The Truth About Pre-Emergents

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When it comes to property maintenance and beautification, there are few challenges more annoying than weeds. Left unchecked, they can overtake your property’s lawn and can be costly to eradicate. Pre-emergents can help stop this problem before it starts. These chemicals form a microscopic barrier that kills existing weeds and stops weeds from germinating in the spring.

The truth is that pre-emergents have a fascinating history and are quite useful in modern lawn care. Here are four facts you may not know about this popular lawn care feature.

They were discovered by accident

Pre-emergents were discovered by 18th century clothing manufacturers. They noticed that when they used yellow dye, nothing would grow on the ground around the property. It took a few centuries, but science finally caught on and discovered a chemical in the dye that acts as a natural herbicide. This chemical ultimately became the foundation for today’s pre-emergents.

They provide a microscopic barrier

The chemicals used in this treatment are generally regarded as safe for humans. Rather than soaking into the ground, pre-emergents form a barrier that blocks weeds from growing, both immediately and long-term.

Keep in mind that this barrier, while effective, is microscopically thin. While walking and general resident activity shouldn’t affect pre-emergents, any activity that disturbs or moves soil is going to remove that barrier. If your property is due for any trenching, water line maintenance, or similar treatments around the same time you’re scheduled for pre-emergent treatment, let us know.

It’s best to use them strategically

This treatment is put down in early fall and in spring, so the ideal time to use pre-emergents is now. There is a short window of “ideal” time when weeds are distributing seeds that go to ground for spring germination. We lay down pre-emergents during those few weeks to ensure maximum lawn protection.

Pre-emergents are generally used in the areas you want to look best, rather than spraying your entire lawn. Once put down, they work up to six months, giving key areas protection through the winter and early spring. This is vital to protecting your lawn from stubborn weeds like crabgrass and dallisgrass.

One other important factor – pre-emergents cannot be used if you’re planning to install ryegrass for the fall & winter. The chemicals in pre-emergents will kill the ryegrass seeds, so you’ll need to choose one or the other.

Treatment is cost-effective

Great news – if you’re an Earthworks client, pre-emergent treatment is probably already built into your contract! We don’t charge extra for pre-emergents because we consider it part of your regular lawn maintenance. However, if you plan to install ryegrass for the fall, we need to know because pre-emergents will kill ryegrass seeds. You’ll need to choose one or the other for your fall lawn care plan.

Weeds can be hard to remove, but pre-emergents make lawn care and weed maintenance a much easier task. And while no method is 100% effective, our clients find that using pre-emergents helps eliminate about 95% of their weed problem versus not treating with pre-emergents.

If you’re looking for a safe, effective treatment that keeps weeds at bay, pre-emergents are the best option on the market. Contact your Earthworks property representative today to discuss your options or to schedule your treatment.


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