Whether you’re looking to keep your lawn healthy and lush year-round or trying to bring back some of the vibrant green to your yard, a weed and feed can be of great help. They get rid of tough, stubborn weeds while simultaneously helping your lawn grow lush and green.
But what exactly is a “weed and feed”? How does it work? How do you use it? And what should you consider before buying this product? Below, we have detailed answers to all these questions and more, as well as the top 8 weed & feeds currently on the market.
How to Choose a Weed And Feed: A Buying Guide
Weed and feed is a single, generic term that describes a wide range of lawn chemicals formulated to achieve two main goals: kill certain types of weeds and support the health of existing grass in your lawn.
With one application, this array of products is generally designed to boost your lawn’s ability to take up water and added nutrients, helping it grow better and stronger.
From there, as your lawn starts to grow, the new healthier grass discourages the propagation of unwanted weeds. This means that over time, you’ll need to use less and less weed and feed.
However, if you begin to notice that your lawn growth is declining or weeds are appearing more, you can re-incorporate weed and feed application into your plant care routine.
Types of Weed and Feed
The herbicides usually used in weed and feed products come in two major types: pre-emergent and post-emergent. Not only does knowing which one to buy and when to apply it depend on the weed situation you’re currently dealing with, but it’s also crucial to successfully getting rid of weeds and generating a healthy lawn.
Pre-emergent Weed and Feed
This type acts to kill unwanted weeds before they develop. This means that if your lawn is still under control and you can’t yet see grown weeds, a pre-emergent weed and feed is the right choice for you.
To achieve the best outcome, be sure to apply pre-emergent weed and feed once every year at the beginning of spring. This way, weeds are less likely to come back.
Keep in mind that if you manage to clear out the unwanted weeds the previous year, there’s a chance they could appear again because the wind is constantly carrying more weed seeds into your lawn. As such, even if you keep your lawn perfectly weed-free, you should apply pre-emergent weed and feed each year.
Pre-emergent herbicides work best against Japanese stilt grass and crabgrass.
Post-emergent Weed and Feed
This type acts to kill unwanted weeds after they’ve already developed. How often you should use it and how much you should apply varies according to the number of weeds taking over your lawn.
If you can see a lot of weeds choking out the grass, a post-emergent product is probably what your lawn needs. Consider asking for advice from a local lawn care center or landscaper.
Post-emergent herbicides work best against nimblewill and bermudagrass.
When You Should Apply It (Not Too Early/Not Too Late)
Whether you’re using a pre-emergent or post-emergent weed and feed, the most important rule when it comes to product application is to never be too early or too late.
Season and Water Presence
It’s critical to treat your lawn when the unwanted weeds are growing actively early in the season. As such, if you apply your product during the winter, you won’t see any results in the spring and summer after.
Additionally, you should avoid applying weed and feed when it’s expected to rain. Although spreading weed and feed is preferably done on a damp or wet lawn because it allows the product to better reach the weeds, there’s no need for lots of water.
Using a sprinkler or waiting until right after rain is usually enough to maximize application efficiency. However, there should be no rain or lawn watering for two days after application.
This water break gives the herbicide time to stick to the weeds and get absorbed by them. Otherwise, the excess water will wash away the product. Though if that happens, you shouldn’t immediately re-apply the product due to the risk of over-feeding the lawn and potentially causing a lawn burn.
Time of Day
You can apply pre-emergent weed and feeds any time of day as their mechanism of action involves creating a soil barrier to prevent the growth of weeds.
On the other hand, the time of applying post-emergent weed and feeds depends on whether the product contains non-systemic or systemic herbicides. Check the label on the container to make sure.
The non-systemic type damages plant tissues, so you can apply it any time during the day.
However, the systemic type has to get absorbed through the roots to enter the weeds as they’re actively growing, so the time of using systemic herbicides changes according to the growth region.
Does Your Lawn Need a Weed and Feed?
If any of the following scenarios apply to your lawn, then it’ll benefit from a weed and feed:
- Suffering from a weed infestation
- Prone to weed infestations
- Looking dull
- Requiring extra nutrients
How Does it Work?
Weed and feed products contain nutrients in the form of minerals and herbicides that are either non-systemic or systemic. The nutrients promote healthy grass growth, whereas herbicides kill unwanted weeds.
The mechanism with which these chemicals work depends on the form they come in. Generally, weed and feeds are available in two forms:
- Granules — this form consists of tiny granules coated with a herbicide. You apply such a product by spreading the pellets across your lawn when it’s damp or wet so that they stick to the weeds. The water then makes contact with the granules, dissolving the herbicide coat and releasing the killer chemicals as well as the nutrients.
