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I wrote this plan specifically for “South Florida” as a winter pre-emergent and soil plan, but many of you could still benefit from incorporating a lot of this into your plans as well.

Watch The Videos

First off, make sure you watch the video I put out just this past weekend outlining the basics of the Florida Pre-Emergent Plan.

I’m not going to get into the watering portion in this written guide, so just make sure you get down at least 1” of water a week anywhere in Florida.

Even if your turf is brown and dormant, your soil is not and we don’t want it to dry out completely.

Here is a fun video showing you some ways to get your sprinkler heads free from being buried after the long summer:

 

Controlling Weeds In Florida Lawns

Keep in mind. There is no pre-emergent that controls every single weed.

A pre-emergent weed control strategy is only a piece of the overall approach.

No matter where you live in Florida, if you want a mostly weed-free lawn, you will need to employ a solid pre and post-emergent weed control strategy.

We will explore post-emergent weed control strategy in an upcoming video and email.

 

Florida Pre-Emergent Strategy

STEP 1 - Anytime in October or November apply dithiopyr.

This will prevent weeds that germinate during the winter such as hairy bittercress, chickweed, annual bluegrass, and spurge.

0-0-20 Dithiopyr
4 lbs/1,000 sq ft

Here is a video showing you how to apply this product step-by-step: https://youtu.be/BF8Z3XTxLOk

If you picked up your Dithiopyr - go for it and Thrower’ Down! However...

WE ARE SOLD OUT!

So as with many things, we ran out of the Dithiopyr almost immediately after I published the video on Sunday. I am not going to be able to order any more for this season, I’m sorry.

I’m running a small business here and try to make bulk purchases conservatively and it looks like we came up a little short this season in our projections. That’s good for me in that I don’t have to store excess all winter, but bad in the fact that it’s not available.

There are no local stores carrying dithiopyr right now that I know of.

But that is ok!
I have some other choices for you to consider that will work just as well:

St Augustine (including Floratam) and Centipede:

Local Options
Scott’s BonusS (available everywhere)
Vigoro Florida Weed & Feed (Home Depot’s in-house brand)
Sunniland St Augustine + Centipede Weed & Feed (locally made option at all Lowes stores)

These are fertilizer products with Atrazine herbicide mixed in that will work great this time of year and give you about 60 days of pre-emergence protection. (St Augustine and Centipede only)

The Atrazine will also kill many existing weeds in your lawn while also delivering some nutrients. This is why it’s called a “weed and feed” because it contains fertilizer AND weed control herbicide.

There is no flexibility in these products - you have to throw them down at bag rates in order for the weed control to work properly, which means you are also going to get a shot of nitrogen, quite a bit in fact.

This is good in that it will green up your lawn and make it grow - but can be a drawback if you are on a low N program or if you like to use other ferts like Milorganite, Greene Punch, or X-GReeN.

That said, we need the pre-emergent so just go ahead and use this fert and enjoy the pop of green you get from the synthetic nutrients.

My first choice of the 3 above is the Sunniland because it’s loaded with micro-nutrients and is made locally. Supporting a Florida owned and operated company is always my first choice.

The bag is 20 lbs and costs $18.

Here’s the math…
Cost: $18
Weight: 20 lbs
Application Rate: 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft
Bag Covers: 5,000 sq ft

Cost per 1,000 sq ft: $3.60
Cost for 5,000 sq ft lawn: $18

Sunniland Weed & Feed Analysis: 20-0-6

This product will deliver the atrazine as needed, but also gives you .80 lbs/N/1,000 sq ft and .24 lbs/K/1,000 sq ft.

It also contains the micronutrients iron, boron, copper, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum.

Apply this product to dry turf and get it watered in immediately with ½” of water.

I’ll be applying this product in an upcoming video and I’ll do some further comparisons to the Vigoro and Scotts BonusS product as well.

Zoysia, Bermuda, and Bahia

I don’t have any local options for you, but here is a dithiopyr product that is available online from DoMyOwn.

It doesn’t have any potash included with it but it will work as a pre-emergent for any warm-season grass (St Aug and Centipede too).

Your rate is 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft. Get it watered in.

If you have prodiamine on-hand, that works well here and is a good substitute. Dithiopyr and Prodiamine are essentially interchangeable.

