5 Best Pre-Emergent for Centipede Grass

Centipede grass is a durable, coarsely textured, perennial sod that originated in the hot, humid regions of China and Southeast Asia. Stowaway seeds made their way along trade routes to Europe and soon found themselves across the Atlantic, naturalizing themselves in the balmy terrain of South America. In the early 20th century, this tolerant turf became commonplace in the Southeastern US, thriving in the region’s often muggy summers. 

If you have centipede grass, you’re in good company. Getting its nickname from the chains of creeping stolons from which green blades grow, centipede grass is known for its drought tolerance and ability to choke out light weed infestations without the need for chemical herbicides. This makes it a wise choice in the growing trend of sustainable and ecological gardening practices. 

For larger infestations, however, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek a little assistance by way of the best pre-emergent for centipede grass. 

Top Weed Preventers For Centipede Grass

If you’re in a hurry then here are my recommendations for both granular and liquid pre-emergents. They have consistently performed well, and both are professional-grade products that will not let you down.

Best Pre-Emergent For Centipede Grass

Best For Broadcasting

The Andersons Barricade

Professional grade granular pre-emergent. Ready-to-use with any broadcaster or spreader. Covers 5,800sq.ft

Quali-Pro Prodiamine

Best Pre Emergent Spray

Quali-Pro Prodiamine

Very effective water-soluble pre-emergent, designed for use in herbicide sprayers. Covers 48,000 sq.ft

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How To Choose The Best Pre-Emergent For Centipede Grass

Centipede grass can be quite sensitive to broad-spectrum herbicides. The wrong choice can result in irreversible damage. The best pre-emergent for you will be one that is specifically formulated for centipede grass or one that covers different types of grass, including centipede.

There will also be choices that cover specific weeds or a range of weed types that are effective on centipede grass. Does this all sound a little confusing? No worries, I’ve tested a decent number of options on my own centipede grass!

Centipede Grass Weed Identification 

Before we dive into that, it helps to understand what it is you’re trying to get rid of. Familiarity with different weed types common in centipede grass is the first step in successful weed elimination. Being able to recognize them on sight will allow you to nip the issue in the bud and prevent a larger infestation. 

Common Weeds Found In Centipede Grass 

Let’s take a look at some specific varieties that you’ll typically find worming their way into your lawn, including what they look like, how they multiply, and why you’ll want to prevent that. 


Crabgrass is a clumping, annual weed that easily competes with turf grass for water and nutrients. The light green blades are easy to spot against the background of a dark lawn. The use of a good crabgrass preventer is important because this weed can produce thousands of seeds in a single growing season.


This invasive annual is also known as “silver crabgrass” due to its close resemblance to the common variety with a couple of different characteristics. Goosegrass stems will shine a silver-white color toward the center rather than the solid green of crabgrass. This weed features seed pods growing in a unique herringbone pattern. 

Dollar Weed 

Also known as pennywort, this prolific, warm-season perennial is easy to spot due to its “silver dollar”-shaped leaves. Dollarweed thrives in soil with poor drainage, choking out desirable turf grasses.


This herbaceous perennial can grow up to 9 feet tall if left unattended. Dense clumps combine to form a large, bamboo-like shrub that can spread rhizomes beneath the soil out to 18 feet. Removing this plant is not easy and it produces tons of seeds.

Pre-Emergent Weed Killers For Centipede Grass Reviewed 

As promised, here are my picks for the top 5 best pre-emergent for centipede grass products on the market. I’ve included details like personal notes, benefits of each product, overall performance, and ease of use, as well as customer reviews from forums across the lawn care spectrum. 


  • Effective on a broad range of weeds
  • No significant impact when used around border plantings


  • Must be watered in to activate

I applaud how this selective herbicide eliminates weeds in both garden borders and lawns. You can treat both without harming your ornamentals. Double-check the product label for all compatible garden species.

Prodiamine controls seed germination and growth when applied in early spring before temperatures increase above 55F. You’ll need to spend time after you have applied it to water this in thoroughly to ensure it gets properly activated. But within a week, there was no sign of weeds and my plants and flowers were left untarnished.

How To Use: Based on the target area size, apply the recommended amount by push spreader or by hand. Then, water generously within 14 days of application. 

Customer Reviews: This pre-emergent blocks seeds and mature plants from developing, making it a great value for the money. Many homeowners reported choosing this option over more affordable ones. Awarding this 4.5 / 5 stars and my pick for BEST BUY. Click here for Barricade prices on Amazon.com


  • Prevents growth for up to nine weeks
  • One bag covers up to 5,000 sq ft


  • More than one bag may be needed for large infestations

WeedEx works by halting plant cell division before weeds have a chance to get fully established. This can last up to 9 weeks and focuses more on eliminating existing weeds and shoots rather than preventing seed germination. It’s great if you’ve missed the opportunity to lay down a pre-emergent before the warmer weather appears. Because of this, however, you may well see a few new weeds popping up here and there. 

Pendimethalin is the active ingredient here, which is toxic to pets and people. Be sure to wear protective clothing when applying and keep everyone and everything off the treated area until it’s had a chance to dry out.

The good news is, you only need to apply it once when spring temps reach 55F and one 10lb bag covers up to a full 5,000 sq ft, which was perfectly adequate for the number of weeds I had. 

How To Use: Apply these ready-to-use granules using a push spreader, once in spring and again in fall, as needed. Check out Scotts Weedex Pre-Emergent Weed Control with Halts Here.

Customer Reviews: Consumers are recommending consistent mowing to prevent the development of new seeds while using this to eliminate existing weeds. When directions are followed to the letter, Scotts WeedEx shows great results. 4.3 / 5 stars. 


