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When To Apply Pre-Emergent In Georgia

Weeds can be a severe issue in residential lawns. Weeds detract from the inherent attractiveness of desirable turfgrasses due to variances in color, leaf size, form, and growth pattern. Unfortunately, in Georgia, weeds are widespread in lawns.

Weeds also fight for sunshine, soil moisture, nutrients, and space with turfgrasses. Many weeds can quickly take over a lawn as the dominating species. The first line of defense you can use against weeds is to apply pre-emergents.

But then the question arises when to apply pre-emergent in Georgia? Again, I’ve covered the answer to that in this article.

When To Apply Pre Emergent In Georgia 1
Spraying field with pre-emergence herbicide after planting – via Flickr

When To Apply Pre-Emergent In Georgia – Methods of Controlling Weed

Pre Emergents

Herbicides called preemergence are administered to lawns before weed seeds germinate. This class of herbicides inhibits weeds during the germination of weed seeds but does not prevent them from growing.

It is too late to administer a pre-emergent pesticide once weeds are visible in the lawn. Preemergence herbicides, when applied in the early spring, provide season-long control of annual summer weeds like crabgrass, goosegrass, and sandbur.

This series of herbicides will control several annual winter weeds such as annual bluegrass, common chickweed, and henbit if administered in the early fall months.

Only turfgrasses that have been established for at least one year should be treated with preemergence herbicides. If a preemergence herbicide is administered after seeding (for example, common centipedegrass) or after sprigging or sodding, severe harm might occur.

Weed management programs rely heavily on preemergence herbicides. They won’t get rid of all of the weeds in your lawn, but they’ll get rid of a lot of the more prevalent ones.

Apply preemergence herbicides to manage annual winter weeds such annual bluegrass, henbit, and common chickweed when nighttime temperatures drop to 65-70° F. In north Georgia, the dates of August 15 to September 15 are recommended, whereas, in south Georgia, the dates of September 1 to 15 are recommended.

Selective Herbicides

A selective herbicide limits the growth of some plant species while having little effect on the development of other plants. Selective herbicides make up the majority of herbicides used on home lawns.

These are safer as well as they don’t leave their trace on the plants that they’re applied to.

Non Selective Herbicides

Herbicides that are nonselective destroy all plants, regardless of species. Nonselective herbicides are only used on a spot treatment basis in the lawn or to eliminate undesired plant growth along driveways and walkways since they control plants indiscriminately.

Postemergence Herbicides

Herbicides that are sprayed after weeds have developed are known as postemergence herbicides. This range of herbicides, unlike preemergence herbicides, exclusively controls weeds that are emerging and actively growing at the time of treatment.

Herbicides used to manage lawn weeds are either applied in a systematic or translocated manner in the plant system that transports food and water. Therefore, it is not essential to use a postemergence pesticide to “drown” the weed. Any spray that runs off the weed is usually a waste of money and has little effect on control.

Advantages of Pre Emergents and Post Emergents

Some advantages of these types of herbicides are talked about below.

Herbicides that are sprayed prior to weed seed germination and emergence are known as preemergence herbicides. Many herbicides for preemergence are available in granular form. However, sprayable formulations are more challenging to apply than granules. Granules are also impervious to spray and vapor drift, which can occur with sprayable compositions.

Established turfgrasses are unaffected by preemergence herbicides. Most postemergence herbicides, on the other hand, cause slight injury or yellowing of turfgrasses for a short time following application.

Postemergence herbicides can be used to address weed infestations as a spot treatment. Herbicides for preemergence are frequently administered to the entire lawn area. Because spot treatments can be employed, postemergence herbicides are less expensive than preemergence herbicides.

Moreover, herbicides applied after the appearance of weeds control a more comprehensive range of weed species than herbicides used before the emergence of weeds.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single pre-emergent or post-emergent pesticide that will control all weeds. Therefore, to maintain an acceptable degree of weed control, most lawns will require the use of both preemergence and postemergence herbicides.

Advantages of Pre Emergents and Post Emergents
Pre-emergence spray – via Wikimedia

Different Forms Of Herbicides

Herbicides aren’t sold in their purest form. Herbicides are made with a variety of solvents, emulsifiers, and other additives to increase the active ingredient’s storage life, application ease, and handling properties. Herbicides for lawns come in a variety of formulations.

Formulations In Liquid Form

With hose-end sprayers or compressed air sprayers, liquid formulations are simple to measure, mix, and apply. Spot weeding can also be done with aerosol sprays or foams.

Formulations That Are Dry

Dry herbicide formulations are either blended with water and sprayed on the lawn or applied directly to the lawn, depending on the herbicide.

Powders That Are Wettable

A small, solid particle carries the active substance. Water is mixed with wettable granules and sprayed on the lawn. This formula does not result in a complete solution. Shake or agitate the spray tank frequently to maintain the powder suspended and enhance application consistency


A granule or tiny pellet contains the active substance. The granules are sprayed straight to the grass with a drop or rotary spreader rather than being blended with water.

Safety Precautions

Always read the herbicide label to see what care should be taken when handling it. Sprays and dust should not be inhaled. If herbicides are spilled on the skin, thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water.

Spraying with equipment that has loose hoses or connections is not recommended. Instead, only use as much herbicide as is required to treat the lawn. To be safe, herbicides should always be kept in their original containers.

Also, herbicides should be stored in dry regions that are not exposed to cold temperatures. And make sure that you keep the pesticides out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.


Applying herbicides is tricky because it is different from the pesticides that are conventionally used on lawns. I hope this article helped you in answering the question of when to apply pre-emergents in Georgia.

Happy gardening!