Unless you are prone to read all the fine print on packaging you may not be aware of the damage some weed and feed products are doing to your trees, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Two herbicides in particular can be very damaging to those types of plants.
Weed and Feed
Weed and Feed is a simple concept that works on your lawn by combining a fertilizer with a herbicide. Depending on where you live and what time of the year you apply the product it will either have a pre-emergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide. Post-emergent herbicide formulas tend to be the most common and are designed to be applied when weeds are visible in the yard.
Protecting Ornamental Grasses
If you have ornamental grasses, select a weed and feed product that does not contain dicamba. Dicamba can injure or kill the plant if the chemical is absorb through the root system or if drift occurs and the plant comes in contact with the chemical.
The herbicide triclopyr is used on cool-season lawns — and is designed to kill or suppress certain warm-season grasses — but it can also damage trees and shrubs. If applying on a lawn with trees or shrubs keep the chemical far enough away that it cannot be absorbed through the root systems. Both Dicamba and triclopyr are post-emergent herbicides used to control broad leaf weeds.
If you need a less toxic method of controlling weeds in your lawn, there are several approaches you can take. Start by fertilizing your lawn twice a year, in spring and fall, and mowing your lawn as tall as possible. This allows the grass to out compete any weeds. You can also spot treat any weeds in your lawn with herbicide, boiling water, or by hand pulling them.