed on and typically sticks to the weeds better. However if you have a large lawn, granular formulas are more practical in both application and price point.
Can weed and feed be used on trees and shrubs?
No, weed and feed is designed specifically for grass. Using it on trees and shrubs can cause damage to the root system and kill the plant.
Should you mow before using weed and feed?
You should mow a few days before applying your weed and feed product and wait at least a week after application before mowing again.
Keeping weeds out of your lawn can be a constant struggle, but with a great weed and feed and a comprehensive strategy, you can keep your lawn lush and weed-free all year long!