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Feed, Weed or Seed?

March 28, 2013

What should I do first, put down seed or kill my weeds?  This is the question I get more than any other this time of year.  Here is the way I try to layout the options:

Do you have less than 75% good grass with bare spots larger than a few inches in diameter?

Answer: If lots of larger spots, then seed this spring.  Be sure to use a special Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer that is compatible with grass seed (the regular crabgrass preventers will keep grass seed from growing).  If you do not prevent weeds when you seed, you are likely to be very disappointed as crabgrass and other weeds will germinate and choke out your good grass before it has a chance to take hold.  A machine called a slit-seeder will help make sure the grass seed comes in contact with the soil.  You just select the Turf Builder Grass Seed blend that is right for your conditions, such as sun, shade, heat-tolerant, etc.  If you only have a few bare spots to take care of, consider Scotts EZ Seed.  I think this is the best bare spot repair product we have ever sold!  Spread the Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer after you put down the seed.  Feed your lawn again in one month after seeding with Turf Builder Lawn Food.  Once your new grass has been mowed 4 times, you can kill weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer OR Roundup For Lawns.

Do you have more than 75% good grass however your lawn is thin and weedy without widespread bare spots?

Answer:  You may be surprised how your good grass will fill in with four feedings a year at 6 to 8 week intervals.   Here is a schedule for the year:  Feed your lawn now with Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer.  In 6 to 8 weeks after your first feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed if you have lots of weeds or if you only have a few weeds, your second feeding can be Turf Builder Lawn Food and spot treat your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer.  Put down Scotts GrubEx sometime in May or June.  In 6 to 8 weeks after your second feeding, feed again with Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard to control insects.  In 6 to 8 weeks after your third feeding, in late summer/early fall, feed with Turf Builder Lawn Food.

If you have questions during the year, the Scotts Help Center folks will be happy to help you.

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  1. Richard Niemeyer permalink

    Why can’t this article from Ashton Ritchie, weed, feed or seed be printed? I wanted to follow his instructions, but I can’t if I can’t print the article. Please help.

    • Hi Richard
      Glad you found some info you wanted to print. Sorry there is not a “print” command on this blog. You can still print the info you want by highlighting the info you want, right click with your curser over the highlighted area and the click “save”. “Paste” this saved info in a new Word document and you are ready to print. Sorry for all the steps. Let me know if you have any lawn questions during the year.

  2. Steven permalink

    Just the info I was looking for. One question I have is that generally seeding takes place when the weather is consistently warmer. So if I plan on seeding, should I wait to do this until the weather is warmer?

    • Hi Steven
      You are correct, grass seed germinates slower in cold soil. It is ok to seed in anticipation of your soil warming up. For example, now is a good time to seed where we live near Atlanta. When we lived in Columbus, OH we got great results seeding by April 20.

  3. Steven permalink

    Thanks Ashton.
    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where the temps are in the upper 60s to mid 70s during the day, but still pretty cool (mid 40’s to low 50s) in the evenings. Is there a magic number on the weather report I should be waiting for, or am I there already?

    • Hi Steven You can seed now. We started a new lawn in San Jose in late March one year and one in Ben Lomond (in the Santa Cruz mountains) in early April. Good Luck.

  4. derrick permalink

    If my yard is 95% weeds should I just kill everything then reseed? Or will the method described above produce grass amongst the current weeds and also kill the weeds that are there?

    • Hi Derrick
      Where you are located will influence my answer. Let me know and I will be more specific. There are two primary times of year for seeding: spring and fall. A spring seeding can be more challenging in areas that get hot, dry summers. You can not start the killing everything process until the weeds are actively growing (meaning they need mowing). So for some areas of the country the process of killing everything with one or two sprayings of Roundup followed by a one week waiting period before seeding can stretch the spring seeding too close to hot, dry weather. Fall is a better time to do this major renovation in those areas starting with the lawn kill in mid August. On the other hand, if your lawn has not been fed in years, you may be surprised how much good grass you have, so one thought is to feed a couple of times this spring while preventing and killing weeds, then deciding if seeding is in order in fall. This method could work if your weeds are the easier to control types. The hard to control perennial grass weeds that grow like clumps are harder to control so the kill everything method is usually the best choice. Let me know where you are located and any more specifics about your situation and I will try to give a better answer.

