Learn how to choose the right type of lawn products that will work on your grass, and get recommendations for the best weed and feed. Scotts has two different weed and feed products: Scotts Lawn Pro Super Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, and Scotts Super Bonus S Weed and Feed. (As with other chemical lawn applications you must be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions). Weed and feed does just that–it feeds the lawn to promote root … Scotts 4 step lawn approach doesn’t provide what your lawn truly needs to look and perform its best. Learn what’s missing from Scotts Lawn Program and the issues it can cause.
The Best Weed and Feeds of 2022
Get your lawn looking healthy and green by selecting the right product for your grass.
By Debbie Wolfe | Updated May 30, 2022 12:00 PM
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Keeping your lawn looking great means that you need to weed frequently, and fertilize at the right times of the year. If your lawn looks a bit drab and weedy, bring it back to life with weed and feed fertilizers and herbicides. Designed to introduce essential nutrients into the ground that accelerate the growth of your grass, these products help your lawn grow thick and healthy, and with no weeds.
Take a look at our guide to help you choose the right type of lawn products that will work on your grass, and our top picks for the best weed and feed options for purchase today.
- BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:GreenView Weed & Feed
- UPGRADE PICK:BioAdvanced All-in-One Weed & Feed
- BEST COOL SEASON:GreenView Fairway Formula
- BEST WARM SEASON:Scotts Turf Southern Triple Action
- BEST FOR WEED PREVENTION:Preen One LawnCare
- BEST LIQUID:Scotts Liquid Turf Builder Weed Control
Before You Buy
Maintaining a healthy lawn includes mowing, weeding, watering, and fertilizing. However, fertilizing isn’t always necessary. Over-fertilizing your lawn will make the grass grow more vigorously, causing you to have to mow more frequently or lead to run-off which ends up in your local watershed.
Excessive fertilizing can result in lawn burn, which is when the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil are too high and cause yellow to brown strips or patches of dead grass. A lawn, as with any type of plant, only needs fertilizing if the soil lacks the vital nutrients to help it grow. In situations like these, fertilizing your soil is essential.
Types of Weed and Feed
Weed and feed comes in two forms: liquid and granular. Although the liquid forms are easier to apply and provide faster results, it’s more economical to use the granular form. Spray or liquid weed and feed are designed for small yards. Granular weed and feed covers more area, often 5,000 square feet or more, and are available in 18-lb bags and larger. Granular versions offer a better value for your money, but you do need to water your lawn after application for it to penetrate the grass.
Some weed and feed feature slow-release formulas so you don’t have to fertilize as often. However, to achieve good results plan on treating your lawn at least once every eight weeks from the start of spring.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Weed and Feed
Type of Turf Grass
The best weed and feed product for your lawn depends on the type of grass you have. Grass species have different nutrient requirements, so not all of them are safe for every species of grass. Using the wrong product can damage your grass. In general, grass species are divided into two categories: warm season and cool season. The seasons do not refer to the time of year, but the climate and average soil temperature range.
- Warm-season turfgrasses grow best with average soil temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm-season grasses thrive in warmer climates found in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States and include Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, carpet grass, Saint Augustine grass, and zoysia grass (Japanese lawn grass).
- Cool-season turfgrasses grow best with average soil temperatures between 60 and 75 Fahrenheit. Cool-season grasses thrive in the cooler climates of the Midwest and Northern regions of the United States. Some cool-season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall and hard fescue.
Selecting a fertilizer and weed killer that’s compatible with your grass species will give you far better results.
To grow a lush lawn, your soil needs to have essential nutrients. Fertilizers temporarily add nutrients to the soil. Fertilizers denote their nutrient ratios as NPK. This denotation represents the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in the product. This is how the nutrients help grass:
- Nitrogen helps the grass to grow properly and develop a green color.
- Phosphorus helps to develop strong root systems.
- Potassium protects plants from disease, drought, and cold.
There are at least 11 states that ban phosphorus fertilizer use or sale. Luckily, many lawn weed and feed products available have adapted to this and have removed phosphorus from the product. Don’t worry—the weed and feed will still green up and thicken the grass without the additional phosphorus.
Fertilizers can also contain secondary elements and micronutrients needed for healthy growth such as sulfur, calcium, magnesium, boron, iron, molybdenum, zinc, copper, chloride, nickel, and manganese. To find out exactly what nutrients your lawn needs can be determined by conducting a soil test. You can either purchase a test to use at home or take a soil sample to your local cooperative extension testing office.