- Liquid — this form consists of liquid chemicals mixed with water. You apply such a product via a sprayer to easily cover your lawn. It doesn’t matter whether the grass is wet or dry upon application.
The choice here is up to your preference. But whatever you end up picking, be sure to closely follow the instructions indicated on the container to achieve the best outcome.
Additionally, since certain herbicides work best against certain types of weeds, carefully reading the labels can help you make a better decision.
Weeds in your lawn aren’t the main problem, they’re actually a symptom of a bigger problem. As such, weeds offer a natural way for soil testing your lawn as different weeds can indicate various issues in your lawn. For example:
- Chickweed indicates a high nitrogen content.
- Crabgrass indicates a low level of nutrients, especially calcium.
- Dandelions indicate a depleted compact soil that lacks calcium.
How to Apply Weed and Feed
Granular weed and feed: You apply such a product by spreading the pellets across your lawn using a spreader or by hand. The grass has to be damp or wet so that the granules stick to the weeds. Then, when the water makes contact with the pellets, it dissolves the herbicide coat and releases the chemicals as well as the nutrients.
We recommend that you use a spreader for application to dispense the proper amount evenly over your lawn. If you spread too many pellets in one area, they can damage the grass. Not to mention, overusing weed and feed can produce harmful runoff.
Liquid weed and feed: liquid products are a popular choice among homeowners because they contain already diluted chemicals, making them safe. You can buy liquid weed and feed in bulk or smaller containers fitted with a sprayer nozzle for extra convenience.
How Long Does it Work
Post-emergent weed and feeds can show initial results within four to seven days, though they may take up to three weeks to completely eliminate weeds. As for pre-emergent herbicides, they act even before you can see weeds and they remain active for up to eight weeks.
Regardless of the type of your weed and feed, your application frequency shouldn’t exceed twice per year.
When to Water After
Don’t water your lawn for two days after application. This water break gives the herbicide enough time to stick to the weeds and get absorbed by them. Otherwise, the excess water will wash away the product.
If that happens, you shouldn’t immediately re-apply the product due to the risk of over-feeding the lawn and potentially causing a lawn burn.
Key Considerations for Buying Weed and Feed
Granular vs. Liquid Application
Generally, weed and feeds are available in two forms:
- Granules — this form consists of tiny granules coated with a herbicide. You apply such a product by spreading the pellets across your lawn when it’s damp or wet so that they stick to the weeds.
- Liquid — this form consists of liquid chemicals mixed with water. You apply such a product via a sprayer to easily cover your lawn. It doesn’t matter whether the grass is wet or dry upon application.
The choice here is up to your preference and the size of your lawn. You can use granules on small to mid-size lawns without too much trouble, while larger lawns are easier to manage with liquid products.
Some types of grass respond better to particular types of fertilizer while others don’t do much for them. So, when you’re choosing a weed and feed, it should contain a fertilizer that’s compatible with your lawn grass.
Nitrogen and Other Nutrients
On the label of a weed and feed, you’ll see numbers that indicate the NPK value, which is the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You must check the amounts of these nutrients to make sure that the grass will get what it needs.
In smaller amounts, your lawn also requires other elements to stay healthy and strong such as molybdenum, zinc, cobalt, sulfur, and magnesium.
Some weed and feed products are better formulated to kill specific types of weeds than others. As such, you should figure out the type of weeds plaguing your lawn so you can pick a product that’s effective against them.
Common weeds that most of these products target include broadleaf weeds such as including dandelions, creeping charlie, plantain, and chickweed.
Reviews For The Top 8 Weed & Feeds
#1. Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed
- Up to 2X more powerful dandelion and clover control (vs. previous formula)
- Clears out dandelions and clover—satisfaction guaranteed
- Weedgrip Technology grips the weeds you see—and the ones you don't
The Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed is Scotts most powerful Weed & Feed to date, and is our number one choice for the best currently available on the market. This herbicide and fertilizer is twice as powerful as previous formulas when it comes to clearing out dandelions and clovers, as well as other common weeds. Its WeedGrip technology is able to grip and kill both the weeds you see as well as the weeds you don’t. Scotts sells their products with a satisfaction guarantee or your money back.
You can get the best results out of your Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed if you use it in the spring season, when the winter frost has thawed and the first flowers and plants are starting to grow for the year. Because of the dual action of the weed killer and fertilizer, this product can crowd out the weeds in your lawn by both killing them where they grow as well as feeding and thickening the grass lawn around them. It then subsequently eliminates future weeds as well, as they have no space to grow. This Weed and Feed works well on almost all grass types, including Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass, and Zoysia Grass.
