Q: In your series of newspaper articles about weed control, I didn’t see anything about weed and feed products. Why not?
A: Despite the assurance on their labels that weed and feed products are an improvement in lawn maintenance, I have my doubts. Those that combine a weed preventer with fertilizer recommend an application earlier than I think is prudent for warm-season lawns. Those that combine a broadleaf weed killer with fertilizer may recommend an application that is later than I think wise for fescue turf. Products that offer a “calendar schedule” of application may result in over-application of fertilizer and weed killers. In all cases, the implication that “one product fits all situations” grates on my knowledge that lawn conditions are highly variable.
I am a proponent of using pesticides only when a correctly identified pest is present in numbers that can not be controlled by environmental manipulation. As I mentioned last week, proper mowing, watering and fertilizing can combat weeds without using synthetic herbicides. I have no problem with applying directed sprays onto occasional weed spots. I have no problem using non-selective weed killers such as Roundup(tm), Finale(tm), etc. to wipe out weeds in an area. I simply think that we expect too much (and are promised too much) from weed and feed products. I recommend using fertilizers and weed control products separately.