Best Pre-Emergent Herbicide for Effective Weed Control

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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The first step towards effective weed control is stopping the seeds from germinating from the soil early. The best pre-emergent herbicide is made to prevent the plants you do not want from sprouting and stealing vital nutrients. Buying the right product can save you time, effort and money to deal with unwanted grasses and weeds later on.

Before you apply any product on your lawn, yard, turf or landscape, it is critical to consider what you want to kill and how you can do it. Learn more about the factors to ponder over, or pick a helper from our list of five of the best pre-emergent herbicides.

5 Best Pre-Emergent Herbicides

1. Quali-Pro Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Quali-Pro Prodiamine, Pre-Emergent Herbicide, 5 lbs,...
  • PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDE: Quali-Pro's Prodiamine 65 WDG provides...
  • FEATURES & BENEFITS: Excellent tank mix partner with fertilizers...
  • USE SITES: Nurse, Landscape, Turf, Trees, Golf Courses
  • EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Annual bluegrass (Poa annua), Henbit,...
  • ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Prodiamine 65%

If you do not want to deal with weeds in the summer, the Quali-Pro Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent Herbicide should be at the top of your buying list. You can use this product in the spring or fall season on the lawn, garden, turf, yard, or an extensive landscape with trees. Plus, the active ingredient of 65% Prodiamine is effective against nuisances like annual bluegrass(Poa annua), spurge, Henbit, Foxtail and Goosegrass.

This pre-emergent herbicide is the go-to for lawn care professionals because of the potent formula that will not harm sprouted grass. In addition, you can rest assured that it will not disrupt the growth of your perennial plants. Finally, the granules dissolve easily, making the process of application simple.


  • Effective in numerous use sites.
  • You can mix it with iron solutions and fertilizers.
  • The granular pre-emergent herbicide dissolves easily and offers flexible application using a sprayer.


  • It is ineffective if you do not get the weed seeds early.
  • You should not apply it in crop fields.

2. Scotts 49900 5M Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer

Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer: Treats...
  • One application prevents crabgrass all season long
  • Apply in spring to prevent crabgrass and problem weeds all season...
  • Fall application prevents winter weeds, such as poa annua, henbit...
  • Rain, snow or freezing weather after application won't affect...
  • Apply in fall to prevent moss

If your lawn, yard, garden, or landscape is plagued by crabgrass, you may need the hand of a specialist to help you control the weeds. The Scotts 5M Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer has the features necessary to make it effective against the nightmare of lawn care enthusiasts. Plus, this pre-emergent herbicide has what it takes to stop the germination of numerous grassy weeds.

A single application, either in early spring or early fall, is all it takes to provide you with all-season long protection. Thus, this product guarantees weed seeds will not germinate in the summer or winter as the performance does not dip depending on the temperature. Finally, the label offers simple instructions for using it.


  • Its performance is reliable in hot and cold temperatures.
  • A single application provides ample protection all season long.
  • Applying it in the fall will prevent moss.


  • It is only suitable for early spring or early fall application.

3. Preen Plus Plant Food Garden Weed Preventer

Preen 2164116 Plant Food Garden Weed Preventer, 5.625...
  • Use anytime during the spring, summer, or fall in flower and...
  • It prevents weeds and feeds plants in one easy step
  • Balanced fertilizer promotes abundant blooms, increased yields...
  • Safe for use around over 200 established flowers, vegetables,...
  • One application feeds your plants and prevents weeds for up to...

The Preen Plus Plant Food Garden Weed preventer is effective whether you use it in the summer, fall, or spring. The product has two features that make it suitable for application in various sites with plants as it is an effective weed killer and adds nutrients to the soil. Consequently, it will do well in your garden, flower patch, around shrubs, trees and covers.

Once you apply the pre-emergent herbicide, you will need to activate it with water. Afterward, it will form a protective barrier to inhibit the germination of the unwanted weed seeds. Plus, it will not affect the growth of over 200 kinds of flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs.


  • The fertilizer supports roots, increases yields and encourages the plants to boom.
  • It comes with a scoop to make it easy to apply.
  • You can use it during summer, fall and spring.


  • A single application only lasts for around 12 weeks.

4. Miracle-Gro Garden Weed Preventer

Apply the Miracle-Gro Garden Weed Preventer early in the growing season for the best results in weed control. The granular pre-emergent herbicide comes with an easy-to-use shaker for the mouth to help you evenly spread it around your plants. In addition, the container can treat soil covering an area of 800 square feet, making it one of the most affordable options on our list.

The potent formulation in this herbicide will kill a wide variety of unwanted weed seeds. If you want to remain on a budget, you should check to see if you have planted any listed trees, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. The consideration is essential as it may negatively affect plants that are not on their list.


  • The shaker top simplifies the application.
  • The pre-emergent herbicide is affordable.


  • It only lasts about 12 weeks.
  • It is not suitable for lawns.

5. Nitro-Phos Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide

  • Prodiamine .58%
  • Barricade Herbicide is for use in established turfgrass, lawns,...
  • Barricade is applied with a broadcast spreader at a rate of 10...

You can rely on the Nitro-Phos Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide if you handle an expansive turf or huge landscape. This product features a reliable formulation of 58% Prodiamine, making it efficient in controlling and preventing grass and broadleaf weeds from taking over the manicured outdoor spaces. However, it is best to apply it before the rains start as water activates the product.

