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The Fallacy of Weed and Feed Products

Every spring and fall we are bombarded with advertisements from the major fertilizer companies on how to grow a perfect and weed free lawn. The product they are promoting is called a 'Weed and Feed' a product which is touted to make the life of the weekend gardener easier by doing two jobs in one. But does it? To understand why weed and feed products are only partly effective for your lawn, you need to understand the two types of herbicides for controlling the weeds, the seasonal weeds that grow in your yard and the growing cycle of your lawn. Types of Herbicides: Pre-emergence and Post-emergence

Pre-emergence herbicides are designed to inhibit the germination of plants. They do not work on established perennial weeds or annual weeds the have already germinated and begun to grow. They are, however, very effective at preventing weed seeds from germinating. These seeds were deposited during the previous growing season, so weeds you see in the spring grew from seeds produced the previous year.

Post-emergence herbicides are designed to kill the already germinated or actively growing weeds. They will do nothing to prevent seeds from germinating. This is the type of herbicide contained in the commercial weed and feed products.

Annual Weeds

Although there are many species of weeds, they all fall into two broad categories, winter weeds and summer weeds. The terms are often misunderstood which is why the weed and feed business flourishes. The weeds you see in the spring (winter weeds) actually begin growing (germinating) in the fall; when the temperatures begin to warm up in the spring, the weeds produce their seeds and then die when daytime temperatures reach the 80's. The weeds you see in the summer actually begin growing (germinating) in the spring and they mature, produce their seeds in late summer or early fall prior to dying. When you put out your favorite weed and feed product in early spring, you are only killing the winter weeds which will die naturally in a few weeks. By the time you spread your weed and feed, the winter weeds have already deposited their seeds which will wait for the cool temperatures of fall to germinate.

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