  5. derrick permalink

    I am located in Chesapeake, Virginia

    • Hi Derrick Your options in your area depend on the kind of lawn you have. There are two main lawn types in Chesapeake: Fescue or Bermuda. Many older lawns are mixes of the two. Bermuda likes sunny areas while Fescue can tolerate sun as well as some shade. (It is tough to grow grass in heavy shade.) Bermuda turns brown in winter and Fescue does not like the very hot, dry summers. Your previous question about killing everything and starting over could be an option now if you want a Bermuda (or Zoysia) lawn since these grasses are best seeded in spring as they like the summer weather for growth. You can seed Fescue in the spring, however if you are going to kill everything there is not enough time to get good strong root establishment prior to the hot summer weather. This would be a better job for late summer/early fall. You could seed fescue into your existing lawn in spring however. The fescue blend that we sell that is best suited for your area is our Heat-Tolerant Blue seed mix. We also sell Bermuda and Zoysia seed. Be careful to only use weed controls that are compatible with seeding (check the label for timing.) Your last option if your lawn has not been fed in years is to feed now and in May and prevent and control weeds this spring as I laid out in my blog posting. You could then determine what to do in fall based on how your lawn is at the time. Good Luck.

  6. Brian permalink

    I live in Southern NJ, my backyard has a large patches of weeds all over, can I follow the schedule above in my area, or should I wait to seed until fall?

    • Hi Brian
      The schedule above for 4 feedings a year and weed prevention, control and grub/insect control is perfect for Southern NJ.

  7. Nate permalink

    Great and timely post
    I live in MN and after last year’s drought and warmer temps I had quite a bit of dead spots on the lawn. I tried to water the lawn but not all of it survived. We still have some snow on the ground so the lawn has still not shown signs of spring so I’m not sure how severe the drought and winter kill will be. The lawn was established about 4 years ago from sod and I’m having it dethatched in a few weeks. My question is should I try to seed those areas or go to the fertilizing schedule? When should I do either one? Temps are starting to get to 50’s.

    • Hi Nate
      You can check some of your grass plants in the suspect areas to see if they are alive. Peel back the brown foliage to get a look at the base where new growth comes out. If you see white, or pale green tips starting to show, then your grass is alive and will spread into thin areas when you feed it. So you may find a feeding schedule is all you need. However, if you find dead areas, after dethatching the seed will have a place to grab hold and establish. Some folks like to seed anytime they dethatch. If you decide to seed, based on where you are located, be sure to select a Kentucky Bluegrass blend as this was likely the kind of grass your sod was grown from. And, be sure not to use a regular crabgrass preventer like Turf Builder with Halts, as this will also keep your new grass from growing. You would put down either Starter Lawn Food or the Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer.

  8. Nate permalink

    Thanks. Will do.

  9. Candace permalink

    Hello Nate,

    My husband and I moved into our first home together about 6 months ago in Kansas. We have been focused on doing home improvements on the inside of our home. Now that spring is upon us we want to turn our focus to the outside. We went to a home improvement store in the neighborhood and talked to a lawn and garden person in March. She encouraged us to use Scott’s starter lawn food plus weed preventer first and then apply grass seed. My husband applied that right before our last snow storm. Is it okay that we did it out of the order you suggested? Do you have any other tips to help first time green thumpers? We just want to have a healthy lawn.


    • Hi Candy
      It is ok that you put down the Starter with Lawn Food first and the grass seed second as long as you did both the same day. The snow will not hurt the grass seed or weed preventer. Your next thing to do is keep the area moist so your grass will germinate. Then about the time you are mowing your new grass, feed it again with Scotts Turf Builder.

  10. Mary Lou permalink

    I live in S. Florida and am currently using a professional lawn care co. It is getting expensive. I recently bought the new Snap products, I have very few weeds, I am very skeptical upon cancelling out my service, so hopefully this product will continue my looking so nice. When do I apply Weed and Feed and and when should I apply the weed killer?

    • Hi Mary Lou
      Based on where you live, I assume you have a St. Augustinegrass lawn. Your main approach should be to feed your lawn 4 or 5 times a year at 6 to 8 week intervals. The second thing is you need to do is protect against insects such as chinchbug or sodwebworm damaging your lawn, so you should apply insect control every couple of months late spring thru early fall. If you are spreading a fire ant killer granule on your whole lawn this will also take care of those lawn damaging insects. Some of your feedings can be weed & feed applications if weeds are a problem in your whole lawn, if not you can spot treat them as needed. Just be sure you are using a weed control product that is compatible with St. Augustinegrass. Now to your question: these weed controls and weed & feeds work best when your mid day temps are between 60 and 90 degrees, this means your weeds are actively growing and more easily killed. Since you are skeptical about cancelling your service, my only other input is if your lawn service is feeding and you are feeding, over time this will be too much feeding for your lawn.

  11. I put down Scotts turf builder and crabgrass preventer in late March> Was that to soon for my area. I live in south Jersey

    • Hi Tom
      I think you are good. With last year’s early spring your timing would have been perfect. Being down early is not a bad thing when it comes to crabgrass prevention. Just remember to feed your lawn 4 times this year and mow at 2-1/2 to 3 inches after the cut and you will not only prevent crabgrass, but also have stronger grass to be a strong competitor for any late germinating crabgrass.