#2. GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed
- Pro-grade, professional DIY results
- 1 Application = 3 lawn treatments; blocks crabgrass, kills weeds, feeds lawn
- Kills 200+ tough lawn weeds; proprietary formula kills dandelions and seedling crabgrass at the same time
The GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed gives you professional grade results even if you are a first time gardener. It’s 3-in-1 formula provides three treatments in a single application: it blocks crabgrass, kills weeds, and feeds your lawn all at the same time. Regardless of the type of weed, the GreenView Weed & Feed is up to the task, because it can kill 200+ tough weeds you find in your lawn and garden, including dandelions, clover, chickweed, thistle, and more. Additionally, it is a pre-emergent formula, which means it can stop crabgrass and other weeds from growing in the first place by forming a barrier at the surface of the soil.
Regarding its ability to feed a lawn, the GreenView has the highest slow-release nitrogen content currently available on the market. It has 65% slow release nitrogen in its formula, which can feed your lawn essential nutrients and keep it healthy for up to 12 weeks. This keeps the vital nutritional value of the Feed for the plants, rather than it washing away in a rainstorm or a watering session. One bag can cover up to 15,000 square feet of grass. For best results, apply it in the spring and when the grass is wet, as the granules will better stick to the grass and absorb more effectively.
#3. Preen One LawnCare Weed & Feed
- Stops crabgrass all season and can be applied up to 4 weeks after crabgrass emerges
- Kills dandelions and up to 250 other tough lawn weeds as listed, to the root
- Feeds your lawn for up to eight weeks with a, zero-phosphorus 24-0-6 formula
The Preen One LawnCare Weed & Feed is the best weed and feed sold by Preen, one of the premier lawn care products on the market. With one bag you can cover up to 10,000 square feet and make your entire lawn look more healthy and free of weeds. In one easy step you can provide three essential lawn treatments. First, it blocks crabgrass from growing by targeting the crabgrass seeds, even when applied up to 4 weeks after the crabgrass first emerges. Secondly, it kills dandelions as well as more than 250 of the toughest broadleaf lawn weeds, such as chickweed, thistle, and clover.
Additionally to its weed-killing capabilities, Preen One also helps to feed your lawn for up to 8 weeks with its patented zero phosphate and slow-releasing nitrogen formula, giving it a steady feeding over a longer period of time than comparable products. For best results, apply Preen One in the spring or early summer when the broadleaf weeds are young and still growing, and make sure your lawn is wet before and during application to ensure the formula sticks to the grass and the leaves of the weeds. However, it is not for use on St Augustinegrass, colonial bentgrass, or carpet grass as this could result in serious lawn injury.
#4. Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action
- Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action is three-in-one formula for Southern grasses that kills dollarweed and clover, prevents and kills fire ants, and feeds your lawn
- Kills listed lawn weeds, including dollarweed, dandelion, clover, oxalis, plantain, chickweed, and henbit
- Prevents and kills fire ants for up to 6 months; also controls armyworms, fleas, mole crickets, chinch bugs, sod webworms, and ticks
The Scotts Turf Builder Southern Triple Action is another powerful and unique three-in-one formula that does everything your lawn could need. It kills stubborn weeds such as dollarweed and clover, as well as the less prevalent weeds like chickweed, oxalis, plantain and henbit. It is also one of the best weed and feeds at preventing unwanted pests from eating and tearing up your yard, killing and keeping away fire ants, armyworms, mole crickets, fleas, sod webworms, cinchbugs, and ticks for up to 6 months. Lastly, it fertilizes and feeds your lawn to help build a thick green layer of grass, and its feeding formula also strengthens your lawn against both heat and drought.
All of this can be done with one single bag of Southern Triple Action, which can provide coverage for up to 8,000 square feet of lawn, and is guaranteed by Scotts or your money back. This product, while useful for almost all types of grass, is particularly beneficial to Southern grasses, such as St. Augustine, Carpet grass, Centipede, and Zoysia grass, and is most effective when used in the springtime or early summer. You can apply it to a dry lawn as well, so there is no need to water before or during application.
#5. BioAdvanced Bayer All-in-One Weed & Feed
- ALL-in-ONE FORMULA: Now, a weed and feed that also kills crabgrass
- WEED KILLER: Kills listed broadleaf lawn weeds including dandelion, clover, chickweed, and more. PLUS kills crabgrass and other grassy weeds
- LAWN FERTILIZER: Feeds, greens, and strengthens your lawn
The BioAdvanced Bayer All-in-One Weed & Feed fertilizer and herbicide is a great option for your lawn and garden if you live in more northern regions. It is specially formulated for northern lawns and is most effective on Bermudagrass, Fescue, Zoysiagrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Buffalo Grass, rather than other grass types from more southern climates. Its all-in-one formula gives your lawn everything it needs. In addition to killing broadleaf lawn weeds like dandelion, chickweed, clover, spotted spurge and more, it also kills crabgrass and other grassy weeds, helping you get rid of over 200 different weeds in total.