Many fertilizers also have built-in herbicides or weed preventatives. Some products are better at killing certain types of common weeds and pests than others. In general, most weed and feed target common types of broadleaf weeds including plantain, chickweed, creeping charlie, dandelions, and clover.
Weed preventers, or pre-emergent weed killers, block weed seeds that are already in the soil, like crabgrass, poa annua, chickweed, and henbit, from germinating. Identify the type of weeds that are infesting your lawn and then make sure you choose a product that’s made to take care of it.
Our Top Picks
The following list takes into account the above considerations to narrow the field to some of the most effective weed and feeds on the market. This list includes both liquid and granular weed treatments for improving your lawn.
How to Apply Scotts Weed & Feed
Scotts has two different weed and feed products: Scotts Lawn Pro Super Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, and Scotts Super Bonus S Weed and Feed. (As with other chemical lawn applications you must be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions). Weed and feed does just that–it feeds the lawn to promote root growth and lawn density, and also kills dandelions and other lawn weeds. Scotts Plus 2 should only be used twice during the growing season, and when dandelions and other lawn weeds are growing. The Super Bonus can be applied anytime weeds are growing. Be sure to read the packaging label as both products can be harmful to certain types of grass and should not be used on them.
Check the weather forecast before applying the Scotts product. Rain should not be forecasted for at least 24 hours after applying the fertilizer. Do not water your lawn for 24 hours after applying the weed and feed. Also, the fertilizer should be applied when there is little or no wind–otherwise there is a possibility that the fertilizer will be blown on plants and shrubs.
- Scotts has two different weed and feed products: Scotts Lawn Pro Super Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, and Scotts Super Bonus S Weed and Feed.
- ( Scotts Plus 2 should only be used twice during the growing season, and when dandelions and other lawn weeds are growing.
Check the grass to make sure that it is slightly wet from the morning dew. If the grass is dry you will need to sprinkle it lightly before applying the fertilizer. The moisture enables the fertilizer to stick to the blades of grass and to the weeds.
Set the gauge on the spreader according to the setting gauge chart on the bag of Scotts Weed and Feed. There are two types of spreaders, rotary or broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders. The spreaders have settings on them to control how much fertilizer is dropped. The correct setting will be listed on the fertilizer bag.
- Check the grass to make sure that it is slightly wet from the morning dew.
- The correct setting will be listed on the fertilizer bag.
Fill the hopper with fertilizer. Fill it while on a sidewalk or driveway as you do not want to get a concentrated amount of fertilizer on the lawn should you spill some.
Apply the fertilizer following the directions on your spreader. Do not overlap your application as it will apply too much fertilizer in one area and there is a possibility of burning the grass. Do not stop in one spot with the release lever open, as this will also send a concentrated amount of fertilizer in one spot–burning the grass.
When the lawn is complete, sweep away any fertilizer that has gotten on the sidewalk or driveway. Also, rinse out your spreader and allow it to dry.
- Fill the hopper with fertilizer.
- Do not overlap your application as it will apply too much fertilizer in one area and there is a possibility of burning the grass.
Wash your hands thoroughly after working with fertilizer. Grass should not touch the bottom of the spreader when applying the fertilizer. Therefore, be sure to mow any tall grass before putting down the weed and feed. Do not apply to newly seeded lawns.
Keep children and pets off of the grass after applying fertilizer for at least 24 hours (until after you water the lawn).
The 4 Big Problems with the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care Approach: DIY Concerns for Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, & N. Kentucky
People like things that are easy and for good reason. Our lives are already so busy, the last thing that we want to do is waste unnecessary time on tasks that can be simplified.
That’s exactly why the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is so popular. Scotts LawnService is capitalizing on your desire to have a simplified and easy-to-follow program that takes the guesswork out of your lawn care.
The trouble is, the program is severely lacking.
It’s not even close to everything that your lawn needs to look and perform its best. In order to give you a sense of what’s missing, let’s walk through each of the steps in this 4 step lawn care program and fill in the missing elements.
Step 1 (Problem 1)
The first step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is crabgrass preventer and lawn food. The program advises getting an application down some time “on or before Easter.”
First and foremost, that timeline is concerning. We understand that Scotts is attempting to simplify the program by using a holiday that you’ll remember but the date of Easter changes every year.