  12. Charlie permalink

    We had grubs last summer. Our lawn service guys treated them and seeded in the fall, but we still have lots of bare spots. We want to seed again this spring to fill in these large bare areas. 1) Can we effectively seed this spring? (we live in northern Virginia) 2) Do we need to aerate or will just loosening the soil in the bare spots with a metal rake be enough to prep the ground?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Charlie
      You can seed this spring and you can loosen the soil in those areas so the seed can more easily establish. One caution, if your lawn service puts down a crabgrass preventer in that area, the grass seed will not germinate very well. Scotts has a special crabgrass preventer that will not keep your grass from germinating: Scotts Starter Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer

  13. Justin permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    We are in a new construction home in Maryland. The builder will continue to overseed and fertilize twice a year (spring/fall) for another year but does not do any weed control. There is a lot of crabgrass and weeds, along with bare patches throughout the yard. The soil is also clay-like with lots of rocks and construction debris a few inches underground. How can I supplement the existing seeding/fertilizing schedule to help?

    • Hi Justin
      Spray your weeds this spring with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. In Maryland a heave fall feeding schedule works well. (three in fall, one in spring). This fall feed your lawn 2 additional times. Time your feedings around your builders feeding so your schedule looks something like this: Sept 1, Oct 10, Nov 20.

  14. Anne permalink

    I am curious is the above method will work for our yard. I live in South Central Kansas. We have had record snows this year and lots of moisture this spring, however our summers are usually hot and dry. We have been in a drought for several summers in a row. I would like to do something with our backyard, but don’t know where to start. We have probably 80-90% weeds, mostly dandelions, but also clover and crabgrass. We also have large bare spots. I think our grass type is Fescue, but I am not sure. We have a part sunny part shade yard. I have been told that the soil in our area has a high level of clay. Several neighbors have done the “kill everything” approach and laid sod, but I am looking for different option. What would you recommend?

    • Hi Anne
      Because of your summers, I think you will have a better chance of getting your grass established by seeding in fall. The Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue Grass Seed Mix will work well in your area, especially considering your part Sun/Shade situation. With a fall seeding you will have stronger roots going into the following summer. You can feed what you have now and control weeds, or you can wait until late summer and do a lawn renovation at that time.

  15. Anne permalink

    Thank you! Seeding in the fall sounds like a good idea. What product would you recommend we use this spring if we want to feed and control weeds? What will work best on our dandelion problem?

    • Hi Anne You can feed your lawn now with Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer. Do this ASAP since you are bumping up against the time crabgrass germinates in your area. Sometime in the next few weeks you can spray your lawn with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer to take out the dandelions, clover and many other weeds. Pick a day when rain is not expected for 24 hours. After these two applications you will be a be able to see how much grass you have and make a decision for fall seeding.

  16. Brian permalink

    I am in Taylor, MI and I have several large bare spots in my backyard mainly caused by my dog. Is EZ seed my best option to seed the area or can I seed my entire lawn and get the same results? Also, I know that I can’t apply Turf Builder with Halts until 4 months after if I reseed the entire lawn, but what about if I only use the EZ seed? Just looking at my best option for seeding and also killing weeds. Thanks.

    • Hi Brian
      You can seed your bare spots with the Scotts EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair. One approach is to spread Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer over your entire lawn, except skip the spots that you want to seed. This way you get the weed prevention, yet you do not need to wait to seed.

      • Brian permalink

        One more question. What about for controlling dandelions? Can I also apply Weed and feed the same time I apply the Turf Builder with Halts? Thanks.

      • Hi Brian You are getting a good feeding with your Turf Builder with Halts that you do not need to duplicate with Turf Builder Weed & Feed. You can spot spray any dandelions and other weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. Do not spray the bare spots you are going to seed.

  17. vivian permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    I live in seattle. My lawn has 30-50% crabgrass. What is the best way to handle this situation. Should I apply crabgrass preventer and wait for the good grass taking over? I don’t want to use roundup to kill the large area of lawn. In addition, I searched starter lawn food with weed preventer, no local homedepot/lowes are selling it. Don’t know why. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Vivian
      We see very little crabgrass west of the Cascades. I am wondering if you have some other kind of grassy weed. True crabgrass would be very small seedlings at this time of year if it grew in your area. They can be killed at this young stage with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. If you are looking at big mature grassy weeds, they are not likely crabgrass. The biggest grassy weed problem in the PNW is Annual Bluegrass (Poa Annua). This grass germinates in fall, thrives in cool, wet weather; then dies during the hot dry summer. It produces seeds in spring so the cycle can continue year after year. The Halts crabgrass preventer we sell also prevents this weed when applied in late summer before it germinates. So, to your situation: You could take the grass to your local Extension Office or garden retailer to get an ID. You could contact the Scotts Help Center and ask to email them a picture for identification. Give them a call at 800-543-TURF. If you want to make the best of the lawn you have, feed it 3 or 4 times this year and mow at a higher setting of around 2-1/2 inches after the cut. The Scotts Turf Builder Sun and Shade grass seed blend is a good one for your area. Sorry I could not give you better answers.