Step 2 - January - March

St Augustine/Centipede only:

Scott’s BonusS (available everywhere)
Vigoro Florida Weed & Feed (Home Depot’s in-house brand)
Sunniland St Augustine + Centipede Weed & Feed (Lowes stores)

Zoysia, Bermuda, and Bahia:

You guys can skip this treatment or you can apply another application of dithiopyr or prodiamine. You may also be able to find Scotts Crabgrass Preventor with Halts at this time of year. I’ll be sure to scope out local stores and keep you updated.

Far South Florida like Pembroke Pines - you guys will want to get this one down probably sometime in late January. You will be on a warming trend very quickly from there.

Middle of the state like Ocala - mid-Feb is good for you here and on up to Pensacola, you are probably more like later Feb or early March.

Step 3 and 4 - Pennant Magnum

S-metolachlor is your number 1 choice if you have faced Doveweed and/or sedges and kyllinga.

It only suppresses kyllinga but that is much better than just letting it run wild which I did this year and I’ve got a lot of cleanup work to do because of it.

Trust me, if you have sedge and doveweed, you want to invest in Pennant Magnum. Go in with a few friends if you have to - the bottle covers 135,000 sq ft.

Step 3:
4-6 weeks after Step 2
14 ml/1,000 sq ft

Step 4:
6 weeks after step 3
14 ml/1,000 sq ft

Here’s the math on this liquid concentrate:
Product Volume: 1 gallon = 3,785 ml
Cost: $224.00
Application Rate: 28 ml/1,000 sq ft/per year

Bottle Covers: 135,178 sq ft
Cost per 1,000: $1.65

Note: the yearly maximum you can use of Pennant Magnum is 28 ml/1,000 sq ft.

I like to split this into 2 applications of 14 ml/1,000 sq ft each. Think of split apps like 2 coats of paint being more consistent than 1 heavy coat. Splitting your apps apart helps with this.

If you cost this out for the two apps (28 ml/1,000 sq ft) on a 5,000 sq ft lawn, the cost is $8.25 for the 2 apps.

Think about that - $8.25 for two apps of the best pre-emergent you can get for warm-season turf.

This is one thing to note about professionally formulated products and that is they are very concentrated and while you have to buy large quantities (in this case an entire gallon) the application cost is very low.

I’ve tried to get these companies to work with me and release their products in smaller quantities for the DIY market but so far none have listened.

Plan Summary:

St Augustine and Centipede

October - December
Choose one:

  • 0-0-20 Dithiopyr - 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft - (prodiamine can substitute if you have it)
  • Sunniland Weed & Feed - 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft
  • Scotts BonusS - 2.75 lbs/1,000 sq ft
  • Vigoro Florida Weed & Feed - 3.2 lbs/1,000 sq ft

Jan - March (6-8 weeks after previous app)

Choose one:

  • Sunniland Weed & Feed - 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft
  • Scotts BonusS - 2.75 lbs/1,000 sq ft
  • Vigoro Florida Weed & Feed - 3.2 lbs/1,000 sq ft

March - May (4-6 weeks after previous app)
Choose one:

  • Pennant Magnum - 14 ml/1,000 sq ft
  • Optional: if you don’t use Pennant Magnum, prodiamine or dithiopyr are a suitable substitute.

May - June (6-8 weeks after previous app)
Choose one:

  • Pennant Magnum - 14 ml/1,000 sq ft
  • Optional: if you don’t use Pennant Magnum, prodiamine or dithiopyr are a suitable substitute.

 

Zoysia, Bermuda, and Bahia

October - December
Choose one:

  • 0-0-20 Dithiopyr - 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft (if you already have it on hand)
  • Optional: Dithiopyr from DoMyOwn - 4 lbs/1,000 sq ft

(prodiamine can substitute if you have it)

Jan - March (6-8 weeks after previous app)
Choose one:

  • Skip this app or
  • Apply Dithiopyr or prodiamine
  • Apply Scotts Halts (more updates to come as we get into this time frame)

March - May (4-6 weeks after previous app)
Choose one:

  • Pennant Magnum - 14 ml/1,000 sq ft
  • Optional: if you don’t use Pennant Magnum, prodiamine or dithiopyr are a suitable substitute.

May - June (6-8 weeks after previous app)
Choose one:

  • Pennant Magnum - 14 ml/1,000 sq ft
  • Optional: if you don’t use Pennant Magnum, prodiamine or dithiopyr are a suitable substitute.


There you go my Florida friends!

Be sure to stay tuned all winter as I will continue to give more information about how we can manage our lawns here in South Florida, year-round!

I’ll see you in the lawn!
AL