On the feed side, the BioAdvanced All-in-One nourishes and optimizes your lawn, making it stronger and greener. Its proprietary micro feeding action unlocks the nutrients that are already in the soil to help create a more nourishing and resilient zone around the base of the grass roots. Additionally, it improves the grass’s nutrient uptake both during and after treatments, which also fortifies the roots of the grass and increases its ability to stave off heat and drought. You can use any drop or broadcast spreader to apply this weed & feed, and a single bag can treat an area of up to 5,000 square feet.
#6. Miracle Gro Shake ‘N Feed Plus Weed Preventer
The Miracle Gro Shake ‘N Feed Plus Weed Preventer combines the nutritional benefits of Miracle Gro Shake ‘N Feed with a weed and crabgrass killer. Miracle Gro has been a leading brand in lawn and garden care for over 70 years with its water-soluble fertilizer, and adding a weed killer to its classic feed formula will take care of multiple of your lawn needs at the same time. Simply use it in your lawn or garden around already established plants, flowers, vegetables, and shrubbery, and apply it as early as possible during the growing season to stop weeds from emerging. You also don’t need much in each application, so a 4.5-pound jug should treat a minimum of 135 square feet.
One single application of the Miracle Gro will both feed your plants and help them thrive, as well as kill and prevent weeds, for up to 3 months. With an applicator that is easy to open and use, all you have to do is shake out the jug onto whatever area of your lawn you need to treat, and then lightly rake the feed into the soil. You don’t even need to wet your lawn before usage. The Weed Preventer in the formula helps prevent all kinds of weeds from germinating, including broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover and grassy weeds like crabgrass.
#7. Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed
- Fertilizer and kills over 250 broadleaf weeds, including dandelion, henbit, dollar weed, White clover, plantain and chickweed
- Treats northern and southern grasses
- Not for floral St. Augustine
Next on our list is the Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed. This Weed & Feed is a great all-around treatment. For one thing, you can apply it any time that weeds are actively growing, typically between April in June. The 10.56% slow-release nitrogen provides an extended feeding time of up to three months, and the 5% iron mixes with the nitrogen to promote quick lush growth and a dark green lawn. It also is applicable for both northern and southern grass types, except for St. Augustinegrass, or Floratam, so it can be effective regardless of the climate you live in.
When applied with a spreader according to the package directions, a single 12.5-lb bag of Pennington UltraGreen can cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet. It can also kill upward of 250 broadleaf weeds, including but not limited to dandelion, henbit, white clover, dollar weed, chickweed, and plantain. For a fertilizer that will help to kill any and all weeds you could find in our yard and also make your grass a vibrant, full green color, this is a great option.
#8. Spectracide 20-0-0 Weed & Feed
- DUAL-ACTION FORMULA: Kills major broadleaf weeds while feeding your lawn.
- FEEDS LAWN: Fertilizes with 20 percent nitrogen formulation.
- KILLS WEEDS: Controls dandelion, chickweed, knotweed, plantain, clover, mallow, purslane and many broadleaf weeds as listed.
The Spectracide 20-0-0 Weed & Feed is the final entry on our list of the best Weed & Feeds to use for your lawn and garden. It comes in a handy spray bottle that is very easy to use – all you have to do is connect it to a hose and spray. Due to its spray formula, even though it comes in a small size, one 32 oz. bottle can cover up to 7,500 square feet of lawn grass. This herbicide and fertilizer is effective at killing weeds like dandelion, chickweed, clover, knotwood, and plantain, while also feeding your lawn.
The Spectracide can kill all kinds of broadleaf weeds, and you can spray it anytime during the season that weeds are actively growing and it will still be effective. Its 20% nitrogen formulation will give your lawn lots of nutrients and help it to feed and grow to its full potential. Simply water your lawn one to two days before spraying, hook up a hose to the spray bottle, and get to work!
This article should give you a general overview of what to look for when buying a weed and feed for your lawn.
Because it is a vital aspect of your lawn’s health and for getting rid of pesky weeds, it is important to buy the very best weed and feed for your specific situation.
Our choice for the best weed and feed would be Scott’s Turf Builder if you are still not exactly sure which one to go with. However, always be sure to check that the product you purchase is effective for the lawn and weeds that you have.