  18. vivian permalink

    Thank you, Ashton! For the Seattle area, what products do you suggest in a year? There are so many Scott products. Which product do you recommend for each season? I think I should follow the standard procedure to make my lawn healthy.

    For the weeds on my lawn, I will send e-mail to Scott help. At the same time, to control the weed, may I just use turf build with weed and feed instead of Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass?

    • Hi Vivian The typical feeding schedule for your area would be: March – Turf Builder with Moss Control May – Turf Builder Weed & Feed August – Turf Builder October – Turf Builder WinterGuard

      Hope this helps.

  19. vivian permalink

    Thank you. Your response speed is awesome! Very helpful. I am going to buy these products for my lawn.

  20. Carmen permalink

    Hi Derrick, I’m in So NH and grubs attacked my new lawn last year. My lawn is very patchy, the soil is raised here and there all over the lawn. Now I don’t know how to begin, timing and in what order. We are now in mid-April. Do I treat grubs first, or do I kill weeds first, or do I feed first. I’m totally confused.

    • Hi Carmen
      Any grubs in your lawn now will soon turn into beetles and you do not need to control them (they are very hard to kill at this stage). You should apply GrubEx in mid May to prevent/control the next generation of grubs that will show up in summer. Feed your lawn now with Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer. If you need to seed any spots, do not put this product in those areas. You can seed with Scotts EZ Seed. The Turf Builder will feed your lawn for 6 to 8 weeks. To kill weeds, spray with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. Do not spray any new grass seedlings until they have been mowed 4 times. If you feed your lawn at 8 week intervals for a total of 4 feedings a year, your grass will become much stronger.

      • Thank you ashtonritchie. It is raining today, so should
        I feed my lawn now with Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer and wait a few days to seed?

      • Hi Carmen
        Yes, that will work. Just be sure to skip the spots you are planning to seed. You do not want the crabgrass preventer from preventing your grass seed from growing. If you were planning on seeding your entire lawn, you would use a special weed preventer that we sell that will not keep your grass seed from growing. It is called Starter Lawn Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer. The weed preventer does not last as long as the Turf Builder plus Halts, however it is a better choice if you are seeding your entire lawn rather than a few bare spots.

      • Okay! I need to seed the whole lawn because, having had my new lawn eaten up by the grubs last year, I have more bare spots, than grass. I nearly have to start all over again. Thank you so much for the advice.

      • Hi Carmen Good luck with your lawn renovation project. The Starter Lawn Food with Weed Preventer will be a much better choice than the Turf Builder with Halts since you are planning to seed your entire lawn area.

  21. James permalink

    We just moved to Texas from Seattle and what a lawn care difference! Where do I start. The lawn is Bemuda and Zoysia mix. I have large bare spots under the trees and Dandelions starting throughout the yard. We are under water restrictions to once a week with sprinkler system. It’s April and I want to start a scheduled weed/ Feed and Seed program.

    • Hi James
      Your Bermuda likes the sunny areas. Your Zoysia likes the sunny areas too, however is more shade tolerant. If you are getting at least 3 or 4 hours of filtered sun light in your shaded areas, you can plant some Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed in that area. Do not use any weed controls where you are seeding. The Scotts Starter Lawn Food will help the seed become established. For your existing lawn begin your feeding program in early spring when you are seeing about 50% green coming out of winter dormancy and then feed every 6 to 8 weeks thru September. Scotts Southern Turf Builder or Scotts GreenMAX are good choices in Texas. For crabgrass Prevention, put down Scotts Halts (with no feeding) in February or Early March. For your weeds, spray Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. When you water once a week, try to put down at least an inch of water. Welcome to Texas!

  22. Kristen permalink

    This has been very helpful! Before I spend a bunch of money trying to fix my lawn, I would love some professional advice. I live in Savannah, GA. I don’t think anyone every actually planted grass in my yard, so it is full of weeds. I have tried killing them with Round Up, but they seem to be pretty stubborn. Every time I kill a weed another pops up somewhere else. I suspect there is a good bit of grass in the yard, it’s just hard to see around the weeds. From what I’ve gathered by reading previous posts, it’s probably already too late to plant new grass seed where I live, as it will soon be very hot and humid. However, what can I do to get by until the fall? Should I try a Weed and Feed or a weed preventer of some kind?

    • Hi Kristen
      In your fine city one can find St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede grass lawns. All of these grasses like full sun. Bermuda does not like shade, Centipede can take a little more shade, Zoysia a little more shade still, and St. Augustine can take the most. If you feed your grass with Scotts Southern Turf Builder now and again in a couple of months you will see a big improvement as what grass you have will fill in thin areas. With all of these lawn types, you can spray your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon for Southern Lawns. It is too late to prevent crabgrass for this year in your area. If you kill your weeds with Weed B Gon, check the label to see when you will be able to plant grass seed. Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede can be seeded. St. Augustine would have to be sprigged or sodded. Hope I have not confused you too much with all this info.

