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How Long to Wait to Seed After Crabgrass Preventer?

I hear this question quite a few times this time of year asked in two ways: “I put down my crabgrass preventer earlier this spring, how long do I need to wait before I can seed?” OR, “Can I prevent crabgrass and seed at the same time?”

If you have already put down Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer the directions state that you should not plant grass seed for 4 months after application. This would mean you will need to wait until the end of August to seed. You may be able to get around this if you only have a few small areas you want to seed. I have seen folks break the crabgrass germination barrier in those spots by cultivating the soil to a 4 inch depth (to disrupt the crabgrass barrier), then mixing in an inch of compost like Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Soil, and then seeding with Scotts EZ Seed. This is not practical if you want to seed a large area, so you will need to wait until early fall to put down your grass seed.

Crabgrass seedlings about a week after germination. These seedlings quickly choke out new grass seed that is trying to germinate at the same time.

If you have NOT put down your crabgrass preventer yet and you want to seed this spring you should use Scotts Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer instead of Halts. (Note: this is a different active ingredient that does not last as long as Turf Builder plus Halts, however it is your best choice if you want to seed in spring.)

Weed and Feed for Lawns – 5 Reasons not to use it!

Weed and Feed is a commonly sold combination herbicide and fertilizer product that is offered by many lawn fertilization brands. These are “designed” to feed your grass while also killing weeds. But if you read the back of the bag, you’ll see many cautions about it’s use.

We DO NOT recommend using Weed and Feed for the following reasons:

1. Using weed and feed products results in the unnecessary and excessive use of Herbicides

When you apply a weed and feed product, you are applying herbicides to your entire lawn, even where no weeds are present. This greatly increases the amount of herbicides that you are using. In most lawns, weeds only occupy 5-10% of the lawn area, so we always recommend spot weed control treatments to control weeds only where present.

2. Weed and Feed is bad for Trees and Shrubs!

Weed and feed fertilizers contain Atrazine, a toxic chemical herbicide that can damage your trees and shrubs, eventually resulting in their death if used year after year. If you read the back of your Weed and Feed fertilizer bag packaging, you’ll see the following kinds of warnings:

Weed and Feed fertilizer warnings:

  • “Do not use under trees, shrubs, bedding plants or garden plants.”
  • “Do not apply on or under the branch spread (rootzone) of trees, shrubs, bedding plants, flowers or garden plants.”
  • “Do not apply by hand or hand-held rotary devices.”
  • “Do not apply this product in a way that will contact any person either directly or through drift.”

Scary stuff, right? The thing is, if you have a large tree, the roots of that tree may be underneath the entire area of your lawn, tree roots are known to spread far beyond just immediately underneath the tree. Applying weed and feed will damage your trees, it’s only a matter of the timing and frequency of applications. Over-applying weed & feed product is common among home owners, which results in higher levels available in the soil to be taken up by your tree; increasing the level of potential damage. Applying weed and feed products during the spring, when the tree is actively growing and putting on new leaves is the worst time to apply, and any damage in early spring can affect tree health for the entire growing season. Healthy trees can usually tolerate one weed & feed application per year with minimal impact, however if you are applying more than one time a year or applying too much, and you do it year after year, your tree’s health will deteriorate and eventually die.

3. Granular “weed and feed” chemicals are bad for the environment.

Weed and Feed products most commonly use quick-release fertilizers, which drench your lawn with a heavy dose of nutrients that is likely to wash away with rain or watering. These chemicals get washed down into storm drains and into our water table, ultimately contaminating rivers, streams, ponds and the ocean. Runoff and drift from your weed and feed’ed lawn is hazardous to aquatic organisms. This product is toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Additionally, birds often eat weed and feed granules, thinking it’s grit, leading to the wide-spread death of our already threatened bird populations.

4. Weed and Feed is bad for your health! (Not to mention your pets)

Weed and feed products have bioaccumulative toxic substances linked to cancer and have been shown to lead to reproductive, immunological and neurological problems. That means you are making your lawn toxic – and who wants that?

