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Lawn & Garden

Spring lawn preparation

Out here on the West Coast, we can get an early start on our lawn preparation.  In the last two weeks I have had numerous cunstomers asking what they can put on their lawn to get a good jump start on the spring growing season.


 Since the ground temperature is still below 45⁰ F, this is an excellent time to add a Pre-Emergence to your lawn.  To be effective, the Scotts Halts must be added in late winter or early spring when the soil temperatures are cool.  Once the ground has warmed up above this temperature, the pre-emergence will not be effective. 


The application of a pre-emergence is the same as a regular grass fertilizer.  The lawn should be hydradrated the day before or the morning of the application.  The grass should be dry to the touch and then the fertilizer should be watered in right after the application. 


The Scotts Halts is an actual grass fertilizer but also contains the Pre-Emergence which delays the germination of the weed seed for about 4 months.  The pre-emergence does not differentiate between weed seeds and grass seeds so you will not be able to add grass seed to your lawn for about 4 months. 




If you choose not to use the pre-emergence, than using a Weed N Feed will be your next best option.  Scotts makes a weed and feed called “Scotts Turf Builder Plus 2 Weed Control




The Home Depot’s Vigoro Weed & Feed also works very well as a weed and feed and is an excellent alternative.




For the greatest effectiveness when using a weed and feed, it is recommended that the following protocols be followed:

  1. The lawn should not have been cut for about 5-6 days before applying the Weed and Feed.
  2. The lawn should be well watered the day before or the morning of the application of the Weed and Feed.
  3. The lawn should be damp to the touch like it would be on a foggy morning.
  4. A “Drop Spreader” should be used when applying a Weed and Feed.  The drop spreader will drop the finer weed killing granules about 2-3 inches above the weed blades.
  5. Do not water for at least the next 24-48 hours.  This will give the weed killing properties a chance to be absorbed by the weed blades and down into the root system. 



The Bandini Weed and Feed is another great choice if you have St. Augustine grass but it only comes in the large 15000 sq ft bag.




If you do not want to run out and buy a Drop Spreader this year, a rotary spreader will also work if you are just applying the Pre-Emergence.  It will just not work as well as a Drop Spreader for applying the Weed N Feed.




You can apply a grass fertilizer as often as every 6-8 weeks.  Please be conscience of your environment and be sure that when you water your lawn, the water is actually soaking into the ground and not running off the curb into the gutter.  When was the last time your arerated your lawn?  Check with your local Home Depot Tool Rental and rent an aerating machine and make quick work aerating your lawn.  


Be sure to take pictures of your projects and share them with the rest of the gardening community under "Project Library" I did this!


If you have any questions, please let us know.


This has been another pick from,





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Posted 2013-02-26T22:28:24+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC


Your post recommends an early start for the West Coast. Would the same apply to the East Coast - Long Island NY specifically?

Also, is there a need to areate the lawn first before doing anything?



Posted 2013-03-21T15:55:26+0000  by byself
oops! sorry - I meant Rick.
Posted 2013-03-21T15:59:14+0000  by byself

LOL,  not a problem, thank yor for your question byself.  Yes the Spring Lawn prep is all tied to ground temperature and if using the Pre-Emergent Halts by Scotts, it needs to be done in late winter to early spring before the ground temperature gets above 45F -50F.  Aerating is always a good idea and should be done before any fertilzer or pre-emergence is added.


You can also use a compost spreader to add a little good top soil after you aerate as well. Check with your local Home Depot Tool Rental for additional information.


                                                                        Compost Spreader.jpg


Have fun wih your yard prep and be sure to take pictures of your project and share them with us in our "Project library" under I Did This.


Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.


This has been another of,

Posted 2013-03-22T16:16:34+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
Thanks Rick.
It appears Halts by Scott's is unavailable here in NY. I've checked the major stores including Home Depot, but it's unavailable. Any suggestions for a substitution.
Posted 2013-03-23T02:32:35+0000  by byself

Hi again,


Sorry for the delay.  Let me check what is available in your area...If you take a look at this link to our online store, this page will give you several alternatives to Scotts Halts.  Let me know if you have any further questions.



Posted 2013-03-26T16:28:31+0000  by Rick_HD_OC

i am in CT. a couple of miles inland from long island sound. zone 6? i have read elsewhere on this site NOT to aerate in march. so its almost april. i can aerate now?


also, Rick, i cannot weed/feed because i need to over seed.

i do have much moss. i assume i can lime my lawn. so the question is in what order?

lime, aerate, seed, and fertilize?

i also have spots i know will propagate  much crab grass. its sounds like i will have to live with that for the time being.

thanks for any help.  

Posted 2013-03-27T04:48:57+0000  by hacksaw

Hi hacksaw,


If the ground is not frozen, you can aerate. As long as the soil will not mar-up when you roll over it with the aerator, all will be fine.


Over seeding will expose tender new grass to herbicides, so chemical weed control should wait until the new grass has been mowed at least 3 times. That's about 8 to 10 weeks in most cases.


Mowing technique can help control weeds. Keep the weeds mowed so that they can't flower and produce weed seed. Even if you mulch your lawn, cutting the weeds before they flower will keep their seeds from developing. Your lawn will look better for all the added attention.


Moss can be treated during this time since the moss can be spot treated. Apply Moss Control directly to the wet moss and scrape it after it dies. Apply grass seed in the spot.


Lime is applied to the soil, so it can be applied anytime. All lime does is adjust the pH of the soil. If the soil is less acidic, grass will grow better and moss won't.


Personally, I like to aerate first to open the soil surface. Lime goes down next (unless you've put some down in the last couple of months) followed by fertilizer then seed. I put seed down last so that I avoid walking on it as much as possible.


I always apply starter fertilizer the same day that I apply seed. The germination process time allows the fertilizer to settle and dissolve into the soil where the grass can begin feeding as it germinates.


These guidelines are not set in stone and are often debated. There are many ways to accomplish a great lawn. This is just one that has worked for me.


Keep us posted!



Travis, the LawnRanger


Posted 2013-03-29T18:15:08+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Here is a Scotts Lawn Schedule to help keep your lawn on track. If you are in the north, scroll down some and you will see the northern schedule. Take a look at these other related articles to help clear up other questions.

Other related articles:

12 Essential Nutrients Plants Need To Stay Healthy

What is lime and why is it important?

Top Benefits of Leveling Your Lawn

What are the numbers on fertilizer? What are the different types of grass?

Why did the weed and feed not kill my weeds?

Posted 2015-12-10T20:15:42+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL
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