  23. Ashton, all these posts and replays have been great so I will try not to ask the same thing that has been posted previously.

    I live in Louisville, KY and we have a decent front yard with most just dandelions, and a very weedy backyard with clover, some weeds that have a firm stemmy feel in addition to dandelions.

    I would like to seed our entire yard to start and then go after the weeds and dandelions. I think we probably have a fescue bluegrass mix, it has not been feed or anything done in a couple years. Given the time of year for our area, what would you recommend? It may be too late for crabgrass and grubs, so should I just feed first? I need a year plan. Here is my thinking and you can correct or supplement, that would be great.

    Now: seed entire lawn with a bluegrass fescue mix or Scott’s ez seed
    Now: Scott’s starter lawn food for new grass plus weed preventer.

    Mid may:
    Apply grub ex treatment
    Apply second application of Scott’s starter lawn food for new grass plus weed preventer

    Apply Scott’s turf builder lawn food

    Apply Scott’s turf builder lawn food or Scott’s turf builder with halts?

    Sept 2013-March 2014??? Lol

    Thanks again for the great info!

    • Hi Larry
      I am going to suggest a different schedule because of where you are located and since you said your front yard is decent. Seeding now in Louisville to improve your lawn can be a crap shoot based on the kind of summer you folks can get. In an ideal situation you would like your grass seed to get lots of root growth before a hot, dry summer. So, I am going to suggest feeding your existing grass to make it better while going after the weeds, then seeding in fall when your grass has more of an opportunity to establish.
      Apply Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer now. I know you are a little late for crabgrass prevention, however I think you can still prevent quite a bit that has yet to germinate. Spray your weeds with Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer sometime during May. You can feed in summer with Turf Builder with SummerGuard Insect Control. Then in Late August/Early September put down grass seed if needed or go with EZ Seed in bare spots and plan to feed at least twice to build up your lawn. Let me know if you have more questions.

  24. Thank you for the fast response. That’s great. Is there a danger to having huge bare spots after I kill off the weeds?

    • Hi Larry Let me know how your lawn looks after the weed kill and your grass is responding to the feeding and we will go from there.

      • Justine permalink

        I live in Northern Nevada and our lawn is about 11 years old. I have some crabgrass patches, which are my main concern other than keeping it green and strong. We just turned on the auto sprinklers yesterday as the weather now permits. But I want to make my lawn prettier than last year (mostly green with some small dry brown spots and crabgrass patches with dandilines here and there.) I used weed and feed twice last year, which didnt help the brown spots or crabgrass but did get rid of the dandilines. It is still just the very beginning of our spring season here and I just purchased some Scott’s EZseed and plan on pulling up the crabgrass before it really starts to grow. Is it ok to pull the crabgrass patches and small weeds up and then lay some weed and feed, wait a week and do the EZseed? I am not much of a gardener, but I really want it to be nicer this year. Thanks!

      • Hi Justine
        Crabgrass would only be very small seedlings at this point in your area. Pulling them up before you seed with EZ Seed is ok. Do not put any weed and feed in those spots as you do not want to hurt your new grass seed. You can put down the Turf Builder Weed & Feed in the areas you do not seed, OR if you just have a few weeds, you can feed with Turf Builder and spray your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. This product will kill young crabgrass. Just be sure to read the directions about newly seeded areas as you do not want to injure your young grass by spraying those areas before seeding or too soon after seeding. It will not hurt your mature grass.

  25. Nate permalink


    I have a couple of questions about my lawn. My wife finally got tired of the bare spots and gave me funding to fix the lawn. I applied the Scotts Fertilizer with Crabgrass preventer on April 4, and I sprayed the weeds with Ortho Weed b Gone Max about two weeks ago. I just planted seed in some bare spots 3 days ago.

    I live in Central IL by the way. Most of the weeds are dying, but my front yard is still kind of thin, especially since the weeds are going away. Should I wait for the next feeding, or try seeding the whole front yard to thicken it up? Will it automatically just fill in the spots where the weeds were, or how does that work?

    Also, the back yard has small sections of brown underneath the green. it sort of looks like when the grass is drying out. I’m not sure what could be causing it as the back always gets a lot more moisture. (Sump pump) Any ideas?


