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When Can I Seed After Preventing Crabgrass?

April 10, 2012

I hear that question quite a few times this time of year.  I have two answers depending on the size of the lawn area that needs new grass seed.  However, before I give those two answers here is a quick rundown of crabgrass prevention 101.

Scotts Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer and Scotts Lawn Pro Step 1 contain our best crabgrass preventer to provide prevention for around 4 months.  The directions state that you should not plant grass seed for 4 months after application, which means you will need to wait until the end of August to seed.  We have a different crabgrass preventer for folks who want to seed in spring and prevent crabgrass.  Scotts Starter Fertilizer plus Crabgrass Preventer and Scotts Lawn Pro Step 1 for New Seeding provide crabgrass prevention while allowing you to plant grass seed at the same time.  (Note:  the crabgrass prevention is not generally as good as Turf Builder plus Halts and Step 1, however it is your best choice if you want to seed in spring.)

Now here are my two answers:

1). If you only have a few small areas you want to seed, I have seen folks get around the fact that they have a crabgrass germination barrier in those spots by cultivating the soil to a 4 inch depth (to disrupt the crabgrass barrier), then mixing in an inch of compost like Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Soil, and then seeding with Scotts EZ Seed.

2). If you have a large area you want to seed, the first recommendation is not practical, so you really need to wait until early fall to seed.

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28 Comments
  1. Saumil permalink

    I am in Philadelphia PA. I have Zoysia grass and is still dormant. Should I use Scotts Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer now even my grass is still brown or Should I wait till it starts to turn green?

    • Hi Saumil
      Your zoysia should not be fed until you see about 60% green. Since it is now time to prevent crabgrass in your area, see if you can find a bag of Scotts Halts (without the Turf Builder) and apply right away. Then when you see the greening as the weather warms, feed with Turf Builder or Scotts GreenMAX.

  2. butch permalink

    I’m located in SE Michigan and 3 weeks ago I applied Scotts Turfbuilder with Halts and now I am seeing lots of dandelions and clover in my lawn. What can I put down now to get rid of these?

    • Hi Butch
      Since the Turf Builder with Halts you applied feeds for 6 to 8 weeks, it is too soon to apply Turf Builder plus 2 weed & feed. You can spray now with Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer to kill the dandelions and clover without hurting your good grass.

  3. Alex Zubrowski permalink

    I need to do 3 things this spring. Fertilize, put down grubex & patch the lawn where the damage from grubs took its toll. What order shall I do this? Can I fertilize & put down grubex in the same day? How long do I have to wait before patching the lawn?

    • Hi Alex
      Seed first as you want the grass to have a good root system before hot weather. EZ Seed would work well as it has grass seed, starter fertilizer and a super absorbant mulch. You can apply Turf Builder and GrubEx the same day if you want. It would be better however to wait and put down the GrubEx after your new grass has been established, which is not a problem since the ideal time to put down GrubEx is May or June. GrubEx is going to prevent the next round of grubs that will hatch from eggs that will be laid in the soil this summer by adult beetles. Any grubs you see now are not going to do much feeding as they will soon be changing to beetles.

  4. James Crane permalink

    I have some type of odd grass like plant that is invading my lawn. It almost has a succulent quality to it. It also yellows and dies at the tips as it gets long. Pulling it up, there are bulb like structures at the base. How do I repel this invasion.

  5. Laura permalink

    It seems as though the timing of lawn care is key to having a great looking lawn. With that being said, I’m trying to determine when to do everything and I hope you can help me. I purchased Scotts Turf Builder (30-0-3) and fertilized my lawn on April 1. I’ve also purchased Scotts Premium Seed for sun, and the one for sun and shade. My front lawn gets a lot of sun, whereas my backyard is mostly shade. Late last Fall before the first frost, I applied a weed spray to get rid of my Creeping Charlie, which took over a part of my backyard. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t come back this Spring, but I do have a “thinned out” looking lawn as a result. I want to seed my lawn but I don’t know when I should be doing it, or how often I should do it to get a nice thick lawn. I’ve been told that I should fertilize every other month until late Fall, but what about seeding? As well, i’m tempted to apply the weed spray again this Spring to ensure that Creeping Charlie doesn’t come back. When is the best time to do everything? I’m located in Toronto, ON Canada if that makes a difference.

    • Hi Laura
      Thanks for letting me know where you are located. For Toronto, you can really improve and thicken your lawn with 4 feedings a year: Your next feeding would be end of May, followed by Mid to end of August, followed by early October. You can seed now, just hold off on any weed controls until your new grass has been mowed at least 4 times. I suggest you wait until fall to see if you have any weeds, then you can spot treat them at that time. You have already seen how fall is a great time to kill weeds such as Creeping Charlie (Ground Ivy). Good luck with your lawn.

