A single product that at one application fertilizes your lawn and controls weeds helps you save time and energy when growing and maintaining a beautiful lawn. We reviewed eight varieties of these weed and feed products based on their ease of use, spreadability on your lawn, and their overall value.
Our top pick, Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed, stood out from the rest for its ability to extinguish the most notorious weeds, such as dandelions and clover, and its ease in fertilizing at the same time.
Here are our top picks for the best weed and feed products for a beautiful lawn.
Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed
Gets rid of hard-to-kill weeds such as dandelions and clover
Good nitrogen source
Covers the size of a basketball court
Works best with Scotts brand spreaders
Not for use on warm-season grasses
Scotts is one of the oldest names in the green industry, developing dozens of innovative products each year. The Turf Builder Plus is a fan favorite due to its effective control of weeds that reseed easily such as dandelion and clover. It includes a healthy dose of nitrogen, expressed in its ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K ratio), keeping grass green and growing late into the season.
Like most weed and feeds, you apply Turf Builder Plus when rain is not in the forecast, to ensure it doesn't wash away (but it is recommended to apply to a wet lawn). Application is a breeze: Simply follow the illustrated, easy-to-read directions on the bag, add to your spreader, and fertilize away. While Turf Builder works on an impressive number of grass types, it isn't recommended for several warm-season southern grasses such as the ever-popular St. Augustine.
GreenView Weed & Feed
Vast broadleaf weed control
Not commonly found in garden centers
Slower acting than others
Greenleaf might be light on price but it goes heavy on weeds! Boasting control of over 250 broadleaf species, a 13-pound bag should be enough to cover a yard the size of a basketball court. The heavy nitrogen allows for quick green-up without the risk of burning your lawn. The zero-phosphate formula helps prevent runoff into nearby waterways, ensuring you don't contribute to algal blooms.
The slow-release formula feeds the soil and aids in water retention to help protect from heat and drought during the summer months. Recommended for most grass types, this weed and feed only needs to be used twice a year to guarantee results.
Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed
Extended feeding time
Kills over 250 weed varieties
5% iron helps keep grass green
Not for St. Augustine Grass
Pennington features high-quality products and are a staple brand for golf courses and sports stadiums. The UltraGreen weed and feed claims to kill over 250 broadleaf weeds, including dollar weed, clover, and henbit. Both a quick and slow-release formula; it allows grass to green up quickly while slowing releasing nutrients over 3 months.
As with several other brands reviewed, you can use UltraGreen on just about any grass type, northern or southern, with the exception of St. Augustine. Distinctive to the formula, Pennington always offers of a shot of iron, a staple ingredient in constructing green grass. The resealable bag makes it easy to store leftovers, and the coverage size of 5,000 square feet (about the size of a basketball court) makes it useful for just about all lawn sizes.
Espoma Organic Weed Preventer
Abundant nitrogen for green-up
Easy to use, with clear directions
Works on all grass types
Doesn't kill existing weeds
Espoma is the oldest organic company in the green industry. This product contains corn gluten meal, a natural source of nitrogen, aiding quick green-up, and which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found to lack adverse effects on humans and animals. Application is easy with a spreader, and a 25-pound bag covers up to 1,250 square feet, a fourth of the size of a basketball court.
Applied twice a year, this weed and feed is a preventative, to stop weeds before they emerge. (If you are trying to kill weeds that are already present, this is not the weed and feed for you.) The corn gluten that prevents feeds also feeds the grass, giving it a rich green color and strong roots.
Scotts Liquid Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control Fertilizer
Easy and fun to apply
Goes to work quickly
Large coverage area
Cannot use on St. Augustine Grass
Requires a hose to apply
Scotts Turf Builder comes in a handy liquid form. Great for those with small spaces, you can easily fertilize and control weeds with a single spray. The bottle features a hose attachment, which allows you to cover about a basketball-court-size area from 4,000 square feet (cool-season grasses) to 6,000 square feet (warm-season lawns). It's fun, too!