    • Hi Nate
      I am sorry to say that you will likely not get much grass seed germination in the areas where you put down the crabgrass preventer (directions say not to seed for 4 months after applying) and the Weed B Gon (directions say not to seed for 1 month after applying). We do sell a Starter Lawn Food plus Weed Preventer that is compatible with grass seed, so if you used that particular product there may not be as much conflict with seeding your bare spots. The good news is based on where you live you likely have some Ky Bluegrass in your lawn. This grass will spread into thin areas as you feed it. Regarding your back yard, the kind of browning you are describing could be a lawn fungus, in which case you would see some brown spots on the yellow/brown grass blades especially as they go from green to yellow. Lawn fungus can thrive in moist locations. Do you have shade in those areas? Sometimes grass starts to thin as shade increases. Another thought is there are a wide range of grass species in lawns and some of these, like bentgrass, can have brown growth under the green growth. I do not have a way of looking at pictures to help you further, however if you contact the Scotts Help Center and ask them if you can send photos, they may be able to help you more.

  26. Felix permalink

    Hello, wounder if you can help my lawn, I live in Chicago and recently bought a house and now that the grass is growing I can see its bout 85-95%dandilion so I got some ortho weed be gone bout a month to 5 weeks ago and really didn’t do anything to them so last week I bought some weed and feed that attches to the house and use that to help with the weeds was this a good idea? My grass looks thin and I also want to make it look more full and green what else can I do to kill the weeds and make my grass look fuller and greener?

    • Hi Felix
      After spraying the weed and feed you should see the dandelions fade away in several weeks. If you could spread some Turf Builder Lawn Food on your lawn, you would see some improvement in your grass. (The granular Turf Builder Lawn Food provides more feeding than you get with the weed and feed that you spray.) By Late Aug/Early Sept you could decide if you need to put some grass seed down as the waiting period after putting on weed controls would be past.

  27. Hi Ashton,
    Well it is early June and I am about to drop grub x.down this week. Earlier you said that I should use Scott’s turf builder with summer guard. My back yard is still full of broadleaf weeds. Should I go with a weed and feed now, grub x a week later, then turf builder with summer guard 6 weeks out? Then I would want to powerseed 6-8 weeks (early sept)? Then it’s two feelings in the fall. Any thoughts or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I’m in Louisviile Ky. Bluegrass mostly. Thanks.

    • Hi Larry Rather than trying to get that extra feeding down this summer when it is generally a good idea not to push cool season grasses in your area with too many summer feedings, I suggest you do the GrubEx and the SummerGuard a week apart, however instead of a Weed & Feed, spray your weeds with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. Your fall plan sounds fine, however feel free to check back with me at that time based on how your lawn is looking. Good Luck with your lawn.

  28. vivian permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    I lived in Seattle. I applied Scott lawn food and fertilizer in Apr. My lawn grows well after the fertlizing. But recently, it has a lot of yellow spots. I thought it needs fertilizing so I used Scott lawn food again. But they are still yellow. I can see new grass growing on top of the yellow. But it is very slow. I wonder if the yellow grass is some type of weeds or grass which is not same as the green one. What should I do next? Thanks very much for your response.

    • Hi Vivian One of the biggest weed problems in your area is a grass called Poa Annua (Annual Bluegrass). This grass germinates in fall is green all winter and spring, then when hot weather shows up it begins to die, but not before it produces new seed and turns yellow to run the cycle again next year. The green grass you may see is the surrounding good grass responding to your feeding. If the spots are not really large, you could seed those areas now with Scotts EZ Seed, your grass will be established by fall, then you can put Scotts Halts down just prior to Labor Day to prevent new Poa Annua plants from germinating this fall. Of course, there may be other things going on in your lawn that I can not figure out from a description. You may want to take a section of your lawn to your local Garden Center to see if they can help. Sorry I could not be more help.

  29. Brenda permalink

    I live in Baton Rouge Louisiana. I just moved into my hour back in December 2012. The highs now are from the upper 80s to mid 90s. I put down some sod about 1 1/2 months ago but I have lots of weeds in my centipede sod. Is it too late to put down weed and feed or should I put down some seed in the areas that I did not put sod down. These areas are close to the road and in the back part of the back yard.

    • Hi Brenda
      Centipede should only be fed twice a year. A Weed & Feed would be ok in the 80’s however, I would avoid putting it down if you are in the 90’s. Ortho Weed B Gon for Southern lawns could be used on the weeds. You can still seed Centipede grass seed this time of year, however it can be a challenge to keep it watered until germination if the area is large. Do not put any weed controls in the area that you are seeding.

  30. Hi Ashton, can I send you some pics of my yard to help me identify the grass types? Where do I send those to? Do I need to wait 4 or 6 weeks after ortho weed max application to begin power seeding? Thx

  31. Darryl permalink

    Hi Larry, I live in Illinois and I have Kentucky bluegrass. Back in March I dropped scotts weed and feed along with a grub preventer. How soon can I seed and when should I apply a grub preventer for the second time? Grubs caused several bare spots in yard.

    • Hi Darryl
      If you put down weed and feed, you can seed 1 month later. If you put down lawn food and crabgrass preventer, you would need to wait 3 or 4 months to seed. If you have just a few bare spots, you could break up the crabgrass preventer by raking and mixing in some Scotts Lawn Soil and then seeding those areas. The best timing for GrubEx is May.

