How Long Does Weed and Feed Take to Work?

Kenneth Wilson

We all want to achieve a picturesque weed-free lawn. Who doesn't? One crucial way to get such a lush, green lawn is to use high-quality fertilizer to manage all pesky weeds. Weed and feed refer to certain 2-in-1 lawn care products. Think of it as hitting two birds with a single stone– as they both have chemical herbicide and fertilizer. This allows you to kill weeds and feed your grass simultaneously.

If you're like other people interested in using this product, you may also be wondering how long a weed and feed product takes to work?

Most weed and feed products take up to two full weeks before seeing actual weed-killing results. However, the fertilizer effects of the product will work as quickly as 1 to 5 days. Additional results can be expected after several weeks.

What are Weed and Feed Lawn Products?

The term "weed and feed" describes lawn care products with herbicide properties (weed killers) and fertilizer to feed the turfgrass. The weed killer can be either pre-emergent or post-emergent.

Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed Lawn Fertilizer

Spectracide Weed & Feed Ready-to-spray

Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed Herbicide

  • Pre-emergent herbicides ─ These effectively prevent weed seeds from germinating. They will need to be applied early in the year before the pesky weeds begin to appear on your lawn.
  • Post-emergent herbicides ─ These herbicides are more efficient in killing off weeds already thriving on your lawn. Ideally, apply the product later in the year or sometime in the summer season.

Many people are sold on weed and feed, saving them time. They will only need to make one product application instead of separately applying (and purchasing) a herbicide and a fertilizer. If you're looking to save some dollars and have a busy schedule every week, this product only sounds appealing! (Related: Best Fertilizers for Bermuda Grass: A Buyers Guide 2022)

Are Weed and Feed Products Effective?

Yes. Weed and feed products can be effective for your lawn, but only if you take the time to research proper lawn care strategies. You need to keep in mind that timing is of the essence when using this product. Most weed and feed products are commonly applied in the spring months, but the timing can be rather complicated as you're theoretically doing two things– weeding and feeding.

If you're applying a product with a post-emergent herbicide, an early application may be ineffective. You may waste the product by killing only a small percentage of the pesky weeds. Weeds that haven't sprouted yet will likely avoid the effects of the post-emergent. In contrast, applying it too late may deprive the turfgrass of the feed and nutrition to thrive in the spring growing season.

Striking a balance is essential to make the most out of this lawn care product. Apply the weed and feed once you notice the turf requires first mowing in the season for best results. Since it can be rather tricky to strike a balance, many homeowners stray away from using weed and feed because of this uncertainty. Also, the formula has a potentially harmful chemical that can be somewhat toxic to some lawns.

Tips for Using Weed and Feed

Here are some of the best expert-backed tips from the Weed Science Society of America to enjoy the several benefits of this two-for-one lawn care product.

  • Read the manufacturer's label. Before making a purchase, it's best to know what you're buying and how to apply it on your lawn correctly.
  • Identify the exact kinds of weeds growing in your turfgrass. This allows you to choose a particular herbicide in your product that is effective on those weeds. If you're unsure, you may want to contact a local professional to help you with your lawn care needs.
  • Determine the grass in your yard. Aside from determining the specific, pesky weeds growing in your yard, it's also best to identify the grass type growing in your yard. Cool-season grasses stay green all year round, while warm-season grasses enter dormancy and become brown during winter. Fertilize cool-season grasses during the fall months and warm-season grasses during spring or early summer. Ensure to pick a product that works during the fertilization period.
  • Apply products with post-emergent herbicides properly. It's best to apply your weed and feed (with post-emergent herbicides) early in the morning, right when the dew is on the grass. Also, water the lawn before application. This will better help the granules stick to the grass's wet blades to release the herbicide effectively.
  • Use the recommended amount. As previously mentioned, always follow the directions for the product label. Only use the recommended amount of the product during the suggested time frame or growth months for the weeds. Avoid applying too much of the product or using it at the wrong time of the year– this may only waste your money and may damage your lawn.
  • Keep the weed and feed away from other landscape plants. Always handle the product with caution and keep it away from other landscape plants. If any weed and feed get on your driveway or sidewalk, sweep it back into the turf using a blower or a broom.
  • Always clean your hands (and your clothes/shoes) after the application. The last thing you'd want is to take the harmful chemicals inside your home unwittingly.
  • Keep kids and pets away from the yard after the lawn treatment process. To keep your children and pets safe, do not let them enter the lawn for a few days after the treatment. According to studies, lawn chemicals can stay in the turf for about 48 hours. Pets exposed to harmful herbicides may be at an increased risk of developing cancer later on.

Keeping pesky weeds out of your lawn can be a challenging undertaking. To make it easier, it's best to develop a comprehensive strategy– such as using a weed and feed to get the job done in one go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the “weed” in a weed and feed product?

The weed usually refers to "weed-killing" herbicides, such as Dicamba, 2, 4-D, or MCPP. These effectively kill off certain weeds, such as dollarweed, dandelions, and other green leafy weeds.

What makes up the “feed” in a weed and feed product?

On the other hand, the “weed” refers to the fertilizer component of the product. Commonly, it is a combination of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Standard fertilizer blends vary depending on the manufacturer and brand, but it is formulated to help your lawn grow lush.

How do weed and feed work?

As you apply weed and feed to your lawn, the granules are absorbed by the weed. This doesn't kill your regular turf unless you've applied too much. Besides the granular form, you may also use weed and feed in liquid forms commonly applied using a sprayer.

What is the difference between pre-emergent vs. post-emergent weed and feed?

As the name implies, a pre-emergent weed and feed get rid of the pesky weeds on your lawn before they appear. But, they aren’t effective in controlling established, growing weeds. Ideally, apply the product at least once a year to get the best results. Don’t forget to water the pre-emergent weed and feed to activate the herbicide in the formula and create a protective barrier against weeds. Meanwhile, post-emergent weed and feed are the most common choice if you want to kill off weeds from your lawn. If you're plagued with pesky weeds, you may want to use this product as it has a mixture of chemicals that get rid of the weed and prevent them from reappearing.

Do seasons affect the effectiveness of my weed and feed application?

It is crucial to get the timing right to ensure the most effective results out of your weed and feed strategy. Ideally, apply the product around the time you need to fertilize the lawn (late March or early April).

Kenneth Wilson
May 24, 2022
2terra, Reviews, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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