5. Overall lawn health is compromised with Weed and Feed Products

The long-term health of your lawn is compromised if you use weed and feed products year after year, as your lawn becomes dependent on the chemicals. These products also harm the beneficial fungi and organisms in the soil, making it difficult to build naturally healthy turf.

Why hire a Professional to do your Lawn Fertilization?

If you are in the Denver or Colorado Springs area, we are happy to talk to you about your lawn. Our lawn experts know exactly when to apply fertilizers properly, and we use the best fertilizer products in the market that are specifically designed for our Colorado climate. We are also experts in applying just the right amount of fertilizer at the right time, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen burned lawns from over-application by homeowners. For weeds, we only use spot weed control treatments when needed, we never spray for weeds where there are none! As we care for our trees and environment, our organic lawn fertilization programs are designed to work in harmony with nature so that you can have a healthy green lawn!

If you’re just not that into hand-weeding, call Mountain High Tree in Denver at 303.232.0666 or our Colorado Springs Office at 719.444.8800 and we’ll discuss the perfect weed control and/or lawn fertilization program for you.

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Check here for information and tips on caring for lawns throughout the Lunenburg, MA area.

How Soon Can Kids & Pets Use a Lawn After Treatment?

Getting a lush, green lawn takes a lot of routine maintenance and work, including regular fertilization and weed control treatments. Lawn care professionals often are asked if these treatments are safe for kids and pets, and the answer depends on a few things.

Learn here if fertilizer and weed control treatments are safe for your pets and children in areas such as Leominster, Lunenburg, Concord, and neighboring areas of Massachusetts.

Children Should Be Kept off a Yard for 24-72 Hours After a Fertilization Treatment

It's no secret that kids love playing outside and getting into messes, but should they be on your lawn if it receives routine fertilization treatments? After the fertilizer has been completely absorbed into the soil, yes. It's generally recommended to wait about 24-72 hours after a fertilizer application before letting your kids go back onto the grass and to also ensure your lawn is watered well before the kids go back to playing in the grass. This not only keeps them safe from chemicals, but it also allows your lawn to absorb the nutrients without being disturbed. The time window depends on the product being applied, so it is best to check with your lawn care professional for information.

Organic fertilization treatments are generally safer for kids, as they do not contain herbicides or insecticides, but it's still recommended that you give your grass time to absorb those treatments as well.

When a Fertilized Lawn Is Safe for Dogs & Pets

Like children, dogs and other pets also enjoy playing and running through the grass. But after fertilizing, it's also best practice to limit their use of the lawn for 24-72 hours. They're much closer to the ground and prone to digging in the soil, which means they are more likely to be exposed to herbicides and insecticides. With the increase in pet allergies in recent years, please check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about any of the products being applied to your lawn.

If you happen to have any unused bags of fertilizer on your property, keep it locked away from pets so they do not try to claw into the bags. This is especially important with organic fertilizer, as some of these products are made from animal bone or byproducts. If your pet ingests too much organic fertilizer, you could be staring down a costly vet bill as it can cause bowel obstruction and other indigestion issues.

Consult with a lawn care company such as Gatsby Grounds Company about when it's safe for kids and pets to use your lawn again after a fertilization treatment.

Fertilizer Is Often Applied Along with Weed Control & Insecticide Treatments

Throughout the year, fertilizer treatments are often applied along with weed control treatments and insecticides, which can also cause reactions in pets and children. Please consult with your lawn care company to inform yourself of the weed controls and insecticides that are used on your property and the rates at which they are being applied. They will also provide you with re-entry intervals to make sure best practices are followed.

While there is some time restriction on how long to wait after these treatments, keep in mind that these treatments also work to keep your lawn safe for kids and pets. Some weeds are poisonous when consumed and lawn insects, such as ticks, can create a hazard area as well.

Call our lawn care professionals to learn more about our fertilizer and weed control treatments.

At Gatsby Grounds Company, attention to detail is everything. We will work with you to advise you on when it's safe to use your yard after a fertilizer and weed control treatment in areas such as Leominster, Concord, Lunenburg, and surrounding Massachusetts areas. Contact our lawn care professionals today at (978) 582-1594 to learn how we can help your yard look amazing so that your kids and pets have a great area to play!