  32. Darryl permalink

    I live in Chicago and I have Kentucky Bluegrass. I just seeded the bare spot on April 27 from a grub problem. Is there anything I can do to thicken up my grass?

  33. Hi Darryl
    Feed your lawn with Turf Builder. This will help your existing grass spread to create new grass plants.

  34. Darryl permalink

    Hey Larry, this is Darryl. Can I plant grass seeds on top of the Turf Builder?

  35. Hi Darryl
    You can put down Grass Seed after putting down Turf Builder. Turf Builder New Lawn Starter Lawn Food is our best option to go with grass seed, however if you have fed within the last month, you can go with grass seed alone. I noticed that you put down Weed & Feed earlier this year. You need to wait a month after Weed & Feed before putting down grass seed. You need to wait 4 months after putting down Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer before putting down grass seed.

  36. Hector permalink

    Hi ashtonritchieve. I live in Stratford ct I have no grass I filled my back yard with new dirt last year and next week i’m going to even out my yard with some more dirt just to level my yard. How should I start my new grass seeding and should I put down compost before seeding and what seeds should I use

    • Hi Hector
      Plan on seeding as soon as possible as you want to get your new grass plants established before any hot/dry weather this summer. You do not need to add compost. Scotts Turf Builder Sun and Shade grass seed blend or Scotts Heat-Tolerant Blue grass seed blend will work well in your area. Since your new soil may contain weed seeds, I suggest you also spread the same day you seed Scotts Starter Lawn Food for New Grass plus Weed Preventer. This will help retard/prevent new weeds from starting and choking out the good grass as it is germinating. Good Luck with your lawn.

  37. Jamesh permalink


    I recently hydroseeded my lawn in Utah(about 30 mins south of SLC). It has now been about a month and we have some good grass coming in. My problem is where the grass is greenest we also have a lot of weeks (with leaves) and the grass still is very thin. Should I get a fertilizer and weed killer on it or should I let it grow for another few weeks. It still seems way to short to cut it (I think the weeks would be the only things to get cut). What direction should I take? Also I have some bare spots as well. When should I over seed/reseed those areas? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jamesh
      Suggest you feed your new grass Scotts Turf Builder Starter Lawn Food for New Grass now and not worry too much about the weeds until later. Keep your lawn mowed as soon as it is tall enough to cut (even though you will be cutting mostly weeds at first). Set your mowing height to get around 2 inches after the cut. You will be surprised at how much your new grass will fill in thin areas with this feeding. Once your new grass has been mowed 4 times this is a sign that it is old enough to tolerate a weed control. As your grass fills in with this feeding you will be able to tell if you need more seed. If you seed, try to match the kinds of grasses that were in the seed blend that you hydroseeded. You may just wait till early fall to put down more seed as you are getting into the hotter, drier time of year.

  38. g2-8b1b85f8714a1d79bc6d24a9fdfc0a19 permalink

    Great info, can’t wait to try this in the spring. I live in Indiana on 5 acres of probably 99% weeds, some pretty big bare spots too. We’ve been here since last fall. So far I’ve concentrated on planting trees and plants, but I’d like to try to repair the lawn. The part I care about mostly is around the house which is shady and as lots of crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. I was thinking I’d spray a weed killer now and in the spring follow the instructions here. Should I use a weed and grass killer or just a weed killer? I have some baby trees scattered throughout the lawn so I don’t want to hurt them. Thanks so much for your time 🙂

  39. Pat permalink

    I live in Omaha, Nebraska and we have 60-70% weeds in our lawn, didn’t do much with it this year. How should we proceed to get rid of the weeds and reseed? We also have moles digging in the soil, our soil is sandy.

    • Hi Pat
      Since most weed controls list a waiting period before or after putting down grass seed, your options are:
      1) Kill off your lawn and do a total new planting. You can seed 1 week after killing your lawn and weeds with Roundup. Two considerations: This is a big job and you would need to get going right away to have time. Here is a blog posting I recently did on this subject:
      2) Feed your lawn this fall with Turf Builder Weed & Feed followed in 6 weeks with Turf Builder WinterGuard. You will be surprised at how much good grass you have with this feeding. Some of the grass species that grow in your area spread when you feed them. You will see them spread into the thin areas left by the weeds by underground roots. You can then plant seed next spring in areas that need it.
      3) Seed into your existing lawn now and wait to take care of your weeds next spring. You would use Turf Builder Starter Grass Food with your seed and follow up in 6 weeks with Turf Builder WinterGuard.
      Hope this helps.

