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. Making it a wise choice in the growing trend of sustainable and ecological gardening practices. 

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

What Is The Best Pre-Emergent For Centipede Grass 

Centipede grass can be quite sensitive to general-purpose 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 a broader herbicide 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. Read on for more insight on the best pre-emergent for 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 step one 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. What they look like, how they multiply, and why you’ll want to prevent that. 

Crabgrass 

Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows in fast-multiplying clumps that force your grass to fight for water and nutrients. Easily recognizable light green shoots emerge against your dark green lawn. It’s important to get this common invader under control with a good quality crabgrass preventer because one crabgrass plant can produce up to 700 seed pods in a single season. Containing 150,000 new weed seeds. 

Goosegrass 

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. With seed pods growing in a unique herringbone pattern. 

Dollar Weed 

Also known as pennywort, this prolific, warm-season perennial is easy to spot by its “silver dollar” shaped leaves. Dollar weed thrives in soil with poor drainage, excess moisture, and lawns with shallow root systems. 

Knotweed 

This herbaceous perennial can grow to nine feet high if left unattended. Dense clumps combine to form a larger bamboo-like shrub that can spread rhizomes beneath the soil out to 18 feet. Making very difficult work of removing the whole plant, on top of it being a prolific seed producer. 


Best Pre-Emergent For Centipede Grass Reviews 

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


1. The Andersons | Barricade Pre-Emergent Weed Control 

The Andersons | Barricade Pre-Emergent Weed Control 

I applaud how this selective herbicide eliminates weeds in both garden borders and lawns. So, you can treat both without harming your ornamentals. Be sure to read the plant list on the bag, to ensure your border plantings are covered. 

Prodiamine is the base ingredient in this which 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 you 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 target area size, apply the recommended amount by push spreader or by hand. Then, water generously within 14 days of application. 

Customer Reviews: Surprisingly, homeowners would choose this option over others, despite it being a bit pricier. Citing great value for money. Given that it blocks seeds and mature plants from developing. Awarding this 4.5 / 5 stars and my pick for BEST BUY. Click here for Barricade prices on Amazon.com

Pros      

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

Cons

  • Must be watered in to activate

2. Scotts WeedEx Pre-Emergent Weed Control with Halts 

Scotts WeedEx Pre-Emergent Weed Control with Halts

WeedEx works by halting plant cell division before they 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 that opportunity to lay down a pre-emergent before the warmer weather appears but because of this, 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. So, 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 that 55F and one 10 bag covers up to a full 5000 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, if 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. 

Pros      

  • Prevents growth for up to nine weeks
  • One bag covers up to 5000 sq ft

Cons

  • More than one bag may be needed for large infestations

3. Quali-Pro | Prodiamine Pre-Emergent Herbicide 

Quali-Pro | Prodiamine Pre-Emergent Herbicide 

Similar to The Andersons, this one can also be applied to lawns and ornamental beds. What I really liked was the even longer list of weeds it covers. And 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. But does so for up to 6 months. 

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.

Pros      

  • 1.5lb bottle good for upto 44,000 sq ft or multiple applications
  • Great value for money
  • Prevents seed germination in a broad range of weeds

Cons

  • Not for use on already established weeds 

4. Southern Ag | Atrazine St. Augustine Grass Weed Killer 

Southern Ag | Atrazine St. Augustine Grass Weed Killer 

This highly effective pre-emergent is labeled as a St. Augustine grass pre-emergent. But is also great for centipede grass. It’s not a selective product, so use in garden borders isn’t recommended. It does, however, cover the 2nd widest array of weeds on my list. 

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. Then, 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.

Pros      

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

Cons

  • More than one container may be needed for larger areas

5. Scotts Turf Builder | Triple Action Weed Killer & Fertilizer 

Scotts Turf Builder | Triple Action Weed Killer & Fertilizer 

This final pick is 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 spring and water it in really well, as directed. 

Over time, your grass will be looking greener as well as 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 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.

Pros      

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

Cons

  • May require a substantial amount of water for full effectiveness 

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 shown to support optimum results. In warmer climates, early morning and late afternoon applications have proven the most successful. 

What Month Do You Put Down Pre Emergent? 

Spring is the optimum time to begin a pre-emergent regimen. This is the time when dormant seeds from the previous fall and any newly emerging shoots will be most vulnerable. But, you’ll want to wait until outside temps reach 13C / 55F for it to be effective on both.

Applying a pre-emergent 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 Apply Pre-Emergent On Centipede Grass 

Traveling through my pre-emergent testing adventures, we’ve seen two basic methods of application emerge. Either with a push spreader with 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. Understanding that not all grasses are alike, pick one 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? For me, the best pre-emergent for your centipede grass is the dry application from The Andersons Barricade that covers both lawn and borders. The runner-up was was Scott’s triple-action weed and feed. A great one if your centipede grass is looking patchy and in need of a pick-me-up. For me, third place goes to Qual-Pro because of the extent to which it covered weeds both pre-and post-germination.

There’s no doubt that pick 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 Pre Emergent Weed Killer