  • One 5lb bottle good for up to 44,000 sq ft or multiple applications
  • Great value for money
  • Prevents seed germination in a broad range of weeds


  • Not for use on already established weeds 

Similar to The Andersons’, this one can also be applied to lawns and ornamental beds. What I really liked was just how many weed species it targets. Because these are water-soluble granules, one 5lb bottle is good for up to 44,000 sq ft. This means multiple applications for the same price if you have a smaller space to treat. 

Keep in mind that this Prodiamine formula focuses primarily on preventing weed seed germination and not already-growing weeds. It prevents new weeds for up to 6 months after application. 

How To Use: Using a backpack or hand sprayer, mix the recommended amount per sq ft with roughly 4 liters (1 gallon) of water.

Customer Reviews: When applied prior to seed germination in spring, the impressive effectiveness of Quali-Pro’s pre-emergent can’t be beaten. 4.6 / 5 stars. Check Prodiamine prices on Amazon.


  • Covers an extensive list of weeds 
  • Eliminates established weeds 
  • Blocks seed germination


  • More than one container may be needed for larger areas

This highly effective pre-emergent is labeled as a St. Augustine grass pre-emergent. But it’s also great for centipede grass. It’s not a selective product, so use in garden borders isn’t recommended. It does, however, cover the second-largest number of weeds of the products here. 

The active ingredient, atrazine, works when absorbed by established weed roots. It spreads through stems and leaves, blocking photosynthesis (vital for growth and seed production), while also blocking seed germination. 

I tested this on my back lawn and within 2 weeks, all those ugly, light green weed patches began to disappear. By the end of the season, my centipede grass had grown into those areas, giving it a more consistent appearance. Click here for Southern Ag from Amazon.com

How To Use: Combine 4.3 oz. per gallon of water per 500 sq. ft. and mix well. Apply with a hand or back-pack sprayer.

Customer Reviews: Lawn experts are definitely recommending this product based on their own testing. Yet, they caution that success depends on the time of year applied and the consistency of application in spring and fall. 4.3 out of 5 stars.


  • Pre-emergent, post-emergent, and fertilizer all in one
  • Drastically reduces lawn rehabilitation time


  • It may require a substantial amount of water for full effectiveness 

This final pick works as both a pre- and post-emergent for a wide array of lawn types, as well as a fertilizer. This is great if you have an area with a mix of centipede and other grasses, especially if it is looking a little neglected and patchy. Apply this with a spreader in the spring and water it in really well, as directed. 

Over time, your grass will look greener and lusher. In the trials that I did with this product, I noticed that the more water I used during the watering-in stage, the more weeds it killed later on. Consider applying this before a rainstorm as a more economical and time-saving method of application. Click here for Scotts Turf Builder’s price.

How To Use: Apply the recommended amount with a push spreader, then water in thoroughly. 

Customer Reviews: This product is strongly backed by those who are tackling lawns that have been left unattended for a long time. A 3-in-1 product like this can literally cut years off of your lawn rehabilitation time.  4.4 out of 5 stars.

When To Apply Pre-Emergent On Centipede Grass 

No matter which of these products you feel drawn to, they should all be applied at roughly the same time of year and, equally important, at the same time of day. 

Interestingly enough, the time of day you spray can either make or break the effectiveness of an herbicide. In colder climates, spraying around midday has been shown to produce optimum results. In warmer climates, early morning and late afternoon applications have proven the most successful. 

What Month Should You Put Down Pre-Emergent? 

Spring is the optimum time to begin a pre-emergent regimen. This is the when dormant seeds from the previous year and any newly emerging shoots will be most vulnerable. Most products recommend waiting until the average temperature is at least 55 degrees Farhenheit before making any springtime applications.

Applying a preventative treatment in fall can prevent dormant seeds that fell in summer from germinating in spring. In the long run, this will save you time and money. 

How To Safely Apply Pre-Emergent To Centipede Grass 

Throughout my testing adventures, we’ve seen two basic methods of application: Either with a push spreader for dry formulas (or by hand in smaller areas) or with a hand or backpack sprayer

While these methods may be relatively simple and low-risk, it’s important to take safety precautions. Wear protective clothing while applying and follow the recommended time guidelines on the label before allowing your kids and pets to play on it. 

How To Get Rid Of Weeds Without Killing Centipede Grass 

Following the recommended dosage on the label is crucial. Apply just enough to kill the weeds but not so much that it also takes out the grass. Remember that not all grasses are alike, so pick an herbicide that is specially formulated for centipede grass. You could also opt for a selective herbicide that focuses solely on the unique biology of weeds while ignoring your lawn. 

Verdict: Best Centipede Grass Pre-Emergent 

So, which one will you go for? I’m a big fan of the dry formula offered by The Andersons Barricade that covers both lawn and border beds. My personal runner-up is Scotts Triple-Action Weed and Feed. This is a great one if your centipede grass is looking patchy and in need of a pick-me-up. Finally, third place goes to Qual-Pro because of the extent to which it covered weeds both pre- and post-germination.

Best Pre-Emergent For Centipede Grass

Best For Broadcasting

The Andersons Barricade

Professional grade granular pre-emergent. Ready to use with any broadcaster or spreader. Covers 5,800sq.ft

Quali-Pro Prodiamine

Best Pre Emergent Spray

Quali-Pro Prodiamine

Very effective water-soluble pre-emergent, designed for use in herbicide sprayers. Covers 48,000 sq.ft

There’s no doubt that picking the best pre-emergent for your growing region, along with timing your applications right and following safety protocols, will all amount to a stunning lawn and success.

FAQ Centipede Grass Weed Control