  40. Ahyee permalink

    Hi Ashton,
    We live in Oak Lawn IL. Our front lawn has dry patches and Dandelions and the back yard although full, has some sort of purple weed growing randomly. We put down Grub Ex a few days ago and currently have a bag od Weed & Feed. We would also like to over seed.
    Please advise


    • Hi Ahyee
      Thanks for telling me where you live. You will not be able to seed and kill weeds. If you are seeding a few bare spots with Scotts EZ Seed, you will need to avoid those areas when you put down your Turf Builder Weed & Feed. Apply the Weed & Feed to moist foliage and it will take care of the dandelions and what I am guessing is Henbit (purple flowers).

      • Ahyee permalink

        Hello Again Ashton,

        When should we seed after applying the Weed & Feed ??
        Will the Weed & Feed also take care of Crab Grass?


  41. Andrea permalink

    hiw long after the weed and feed can I put the lawn food, and then when do I put grass seed down..

    • Hi Andrea
      Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed feeds for 6 to 8 weeks. You will not need another feeding of lawn food until that feeding is complete. If you want to push your grass along faster, you can feed in a month. A month is also how long you need to wait before seeding. If you live in an area where summers are hot and dry, you may want to wait to seed in early fall.

  42. Hi Ahyee
    The Weed & Feed will not take care of crabgrass. Instead of Turf Builder Weed & Feed, you can spray your weeds (including crabgrass) with Ortho Weed B Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer and then feed your lawn Turf Builder without the weed control. You will kill all the same weeds with the spray plus you will get the crabgrass. You will need to wait a month before you seed after using either weed control product. If you decide to seed bare spots with EZ Seed, just skip those areas with the weed control.

  43. Raj permalink

    Hi Ashton,I live in Oakville, Ontario and have weeds all over my lawn. Can I use the lawn fertilizer followed by Weed B Gon and then decide in the fall if I need to seed?

    • Hi Raj
      Yes you can follow the Scotts Lawn Food with a spray of Ortho Killex (this is the Canadian product name). Early fall will be a good time to seed if you need to.

  44. Patti permalink

    In Md. I put over seeded 16 days ago and also am covering bare spots. I also put down the lawn food with crabgrass preventer for new seeds. Grass is starting to germinarte. However, BRIGHT green clover shaped weeds with little flowers are popping up as well. I have pulled some out. What is my next step. Help!

    • Hi Patti
      Sounds like you did all the right steps. It is very common for weed seeds to germinate in soil that has been prepared for seeding new grass seed. The good news is that your weed prevention application is keeping some of the more troublesome weeds from competing with your new grass. At this point you can only mow when your new growth warrants and then once you have mowed your new grass 4 times you can treat the weeds with Turf Builder Weed and Feed or Ortho Weed B Gon MAX.

  45. Darryl permalink

    Can I put down Turf Builder Weed and Feed after seeding my grass and if so how long should I wait?

  46. Kenton permalink

    I am in Dallas, TX and we have bermuda grass in our backyard. One area of our backyard has good amount of grass coverage with just a small patches where grass coverage is light. However, this area does have several patches of crabgrass growing rapidly. The other half of our backyard has almost no crabgrass but has extremely thin grass coverage. Almost more soil is exposed than grass. We also have problems with dandelions, clovers and broadleafs. Neither, Lowes or Home Depot carries the Scotts starter lawn food plus weed preventer (is this maybe being discontinued?). My question is, should I start with a weed & feed or weed-b-gon, wait the 4 weeks then overseed, or should I overseed, then treat the weeds when the time is right?

    • Hi Kenton
      In your area Bermuda thrives when growing in sunny or mostly sunny areas, however it has a hard time tolerating mostly shady conditions. Shady lawns in Dallas tend to have more St. Augustine grass or in some cases Zoysia. The Starter Weed Preventer product is more commonly used when planting seed for northern grasses like fescue, bluegrass and ryegrass so it is not commonly sold in Dallas. If my description of problems growing Bermuda in shady areas is not your situation and you have full sun, then you can generally thicken up the Bermuda just by feeding it regularly without adding more seed. So now to answer your question about weed control and seeding: If you spray Weed B Gon MAX or Roundup For Lawns now you can seed in a month, however if you seed now with Bermuda or Zoysia or sod with St. Augustine, you will need to wait until you have mowed your new grass 4 times before spraying your weeds. The weed first, seed later will be a faster option than seed first and weed later. Good luck with your lawn.

  47. Valerie Ledgerwood permalink

    I used halts crabgrass preventer not realizing I can’t seed. I have one area especially that is all weeds can I dig it up add dirt then seed. It did have the halts on that area but if I put enough soil on top could I seed or place sod?

    • Hi Valerie Ledgerwood
      The Halts or Turf Builder with Halts directions state that you should not plant grass seed for 4 months after application. This would mean you will need to wait until the end of August to seed. You may be able to get around this with the plans you outlined. I have seen folks break the crabgrass germination barrier in those kind of 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. This may not be practical if you want to seed a large area. Good luck and let me know how this works out.

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