  6. Bill permalink

    I had a problem with crabgrass and dandilions.What can I do and what product should I use?I live in massachusetts

    • Hi Bill
      You should still have time to get Turf Builder plus Halts down to prevent crabgrass in Mass. You might miss some of the earliest germinating crabgrass, however I think I would still put the product down ASAP. I would then spot spray dandelions and other weeds with Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.

  7. Sarah permalink

    I live in a minneapolis suburbs, we had spots of crabgrass and quack grass take over last summer and want to avoid it this summer, so a month ago I put down Scotts Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer in the dead spots in our yard where the crabgrass was last yr. I cut our grass for the first time last week and put down scotts lawn pro 4 step program step one for seeding starter fertilizer all over the lawn. Now what would be the best thing to do next to get grass in our dead spots this summer?

    • Hi Sarah
      The Turf Builder plus Halts that you put down a month ago will prevent your new grass seed from growing. This means the next chance to seed is fall. However, as I indicated in this blog posting, if your areas are small and you can do the steps I suggested to break up the crabgrass prevention barrier, you can get grass seed to grow in those areas. If you do this, be sure to mow your new grass 4 times before you treat it with Step 2. If you want to put down Step 2 before your new grass is that old, be sure to skip those areas when you put down Step 2.

  8. Laura K. permalink

    I live in Northern Indiana & have mole tracks in our yard already! Is it better to apply Grub X first & then Scotts Turf builder with Halts Crabgrgass preventer followed by an application of Scotts Weed & Feed? And how long should I wait between applications?

    • Hi Laura
      Moles eat grubs and earthworms. Not sure what they are eating in your yard. The best timing for GrubEx is a May application to protect against the next round of grubs that will show up at the end of summer. It is good to wait around 6 to 8 weeks between feedings and 1 week between GrubEx and any other product. Now for the moles: trapping is the best way to kill them. Some folks have had success putting the baited worm that you can buy into the run. The key to either trapping or the bait is to find the active track or run. The way you do this is to step on 6 or 8 tracks to flatten them in one place then come back 24 hours later to see which one is raised back up. This is the tunnel (or track or run) that the mole uses on a frequent basis. This is where you want to set the trap or bait. There are also mole repellents that you can put on the lawn (Ortho has one).

  9. Dave D. permalink

    I live in NE Massachusetts and just applied Step 1 w/ halts. I would like to spread some Ironite to my lawn also to help feed and green up lawn. Is it advisable to spread the Ironite right after applying Step1 or wait a couple weeks or not at all? Thanks.

    • Hi Dave D
      Ironite may be more beneficial west of the Mississippi River than in New England, however it will not hurt. I would allow a week between applications.

  10. Hi,
    Due to some unplanned emergencies, we’ve not done anything to our lawn yet this year. The backyard is filled with creeping charlie, both the front and back have weeds and dandilions. Plus we have some bare spots. HELP

    • Hi CC
      You can seed your bare spots with Scotts EZ Seed. You will need to avoid any weed controls in those areas that you plan to seed, so I am not going to recommend a weed & feed. Feed your lawn with Turf Builder or GreenMAX lawn food. You can spray your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer being careful to avoid the areas you are seeding.

  11. Richard Jarrell permalink

    How long should I wait to fertilize after applying Trimec for dandelions ?

  12. Mary Jane permalink

    Can I seed and fertilize with scots 30 0. 3 at the same time?

  13. Mary Jane permalink

    Forgot..we live in Niagara Falls Ont.

    • Hi Mary Jane
      It would be best to feed with Scotts Turf Builder Starter Lawn Food for New Grass when you seed. Thanks for giving me your location.

  14. Nate permalink

    I live in Southern NJ and am planning for the spring so that I don’t make the mistakes i made this year. I want to aerate and seed in early spring (March 1st maybe), but I was overtaken by crabgrass this year so I want to make sure that I put and end to that in the spring. Question = if I thatch aerate and seed the first week of march, can I put down turf builder plus crabgrass preventer the second week of april and in doing so effectively feed the young grass and at the same time prevent grabgass. I am not sure if second week of april is too late for crabgrass prevention. I use a blend of three way rye and tall fescue …. the rye usually sprouts within a week and the fescue within 4 weeks.

    thanks

    • Hi Nate
      In So NJ the second week of April is butting up against the soil temps that allow crabgrass to germinate. Rather than using a traditional crabgrass preventer you could select one that can be used when seeding like Turf Builder Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer. Do any aeration prior to seeding and putting down this weed preventer.

      • Nate permalink

        Awesome … Thank you thank you. Sounds good I will have the seeding and aeration finished by middle march depending on our season break and I will put said fertilizer down when the plugs close but closer to the begining of April rather than second week

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