Although the granular pre-emergent herbicide is a favorite with people with large properties, the weed control properties it offers are harmful to pets. Thus, you should not use it on your lawn or yard if you have little companions scurrying around. Additionally, the product simultaneously deals with weeds and increases nutrients in the soil.


  • The Prodiamine active ingredient ensures it will kill crabgrass and numerous broadleaf weeds.
  • Works well with manual and automatic spreaders.


  • You must use a broadcast spreader to apply it.
  • It may be harmful to pets, so do not apply it to your yard.

How to Find the Best Pre-Emergent Herbicide

a). Application Method

Typically, you have two options when you want to apply pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn or garden. Irrespective of the application method you choose, the product is designed to prevent germination by creating a barrier over the soil against the weed seeds. Plus, buying one with the right combination of components will help reduce future landscape or lawn care weeding tasks.

Liquid pre-emergent herbicides come in either full-strength or concentrated versions. For the best results, apply the product to your yard, lawn or garden using a properly calibrated sprayer with a pump for adequate spreading. In addition, liquid types are a favorite among people handling large-scale or commercial weed control in parks and golf courses where crabgrass and other weeds are a nuisance.

On the other hand, a granular pre-emergent herbicide looks like tiny pellets that dissolve into the soil to form a barrier that prevents weeds from germinating. Unlike the previous type, you may not require a specialized spreader to cover your lawn, garden or yard, as merely shaking it out of a cup will suffice. Alternatively, you can use a broadcast or drop spreader to distribute the granules effectively.

b). Target Growth Stage

Pre-emergent weed control involves nipping the problem in the bud early to avoid costly and time-consuming lawn care work later on. Consequently, the specialized herbicides target a specific growth stage of the plants' lifecycle. However, you will need to apply a post-emergent weed killer if they are way past germination.

If your lawn, yard or landscape is overrun by perennial weeds, their underground roots may pose an annual challenge to a pre-emergent herbicide. People who still observe the unwanted plants even after using such a product may be lead to believe it did not work. If this sounds like you, wait until the grassy weeds germinate, then apply a post-emergent herbicide to purge them from the soil.

c). What Are the Active Ingredients in Pre-Emergent Herbicides?

Pre-emergent herbicides are designed to prevent weeds and unwanted grasses from interfering with the seeds you plant in your lawns. Still, varieties like crabgrass can germinate if you do not get a product with the right active ingredient or two to get the job done. Plus, mixing the following examples gives the pre-emergent herbicide some specific features for more effective lawn care.

  1. Dithiopyr works to control some grassy weeds like crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. This active agent can last on lawns for up to four months, and using pre-emergent herbicides with the ingredient at full strength can handle sprouted ones.
  2. Oryzalin will kill broadleaf weeds and spurge effectively. Additionally, it is preferred by those caring for summer-season turfs such as buffalo grass, centipede grass, Bermuda grass, Bahiagrass.
  3. Prodiamine is the active agent you need to deal with the poa annua, also known as annual bluegrass, crabgrass, along with about 30 other broadleaf and grassy weeds.
  4. Siduron is excellent for taking care of a cool-season turf with seeds waiting to germinate. The ingredient will kill the seeds of foxtail, crabgrass and other annual grasses.
  5. Trifluralin is popular among people with gardens hosting flowers or vegetables, and it covers a wide variety of weeds.
  6. Isoxaben has commercial uses in large-scale agriculture, and it is suitable for the control of broadleaf weeds.
  7. Corn gluten is a natural ingredient with broad applications in pre-emergent herbicides.
  8. Benefin is another favorite in weed killers made for vegetable gardens and fields with legume plants since it is effective against grassy weeds.
  9. Pendimethalin, unlike the other entries on this list, offers post-emergent features. Hence, its application in farms and lawns is essential.

d). How Can I Safely Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicide?

Misusing herbicides can be harmful to people and the environment. Thus, always begin with reading the label for the ingredients and safety application procedures before controlling the weeds. In addition, some products require you to protect your body by preventing contact of the pre-emergent with your skin and eyes.

If you are using a liquid product, do not use it when it is windy, as you may not spread it evenly on soil. If no rains are coming, it is essential to water the area to activate the properties. Finally, wash up thoroughly afterward in case some of the product got on your skin or clothes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Pre-Emergent Herbicides

1. What is the best pre-emergent herbicide?

The Quali-Pro Prodiamine Pre-Emergent Herbicide covered on our list above has the most reliable weed control features. You can use it from early to late spring or during the fall to relieve the stress of dealing with weeds in early summer. Plus, the granular pre-emergent herbicide dissolves easily in water to offer flexible application on lawns and will work fast to kill crabgrass, other unwanted grasses and weed seeds.

2. What month do you put down pre-emergent?

It would help if you dealt with pesky grasses early to prevent them from soaking up vital nutrients from the soil. Consequently, it would be bestto target the initial growth stage of the weed seeds- germination.

Some pre-emergent herbicides can be applied throughout the year, often not in the winter, since they are not affected by extreme temperatures. However, other products work best during certain seasons.

3. Which is better, liquid or granular pre-emergent?

Liquid pre-emergent herbicides start acting as soon as they hit the soil. On the other hand, granular variations require water to activate and can be dissolved or applied before the rain.

The choice depends on how soon you need the product to work. Still, checking the ingredients is a better metric for figuring out the option's effectiveness against weeds.

4. Can you apply pre-emergent too early?

Getting the timing right on when to use the pre-emergent herbicide depends on how long it will last, killing weeds before germination. Alternatively, if you buy an all-season product, the concept of too early may not be relevant. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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