Controlling post-emergent weeds including ivy, knotweed, clover, and dandelions, you can use this multiple times a year with just about every grass type. (Once again, owners of St. Augustine Lawns are out of luck.) The spray allows for easy uptake of needed nutrition and serves as a healthy vitamin boost for your grass.
Best for St. Augustine Grass
Fertilome St. Augustine Weed & Feed
Safe for St Augustine and other warm-season grasses
Easy to use
Offers preventative and post-emergent control
Only covers 2,500 square feet
Not usable on Bermuda grass
Southern homeowners love St. Augustine grass for its hearty ability to stand up to intense heat and high traffic. However, many major weed and feed brands explicitly instruct not to use their products on the Southern classic. Florida brand Fertilome offers a St. Augustine-exclusive blend that serves as both a preventative and post-emergent weed-destroying superhero. In fact, the manufacturer specifies to use this product only on St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, and carpet grass lawns.
You need to apply this product only once, in early spring, and the slow-release formula continues to feed the rest of the season. This product only covers up to 2,500 square feet (half a basketball court), half the coverage offered by the other brands tested.
Best Weed Preventive
Preen One LawnCare Weed & Feed
Easy to Use
Kills up to 250 types of weeds
Covers 5,000 square feet
Not for use on St. Augustine grass
For a post-emergent weed world, Preen One is our top choice for banishing them quickly. It also works as a pre-emergent, making sure developing seeds from existing weeds do not make their appearance again next season. Controlling over 250 weeds, including clover and dandelions, it also feeds your lawn for up to 2 months. The manufacturer also claims the product kills other common lawn weeds, including dandelions, chickweed, thistle and clover, and prevents crabgrass and its cousins from coming back.
As a feeder, the product contains slow-release nitrogen for steady nutrition. Homeowners living near waterways can feel confident of using this zero-phosphate formula without worrying about runoff. While this product is not to be used on Southern grasses, such as St. Augustine and colonial bentgrass, it can be used for other, common warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysiagrass, You can purchase Preen One in three sizes: 9-, 18-, and 36-pound bags, which can cover areas from half a basketball court to just under an Olympic swimming pool.
Best for Cool Season
GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed with Crabgrass Preventer
Kills over 200 types of weeds
Has both quick and slow release nutrients
Covers 15,000 square feet
Should not be used on new lawns
Crabgrass is the bane of many homeowners because it disrupts a lawn's smooth texture. Most prevalent in cooler-season grasses, it can be near impossible to get rid of once it settles in. This product's slow-and-quick- release formula knocks out crabgrass, as well as 200 other weeds; the manufacturer claims its proprietary formula kills dandelions and seedling crabgrass at the same time. As a feeder, its nutrients slowly release over a 3-month period, providing lasting nutrition for established lawns.
The spring lawn-care product is a pre-emergent, meaning it is designed to prevent crabgrass and other undesirables from growing. However, it is not meant for use on freshly planted lawns, as it is likely to burn new growth. Also, this product is not available for sale in Alaska, Hawaii, and California. And, it was hard to track down due to issues with shipping it to certain states, so bear that in mind as you plan your search.
Scotts Turf Builder is our pick for Best Overall Weed and Feed. Not only does it suppress 250 species, but it is also easy to use, and works on just about every grass type. For a product that busts weeds but not your budget, we recommend GreenView Weed & Feed for its heavy nitrogen content, allowing for quick green-up.
What to Look for in a Weed and Feed
Before buying any fertilizer product, keep in mind these important considerations to make sure you buy the best to suit your grass type, climate, and timeline.
All fertilizers, including those with added herbicide, rely on the three big nutrient needs to keep grass in weed fighting shape. Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are generally listed front and center on any fertilizer bag you pick up, with the percentages of package weight listed clearly. Understanding what each one does helps you make the best choice when selecting a week and feed to help keep your plants healthy while enlisting a weed suppressant for assistance.
