If you’ve got a lawn and you’re looking to do some preventative weed control, you’re going to need a pre-emergent herbicide.
Pre-emergent works by coating the soil where weeds grow with a layer of herbicide that stops newly germinated seeds from growing any further.
But with a whole bunch of different pre-emergent herbicides out there to choose from, it can be hard to pick the right one for your needs.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best pre emergents for lawns to help save you some of the work of choosing.
Best Pre Emergent For Lawn & Post
Tenacity herbicide is the first pre-emergent we’ll be covering in this article.
Tenacity can be used in both pre and post-emergent applications.
So you can use it either as a pre-emptive preventative measure against weeds or as a way of eliminating existing weeds, although it is somewhat more effective when used as a post-emergent.
When it comes to the herbicides on this list, Tenacity weed killer once only set for commercial use is probably the best one for residential lawns.
It’s suitable for use on many different types of lawn grass, like Kentucky bluegrass, centipedegrass, buffalograss, fescue, and St. Augustine grass.
Tenacity is effective at getting rid of a large number of different weeds, like dandelions, thistles, crabgrass, carpetweed, chickweed, and many others besides.
The active ingredient in Tenacity is mesotrione, which makes up 40% of Tenacity by volume.
Tenacity is manufactured by Syngenta and comes in liquid form, as opposed to many other pre-emergents on which come in the form of small granules.
You get more miles from liquid over granular, takes up less space and easier to store.
- Can be used as both a pre- and post-emergent
- Suitable for use on a wide variety of grass types
- One of the better herbicides for home lawns specifically
- Available with additional lawncare resources
- More effective when used as a post-emergent
Prodiamine 65 WDG
We’ll take a look at Prodiamine 65 WDG next. WDG stands for “wettable dispersible granule” and it means that this product comes in the form of small granules that you must add to water or fluid fertilizer before using.
This herbicide, like many others, works by stunting the growth of newly germinated weed seeds.
Prodiamine 65 WDG is suitable for use on a wide variety of different growing areas.
Sod nurseries, regular lawns, ornamental plants (container or landscape), wildflower plantings, Christmas tree farms, and established turf-grasses (with the exception of putting greens on golf courses).
Prodiamine 65 WDG is most effective when it’s used as a pre-emergent on broadleaf weeds, crabgrass, and other types of unwanted grass.
It’s also great at treating bluegrass, witchgrass, spurge, chickweed, and many other common types of weeds.
As the name of Prodiamine 65 WDG implies, the active ingredient in this pre-emergent is prodiamine, and it makes up 65% of the entire formula. Prodiamine 65 WDG is manufactured by Quali-Pro.
Prodiamine 65 WDG is comparable to another pre-emergent on this list, Resolute 65 WG. Both of these pre-emergents come in a granular form and use 65% prodiamine as their active ingredient. However, of these two products, Prodiamine 65 WDG is slightly less expensive.
- Versatile use as a pre-emergent
- Less expensive than some other comparable pre-emergents
- Safe for most kinds of grass
- Claims to be non-staining but may in fact stain your spraying equipment
- The small granules may clog your spraying equipment
Dimension 2 EW
Next up on our list is Dimension 2 EW. This is another herbicide that can be used as a pre-emergent for preventing the growth of any weeds at all, or as a post-emergent to kill any weeds that do appear.
Dimension 2 EW is also a very versatile herbicide and can be used on both container and landscape ornamental plants, residential and commercial lawns, golf course tee boxes, fairways, and roughs, as well as sod farms.
This product can be used to control a number of different broadleaf weeds and unwanted grasses. These include dandelion, carpetweed, sowthistle, spurge, woodsorrel, bluegrass, crabgrass, foxtail, ryegrass, and wild oats, to name just a few.
Dimension 2 EW comes in the form of a liquid concentrate. Its active ingredient is dithiopyr, and it contains 24% dithiopyr by volume. Dimension 2 EW is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences.
Unlike the other herbicides on this list which are only available in one container size, you can buy Dimension 2 EW in either a 0.5-gallon jug or a 2.5-gallon jug. However, per container this is easily the most expensive herbicide on this list.
- Safe to use on many types of grass and other plants
- Suitable for controlling a wide variety of weeds
- Available in more than one container size
- Most expensive herbicide on this list
Resolute 65 WG
Resolute 65 WG is very similar to another product on this list, Prodiamine 65 WDG.
As we’ve mentioned, both of these products contain the same active ingredient at the same level of concentration, and both products even come in the same size of the container, but for some reason, Resolute 65 WG is a bit more expensive.
Other than the price, these products are basically identical.
Resolute 65 WG is a pre-emergent herbicide and can be used on normal lawns, ornamental plants, wildflowers, Christmas tree farms, sod farms, and turf-grasses (except for putting greens), just as Prodiamine 65 WDG can.
Resolute can also be used to treat unwanted grasses like bluegrass and crabgrass, as well as many other types of weeds.
Resolute 65 WG is manufactured by Syngenta, who also manufactures Tenacity, another herbicide on this list.
- Useful as a pre-emergent in many different areas
- Safe to use on many types of grass
- The granules in this herbicide may block up your spraying equipment
- More expensive than some other comparable herbicides
Atrazine is the final herbicide we’ll be looking at today.
