When to Apply Pre Emergent in Florida: Timing and Tips

They can quickly overtake a yard if not properly controlled. In Florida, where the warm climate provides optimal conditions for weed growth, it’s essential to take proactive measures to prevent weeds from taking over your lawn. One effective strategy is the application of pre-emergent herbicides, which work by preventing weed seeds from germinating. While the timing of pre-emergent application may vary depending on the specific weed species and location within Florida, February is generally considered an ideal time to apply these herbicides in central Florida. This timing allows for the prevention of weed seeds from germinating before they’ve a chance to establish and compete with your lawn for vital resources, ensuring a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing yard. By understanding the importance of timing and following a few tips for application, you can effectively manage weeds and maintain a vibrant lawn throughout the year.

Should I Use Fall or Spring Pre-Emergent?

Choosing whether to use fall or spring pre-emergent depends on the specific types of weeds you’re trying to prevent. In Florida, the most common weeds are summer annuals, which germinate and grow during the warm months.

This is especially important for annual grassy weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass, which can infest lawns and gardens if left unchecked.

In Florida, temperatures can rise quickly, so it’s crucial to apply pre-emergent before the ground temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring. This timing allows the pre-emergent to form a protective barrier before the summer annual weeds start to germinate.

Remember to follow the instructions on the pre-emergent product and make sure to water it in thoroughly after application. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that pre-emergent herbicides can also affect the germination of desirable plants. Therefore, if you’re planning on overseeding your lawn or planting new flowers or vegetables, it’s best to wait at least six to eight weeks after applying pre-emergent.

The Pros and Cons of Using Fall Pre-Emergent Versus Spring Pre-Emergent.

  • Pros of fall pre-emergent:
  • Helps prevent winter annual weeds from germinating
  • Provides longer-lasting weed control throughout the winter
  • Reduces the need for excessive weed removal in the spring
  • Allows for earlier planting and establishment of desirable plants in the spring
  • Cons of fall pre-emergent:
  • May inhibit the germination and growth of desired spring plants if applied too early or in excessive amounts
  • Can be more challenging to time accurately due to variable weather conditions
  • Requires careful monitoring and potential reapplication if significant rainfall occurs before weed germination
  • Pros of spring pre-emergent:
  • Targets and controls weeds that germinate in the spring
  • Allows for more flexibility in controlling specific weed species based on timing
  • Less risk of inhibiting the growth of desired plants since application is done closer to their germination period
  • Cons of spring pre-emergent:
  • May miss the opportunity to control winter annual weeds that have already germinated
  • Requires more frequent monitoring and potential reapplication throughout the growing season
  • Can be less effective in areas with prolonged or irregular spring weather patterns


They can quickly overtake a lawn if not properly controlled, making it crucial for homeowners in Florida to apply pre-emergent herbicides at the right time. By applying pre-emergent herbicides in February, homeowners can effectively prevent the germination and growth of weeds, ensuring a healthy and vibrant lawn throughout the year. By taking the necessary steps to control weeds, homeowners can enjoy a lush, weed-free lawn and enhance the overall aesthetics of their outdoor space.

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