Gardening Blogs

Weed and Feed: Before or After Mowing

The ideal time to apply ‘weed and feed’ is after mowing when the grass is short enough to allow direct contact with the soil. However, mowing after weed and feed is possible too. Whatever you do, avoid mowing wet grass, follow product instructions, and consider the type of weed control, the type of grass, and your lawn’s unique conditions.

Lawn Weeds

Weeds are plants that are considered undesirable in a particular situation. They compete with the grass for nutrients, water, sunlight, and space. For a healthy lawn, it’s critical to control the growth of these invaders.

Weeding and Feeding

To most effectively get rid of weeds and ensure optimal grass growth, most garden experts use a product named ‘Weed and Feed.’ This product combines weed killers (herbicides) with lawn fertilizer. It’s a convenient method to simultaneously nourish your lawn and eradicate weeds. In short, ‘Weed and Feed’ is nothing else than a product that kills weeds while fertilizing the lawn.

A broadleaf weed control uses two methods of controlling weeds: pre-emergent and post-emergent control. A pre emergent weed killer targets weed seeds before they germinate and grow, while post-emergent control focuses on weeds that have already surfaced. These two methods dictate the types of herbicides used and their timing.

Next to weeding is feeding, another integral part of lawn care. Feeding refers to applying lawn fertilizer to your lawn to provide it with necessary nutrients that it might not be getting from the soil. The main nutrients in most fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, often referred to as N-P-K. These elements contribute to the healthy growth, color, and resilience of the grass.

Timing is Everything

The timing of applying weed and feed is crucial. You should align it with the life cycle of weeds for the weed killer to have maximum impact. It should also coincide with when your grass can best absorb and utilize the nutrients provided.

The Impact of Mowing

Mowing is another significant factor that influences the timing of weed and feed application. Regular mowing not only keeps your lawn looking neat but it also encourages the grass to become denser, making it harder for weeds to establish. Mowing also impacts how well your lawn can absorb the weed and feed treatments.

The Weed and Feed Debate

Whether you apply weed and feed before or after lawn mowing is dependent on various factors, such as the type of weed control, the kind of weeds present in your lawn, and the specific weed and feed products being used.

Before Mowing

Applying weed and feed before mowing has several benefits. Mowing can stress the grass, so applying the treatment beforehand gives the lawn time to absorb the nutrients and prepare for the stress of mowing. Additionally, longer grass blades have more surface area to absorb the herbicide.


However, there are downsides to applying weed and feed before mowing. Mowing soon after application can remove the herbicide from the weed leaves before it has had a chance to be fully absorbed. This reduces the efficacy of the weed killer.

After Mowing

On the other hand, applying weed and feed after mowing has its advantages. Once the lawn has been mowed, there is less foliage. This means the weed and feed have a direct pathway to the soil, allowing the grass roots to absorb the nutrients more efficiently.


The disadvantage of applying after mowing is that the weed leaves, which absorb the herbicide, have been cut off. The weeds could potentially recover and continue to grow, reducing the effectiveness of the weed control.

Product Instructions

Always remember that the product’s instructions are your best guide. Manufacturers provide clear instructions on when to apply the weed and feed in relation to mowing. Some products are more effective when the weeds have more leaf surface area, while others work best when applied to freshly mowed lawns.

Every Lawn Is Unique

The type of grass, the soil conditions, the climate, the types of weeds present, and the overall health of your lawn all influence the best timing for mowing, weeding, and feeding.

Type of Grass

Different grass types have different nutrient needs and growth cycles. Cool-season grasses, like fescue or ryegrass, have different optimal feeding times compared to warm-season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia. The type of grass can impact the timing and effectiveness of weed and feed application.

Climate and Season

The climate and season are crucial factors to consider. The timing of weed and feed applications should ideally be in the spring or fall for cool-season grasses and late spring through summer for warm-season grasses. Temperature and rainfall can affect how quickly weeds grow and when they germinate, influencing the timing of your lawn care routine.

Keep in Mind

The optimal weeding and feeding is a delicate balance influenced by the type of weed control, the nature of your lawn, the specific weed control treatments, and the timing that aligns with the weed lifecycle and grass nutrient absorption.

A beautiful lawn is the result of careful planning and timing. The joy of gazing out onto a lush, green expanse, free from pesky weeds, is well worth the effort. It’s a labor of love that involves understanding the intricate dance between mowing, weeding, and feeding. So, to all the gardeners out there, armed with your mowers and your weed and feed, happy gardening!

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