Like Tenacity, Atrazine can be used as both a pre-emergent and a post-emergent herbicide.
Unlike Tenacity, or any of the other herbicides on this list, Atrazine is an incredibly specialized herbicide that is only suitable for use on lawns with St. Augustine grass and centipedegrass.
When being used on lawns like these, Atrazine can control a large number of broadleaf weeds and unwanted grasses, like bluegrass, dollarweed, spurge, woodsorrel, and various types of annual clovers.
Atrazine comes in the form of liquid concentrate and is the second herbicide on this list after Dimension 2 EW that is available in more than one container size.
You can buy it in quart- or gallon-sized jugs.
Atrazine is far less expensive per container than Dimension 2 EW is, however.
The active ingredient in Atrazine is a compound called atrazine. This product contains 4% atrazine by volume. This herbicide is manufactured by Southern Ag.
- Pet-safe if used as directed
- Available in multiple container sizes
- Only suitable for a couple of different types of grass
Negate 37 WG
We’re cheating a little bit by including Negate 37 WG on this list because this herbicide is actually a post-emergent and isn’t really used as a pre-emergent at all.
Nonetheless, we’re including this product on our list because it’s still effective enough at what it does to be worth talking about.
Negate 37 WG is best suited for use in commercial growing applications, like on golf courses, sod farms, professional sports fields, and on commercial and industrial lawns.
It can also be used on residential lawns, although only ones that use bermudagrass or zoysiagrass.
Negate 37 WG can be used to control over 35 different kinds of unwanted grasses and broadleaf weeds, like sowthistle, goldenrod, dandelion, foxtail, and ryegrass.
However, it’s most effective when it’s used as an herbicide against bluegrass specifically.
Negate 37 WG comes in the form of wettable granules, as indicated by the “WG” in the product name.
The difference between Negate 37 WG and a lot of other granule-based herbicides is that Negate 37 WG comes in small, single-use containers while other herbicides tend to come in large containers with many months’ worth of herbicide.
Unlike most of the other herbicides on this list which contain one active ingredient, Negate 37 WG contains two:
- 20% metsulfuron and
- 16.67% rimsulfuron.
Negate 37 WG is the second product on this list manufactured by Quali-Pro. It’s also unavailable for purchase in many states in the U.S.
- One of the better herbicides on this list for commercial and industrial uses
- The single-use container makes measuring out the product far easier
- Great at killing bluegrass in particular
- Only available in single-use containers
- Not useful as a pre-emergent
- Not available in many states
- Not suitable for most residential lawns
How to Choose the Best Pre-Emergent for Your Needs?
It’s not as simple as just buying any pre-emergent and applying it to your lawn.
You’ll need a different pre-emergent depending on the situation with your lawn and how exactly you want to use each pre-emergent.
For starters, you’ll need to find a pre-emergent that targets the kind of weeds you actually have.
You’ll also need to make sure that your pre-emergent is suitable for whatever grass in on your lawn (if you are in fact treating your lawn for weeds).
You should also have an idea of how big the area you want to treat is (in square feet).
The label of whatever herbicide you’re looking at will tell you how many square feet of surface it’ll be able to treat, so make sure you find one that will be able to do the whole job.
Finally, you should decide whether you want to go with a granule- or a liquid-based herbicide.
If you’re using a granule-based herbicide, you’ll need to water the area where you used the herbicide.
You can either apply the herbicide to your lawn and then water it or mix your herbicide directly in with your water supply in some cases.
For liquid-based herbicides, however, you have to pre-mix them with the correct amount of water before you spray them on the area you want to treat.
How to Apply a Pre-Emergent Correctly?
Using a pre-emergent isn’t as easy as just spraying it on your lawn and hoping for the best.
There’s a lot that goes into the process of using pre-emergents that can affect the final results.
For one thing, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to treat all your weeds after applying a herbicide one time.
All weeds grow and reproduce differently, and some weed seeds are particularly tough and can survive being exposed to all sorts of adverse conditions.
Don’t be discouraged if you have to apply a herbicide to an area more than once.
A large part of using pre-emergents successfully also depends on applying them at the right time and under the right conditions.
Pre-emergents are only effective at treating weeds that have begun to germinate but are still entirely under the soil.
Depending on what weeds you’re trying to control, the right time and the right conditions to apply a pre-emergent are going to vary a lot.
You’ll have to do your own research to find out what the best time for you specifically to apply your pre-emergent is.
It’s also important that you apply your pre-emergent evenly over the entire area you’re trying to treat.
Only spraying individual spots within that area will do basically nothing to prevent the growth of weeds.
You’re Ready to Get Started!
If you’re looking for a pre-emergent or even a post-emergent herbicide, any of the ones on this list would be a great place to start.
You’ve got a wide variety of different types of pre-emergents to choose from, so no matter what kind of situation your lawn is in, you should be able to find an effective herbicide.
The most important thing to do when choosing a pre-emergent is doing as much research as you can about what kinds of weeds you’re trying to get rid of. how and when they germinate, and what kinds of grass your lawn contains.
Knowing all this info will make it significantly easier for you to pick the best pre emergent for lawn care