- Nitrogen, listed first, is the most important for overall growth. It promotes healthy leaf development and is responsible for the bright green we love to see in lawns. A shot of nitrogen helps take away the stress endured from competing with weed species.
- Phosphorous, the second listed number, is responsible for developing healthy roots. Most lawns tend to be deficient in phosphorus, and grass is not a notorious heavy phosphorous feeder. Fertilizers containing phosphorus are not permitted for lawns near waterways or in a county with a fertilizer ban during the rainy season. Phosphorus deficiency shows up as reduced vigorous or slowed growth ; a quick soil test can let you know if your lawn is phosphorus deficient.
- Potassium, also known as potash, helps roots dive deeper into the soil, allowing grass to increasingly resist stressors such as heat, drought, and weeds. While nitrogen allows for quick growth, it is necessary to encourage those roots to stretch out and not become reliant on a quick fix from a heavy nitrogen source. It also gives weeds less space to take over.
Fertilizers and weed and feeds are sold in slow-release and quick-release formats. Liquid weed and feeds are always quick-release, meaning they are water-soluble; plants can take them in a short time, generally within a month. Non-soluble slow-release weed and feeds are sold in a granular, polymer-coated format. As the product breaks down, it slowly releases nutrients, which the plant can take up as needed. This also allows for fewer applications, as slow-release products can take 3 months to fully break down. This also helps prevent the likelihood of burning plants through too much nitrogen fed too quickly. Many weed and feed products mix both slow and quick release, working quickly on weed suppression while slowly feeding the plant. This helps increase the overall rigor, which decreases the likelihood of opportunistic weeds from elbowing in.
The United States is divided into many gardening zones, based on climate. Grass suited to North Dakota likely cannot handle the intense heat of Florida summers. To keep it simple, grass is defined as cool-season Northern (like Kentucky bluegrass) or Southern (like St. Augustine). Identifying turf grass can be challenging but it is essential for making sure you select an. appropriate weed and feed. If not, the herbicide component may kill turf grass. Manufacturers must list the types of grass best suited to each product, so be sure to consult first before you use.
If you believe your lawn comprises multiple types of turf grass, always err on the side of caution and select based on cool- or warm-season grasses.
How does a weed and feed work?
The basic premise of a weed and feed is to include a herbicide and nutrition in one shot. When lawns are healthy, weeds have less opportunity to outperform your grass. Generally, the herbicide is 2, 4-D or Dicamba, which are in amounts designed to target weeds but not the surrounding grass.
Pre-emergent weed and feeds concentrate on getting weeds before they appear. Most noxious weeds produce numerous seeds, which pre-emergents help make sure never make it to adulthood. Consider a post-emergent when weeds are already problematic.
When do you apply a weed and feed?
For best results, apply a weed and feed at the start of growing season, when grass is no longer dormant and weeds are getting ready to pop. Depending on where you reside, that could be late March or early April. Weed control is all about strategy, and timing is at the heart of it. Plan on fertilizing and using a pre-emergent in early spring, and follow up later with a post-emergent, as needed.
How soon can you water after applying a weed and feed?
For most fertilizers and weed and feeds, wait at least 48 hours before watering. This window leaves enough time for the herbicide to make its way into the weeds, leaving less residue to potentially wash off. Pre-emergent weed and feeds are less finicky, allowing you to get away with 24 hours. If possible, try to time your application so rain doesn't spoil weed-preventative plans.
Be sure not to overwater! This can cause the herbicide to wash away along with all the nutrition you just added.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This article was written by Amanda Rose Newton, a freelance writer and Garden Reviewer for The Spruce. As an entomologist and certified horticulture professional, she delights in personally testing out the products (and manages to convince a few Northern friends to test a few, too).
To make this list, Amanda Rose used each product on equal-size swatches of lawn, following manufacturer instructions. At the end of a 3-week period, she noted grass color, weed presence, and vigor. She also factored additional measures, such as cost and ease of use, into her decisions.