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Best Pre-emergents for Bermuda Grass

Marry E. Smith
Seasoned Gardener

Beautiful and resilient Bermuda Grass can manage to hold up against just about anything from drought to excessively hot temperatures to weeds… well maybe weeds. Unfortunately, weeds also develop resistance, and now there are plenty that can resist heatwaves and drought just as well as the Bermuda Grass they invade.

When caring for your Bermuda grass lawn, one way you can contribute to helping your Bermuda grass to resist weeds is to treat it with a top-quality pre-emergent weed killer.

While Bermuda grass thrives with high nitrogen content in its soil bed, unfortunately so do several weed variants. Dandelions, but especially crabgrass, will steal nutrients from your lawn’s soil bed. Eventually, Bermuda grass should be able to get the better of the situation, however, there may be a day when the weeds win out.

So, how can you help your lawn? By treating it with a quality pre-emergent weed killer. This will stop weed seed germination and foil plants from developing.

Weeds to Watch for

Weeds are too numerous to count much less name, however, there are several that are predominant in Bermuda grass lawns. Among these we find:

●    Annual Bluegrass

Botanically known as Poa annua, this weed has a shallow root network and is light green in hue. Second, only to Crabgrass, a single weed can produce and spread approximately 5000 seeds.

●    Crabgrass

The gift that keeps on giving, Crabgrass is a rapid multiplier that will fight till the death with your Bermuda grass for water and nourishment. It is easily recognized because it is a lighter shade of green. A single plant can produce 700 pods per season and each pod has potentially 150,000 weed seeds. Good luck!

●    Dandelions

Pretty yellow flowers across your lawn signal the unwelcome presence of dandelions. These weedy flowers use a taproot to fix themselves into your lawn. The heads filled with seeds can let loose an army of 5000 new flowering plants across your lawn.

●    Spurge

A flat weed that grows in a circle, it features small green foliage on red stems. Petite flowers become thousands of seeds that spread, germinate, or sleep until the right weather turns up.

●    White Clover

Recognized by a characteristic 3-leaf pattern, it is a low grower and likes poor soil as a home. Propagation takes place by the rooting of trailing vine-like stems.

How Does a Pre-emergent Weed Killer Work?

Created with a blend of ingredients, these weed killers target germination, sprouting, and the weed plants themselves.  

When Should I Apply a Pre-Emergent to My Lawn?

Generally, pre-emergents are applied in the spring and fall.

Spring Treatments

Hot temperatures are ideal for crabgrass seeds to germinate. Normally, people assume that as soon as the temperature hits the 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit range, it’s time to apply pre-emergents for the spring season. We recommend applying your chosen granular pre-emergent at 51° F.

Is This the Beginning and End of the Battle?

No, not quite. One problem is our tendency to follow calendars. If in your region temperatures generally hit 50° F. on March 1, this is based on preceding years. This data may not coincide with what Mother Nature has in mind for the current year. Warm fronts may appear on the horizon sooner or even later. Pre-emergents will normally last from 2 to 6 months, so it’s wise to use a granular pre-emergent for two to three weeks before the temperature starts to rise.

TIP- To get the best results, it’s wise to apply pre-emergents in the form of liquid sprays again 3 to 4 weeks after the granular applications. This will leave you, and your lawn, stress-free for the rest of the year in terms of pre-emergent use.

Below is a screenshot of a great tool that gives you info about soil temperatures concerning dates and location. Just enter your location and dates to know when the soil temperatures are near 51°F. Based on this information, apply pre-emergents 2 to 3 weeks before the indicated date.

Click on the image below to go to the website. Read the data on the left to get an idea about average past temperatures.

Soil Temperature Maps Greencast Syngenta

(We have shown temperatures based on California. Change it according to your specific location.)

The graph below shows the probable date for crabgrass seeds germination. You can also apply pre-emergents 2 to 3 weeks before the actual date shown below:

While Crabgrass will not present problems in the late fall into winter, you will want to target Poa annua (Annual Bluegrass) and other winter weeds. However, your pre-emergent should also be able to stop crabgrass after application depending on your zone.

If you have new sod on your lawn, it’s not wise to apply a pre-emergent as temperatures are going to drop and your grass will go dormant.

Otherwise, apply a very slight amount of granular pre-emergent because you’ll still have a bit of time before winter arrives. When winter arrives your Bermuda grass will go dormant. At this point, you can apply liquid pre-emergents following the manufacturer’s recommended limits.

This will also be the moment to apply humics to your lawn. The more humic you apply, the healthier your soil will be.

When using pre-emergent herbicides on Bermuda grass, it’s crucial to treat your entire lawn area. Missing a spot will offer a chance for weeds to return.

Most pre-emergents require water when applying, even the liquid ones are often applied using a hose-end sprayer. With liquid herbicides, the volume of water required for the dispersement of the weed killer is not sufficient for the soil bed to adequately absorb the product. If it does not reach the weed seeds, it will not be efficient in destroying them.

Always apply water after pre-emergent application on Bermuda grass. Otherwise, you can apply your pre-emergent before a rain if it’s been forecast.

To make it easy for you, we have selected some of the best pre-emergent products, (both granular and liquid), for your Bermuda lawn.

Note:  Read the labels carefully. Check which weeds the treatment works on.

Here are some of our favorite pre-emergents for Bermuda Grass:

#1 The Andersons Pro Turf Barricade Granular Pre-Emergent

This is a professional-grade pre-emergent weed killer, designed to prevent weeds before they take hold. It is not a weed killer for existing weeds. The DG Pro formula is known to allow penetration of more particles per square inch for effective weed control. It works all season long and prevents crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. Ideally, an application should take place in spring and fall with irrigation or rainfall.

#2 Preen Extended Control Weed Preventer

Preen’s pre-emergent is guaranteed to block weed development for up to six months. With an easy-to-use flip-top applicator it is not to be used for vegetable gardens or food-producing soil beds. Once applied granules need to be watered to permit the active ingredients to create a barrier blocking weeds. This product creates its weed barrier not only on top of the soil but beneath the surface as well. While it works best when applied in the spring, it can be applied at any time.

#3 Prodiamine 65 WDG Generic Barricade 65 WDG 5lbs

Created to impede grass and broadleaf weeds, it can be applied in both spring and summer. This product works well with both iron solutions and fertilizers. A dry granular product, it should be mixed with water and not applied with a hose and spraying device.

#4 Dimension 2EW Dithiopyr Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Meant to prevent the germination of Crabgrass and Poa annua seeds among other weeds, Split treatment 5 to 10 weeks apart is ideal for the best weed control.

#5 BARRICADE PRE-EMERGENCE

Containing .58% Prodiamine, this pre-emergent granular herbicide is designed for use with a broadcast spreader on lawns, turfs, and more. It mixes beautifully and leaves little or no mess to clean up after use.

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