To grow a lush lawn, your soil needs to have essential nutrients. Fertilizers temporarily add nutrients to the soil. Fertilizers denote their nutrient ratios as NPK. This denotation represents the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the product. This is how the nutrients help grass:
Keeping your lawn looking lush and green means that you need to weed frequently and apply fertilizer at the right times of the year. Altogether, it can be an energy- and time-consuming exercise, especially if you have a large yard. Although you may be able to dig up a clump of crabgrass or dandelion by hand on occasion, it’s not plausible to hand-weed or fertilize an entire lawn regularly.
There are at least 11 states that ban phosphorus fertilizer use or sale. Luckily, many lawn weed and feed products available have adapted to this and have removed phosphorus from the product. Don’t worry—the weed and feed will still green up and thicken the grass without the additional phosphorus.
Ahead, read our guide to understanding weed-and-feed products, as well as the details on our top-favorite picks among the best weed-and-feed options available.
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Weed preventers, or preemergent weed killers, block weed seeds that are already in the soil, like crabgrass, poa annua, chickweed, and henbit, from germinating. Identify the type of weeds that are infesting your lawn and then make sure you choose a product that’s made to take care of it.
To find out exactly what nutrients your lawn needs can be determined by conducting a soil test. You can either purchase a test to use at home or take a soil sample to your local cooperative extension testing office.
Before applying any fertilizer or herbicide product, put on a mask, safety goggles, gloves, long sleeves, long pants and closed toe shoes. After applying the weed and feed and cleaning the spreader, wash your clothing in hot water and detergent to remove any dust or residue.
A well-kept, healthy lawn should be plush, free of weeds and diseases, and as green as the neighbors’ envious hearts. Weed and feed products are designed to provide needed nutrients to the grass while poisoning weeds that want to steal the lawn’s food. Scotts Super Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control works on several species of lawn grasses. While the company’s website recommends waiting four weeks to put down grass seed after applying the weed and feed, seeding first means waiting a different length of time before you use the product.
Wait for a calm day when temperatures are not expected to rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and no rainfall is expected for at least 24 hours. Water the lawn first to moisten the grass, or start the application when the grass is moist from dew. The product should be applied while weeds are actively growing in the lawn. A second application may be made, but wait at least 30 days — and do not use the product more than twice each year.
The Nitty Gritty
Scotts Super Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, now called simply Super Turf Builder with Weed and Feed, contains more nitrogen and phosphorus than plain Turf Builder Weed and Feed, to provide faster green-up. Super Turf Builder contains 29 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus and 3 percent potassium, while plain Turf Builder contains 28 percent nitrogen, no phosphorus and 3 percent potassium. The active weed-killing ingredients are 2,4-D and mecoprop. Environmental health agencies in some areas list 2,4-D as a chemical known to cause cancer or birth defects, so use with caution.
If you are unable to find Super Turf Builder Weed and Feed, Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action provides similar results. It kills weeds, prevents the new weeds from sprouting and feeds the grass.
If you have a very small lawn, an alternative to the granular Scotts weed and feed products is the Scotts Liquid Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control. This liquid fertilizer provides a quick boost of nitrogen as well as killing clover, dandelions and other weeds. Simply attach the garden hose and spray the lawn when the weeds are actively growing.
This turf builder weed and feed should be applied with a mechanical spreader for even distribution. When using a spreader, Scotts Turf Builder Plus 2 spreader settings vary depending on the device. Set broadcast and rotary spreaders at 3.5, hand-held spreaders on 3 and drop spreaders on 5. Even if you’ve used the turf builder products for years, always check the package directions to ensure that the instructions haven’t changed.
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