The timing of when you get crabgrass preventer (or more specifically, “pre-emergent”) down is absolutely critical to its success. It has less to do with a specific date as it does the soil temperatures and we are watching those closely to ensure that we’re starting the program at the ideal time.
It’s important to put the product down prior to crabgrass seeds beginning to germinate since the product works by forming a barrier that prevents it from growing.
Another problem with Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care is that one application is probably not enough to prevent a weed that is as persistent and unceasing as crabgrass.
At Oasis, we apply two rounds of crabgrass pre-emergent due to its tenacity. In the spring, we’re also prone to getting a lot of rain and that can breakdown the product to some degree. By putting down two applications, we ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent this stubborn weed.
Of course, if it does break through, we also include spot-spraying of post-emergent crabgrass control in our program to knock it back. Addressing breakthrough is a key element that the Scotts program is missing. Even the best crabgrass prevention efforts are not 100% effective.
Step 2 (Problem 2)
The next step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is weed control plus lawn food. The biggest problem with the product needed for step two is that it’s a granular weed control product which is far less effective than a liquid weed control product—particularly one that is professional grade.
With this store-bought product from Scotts, the lawn must be wet when you apply it with no rain in the immediate forecast. Scotts is upfront about that. They say their product must be applied on a “calm day, on a damp lawn, and when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours.”
But what a pain to have to wait for these ideal weather conditions when you likely have work or other things to attend to. If you only have your weekends to work on your lawn, finding this ideal day may be challenging.
Plus, even if you apply when the conditions are just right, research from Ohio State University shows that store-bought (non-professional-grade) products are only 40 percent effective as compared to professional-grade weed control products. When weeds are often one of homeowners’ biggest complaints, why accept 40 percent effectiveness?
It’s also worth mentioning the timeline of Step Two, which is to apply “near Memorial Day.” By Memorial Day, you are already going to have so many weeds. That is on the late side to start aggressively attacking weeds as you ought to be.
Step 3 (Problem 3)
Now we’re at the mid-summer point and the next step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is lawn food with iron.
But your lawn needs so much more than just lawn food. This is really the time when your lawn care program should be attacking crabgrass breakthrough as well as nutsedge and summer annual weeds, which requires their own specialized treatments.
At this time, your lawn care program should also be including grub control and treatment for surface-feeding insects, which can truly wreak havoc on your turf if not dealt with.
The Scotts 4-step program never gets into addressing lawn insects, which are a serious threat.
Step 4 (Problem 4)
The final step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program features a product for Fall Lawn Food. It does not address weeds, which absolutely need to be treated again.
The bottom line is that from steps 1 through 4, this program is very incomplete. It is missing quite a bit, including a focus on soil health, which is truly the secret to a fantastic lawn.
At Oasis, we’re focused on soil health throughout the entire program, utilizing bionutrition that has a significant impact on the overall results.
The Truth? 4 Step Lawn Care is a Bit Misleading
In theory, the idea of a simple 4-step program sounds nice. Scotts did everything they could to simplify the program and make it sound easy for do-it-yourselfers. However, it’s also quite misleading in that it’s marketed as being a complete program when it’s really not. It’s missing so many important services and when you start adding them in, it’s not all that simple (or cost-effective) after all.
How Much Does 4 Step Lawn Care Really Cost?
Speaking of cost, it adds up quicker than you might think. The bags alone are $110 on Amazon, but that’s assuming you don’t need to buy more than that. If you have a larger lawn, you will.
You can expect a cheap spreader to cost $60 to $90, and that’s not even for a good-quality one. The costs start to add up quickly and for what is likely going to give you sub-par results, you have to question whether it’s worth it.
No 4 Step Lawn Care Guarantee
Plus, there are no guarantees. If it doesn’t work, what’s your recourse? Scotts is not going to refund you for purchasing all of the bags.
When you work with a professional lawn care company, they’re going to stand behind their work. If weeds don’t die after spraying them, they’ll return to take care of them.
Working with a pro eliminates the hassles as well. Let’s be honest, it’s a pain to have to go out and buy these products—not to mention having to worry about the timeline for applications. That’s why we find that Oasis Turf & Tree customers really don’t hire us to make their lawn beautiful (even though we do), they hire us to take away their worries.
As simple as 4 step lawn care may sound, you probably don’t want to have to worry about doing any of it yourself. You’d rather have a professional who knows exactly what your lawn needs (and when), take the reins. Fortunately, when you hand over your lawn care needs to Oasis Turf & Tree, you get to hand over your worries, too.
Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams!