This tough and tolerant turf, with a name that conjures up images of vast emerald lawns thriving beneath swaying palm trees, first became a popular commodity in the late 1700s. Native to equatorial countries, it became fashionable in Europe for its ability to hold up against polo matches and hunting activities, all while maintaining a relatively pristine appearance.
These days, keeping our tropical lawns weed-free is a bit more economical. But there are also new challenges to overcome, like weed varieties that thrive in drought and heatwaves. Fortunately, Bermuda grass has proven pretty resilient against these conditions (something that is especially true when these vibrant lawns are treated with the best pre-emergent for Bermuda grass available).
- Top Pre-Emergent Herbicides For Bermuda Grass
- Choosing The Best Pre-Emergent Weed Killer For Bermuda
- Types Of Weeds Found In Bermuda Grass
- How Do Pre-Emergent Weed Killers Work?
- Pre-Emergent Weed Control For Bermuda Grass Reviewed
- When To Apply Pre-Emergents On Bermuda Grass
- How To Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Killers To Bermuda Grass
- Verdict: Best Bermuda Grass Pre-Emergent
Top Pre-Emergent Herbicides For Bermuda 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 For Broadcasting
Powerful Pendimethalin herbicide base provides excellent results with a single application. Covers 5,000 sq.ft.
Best Pre Emergent Spray
Very effective water-soluble pre-emergent, designed for use in herbicide sprayers. Covers 48,000 sq.ft
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Choosing The Best Pre-Emergent Weed Killer For Bermuda
As with most grasses, prized Bermuda thrives on lots of nitrogen which it uses to form all those bright, green blades. Unfortunately, many weeds love nitrogen too. Dandelions, crabgrass, and the like will move in and end up competing with your lawn for nutrients. Luckily, Bermuda grass is such a vigorously growing turf that it can overpower and eliminate a mild weed infestation.
However, there will be times when a rapid weed invasion is just too much for your Bermuda grass to overcome. That’s when it’s time to consider the application of a pre-emergent to keep weed seeds from germinating and plants from growing.
Types Of Weeds Found In Bermuda Grass
Despite the vast number of weed varieties out there, relatively few are commonly found lurking in Bermuda grass. Some are broadleaf types while others are more of the spurge and sedge variety. Let’s take a look at a few of them and what makes each easy to identify:
Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows in fast-multiplying clumps that force your grass to compete for water and nutrients. It is easy to recognize the new, light green shoots that emerge against your dark green lawn. It’s important to get this common invader under control early because one crabgrass plant can produce up to 700 seed pods (containing 150,000 individual seeds!) in a single season.
Nothing says summer like the appearance of dandelions floating effortlessly on a sea of green. Don’t let those pretty, little yellow flowers fool you, though. This resilient plant is a broadleaf perennial that will firmly anchor itself in your lawn with a 10” taproot. And, as we all know, those yellow blossoms will quickly evolve into wispy seed heads that can each cultivate up to 5,000 new dandelion plants in your garden within a single season.
Spurge is a flat-growing weed that sprawls out in a circular pattern with tiny, green leaves growing along downy, red stems. Equally tiny flowers bloom in summer that will eventually mature into several thousand seeds that can either germinate right away or lie dormant awaiting optimum weather conditions.
This prolific weed is easily identified by its three-leaf growing patterns. A low-growing weed, it prefers poor soil or sparse lawns that offer little competition. It does occasionally produce seed from tiny, white flowers but more often propagates itself by taking root along trailing stems.
Also known as Poa annua, this grassy, perennial weed is a lighter shade of green than most turfgrasses and has a shallow root system. Next to crabgrass, it’s one of the most prolific seed producers. Each individual plant has the capacity to produce up to 5,000 seeds per season. If you have more than one Poa annua plant in your Bermuda grass, a preventative treatment is going to be your best bet to remove them.
How Do Pre-Emergent Weed Killers Work?
Preventative herbicides use different active ingredients to get rid of weeds. Each ingredient is designed to break down different parts of the weed to prevent growth and seed production.
Some are formulated with targeted ingredients that create a barrier around seeds to prevent germination and sprouting. Meanwhile, others employ their active ingredients to break the plant down at the cellular level to stop growth in its tracks. My own product testing and research have revealed some really effective ones, which we’ll discuss in just a moment!
Will Pre-Emergent Products Kill Bermuda Grass?
The tricky thing about removing weeds from Bermuda grass is that it’s sometimes categorized as a weed itself. Some people actually find themselves needing to remove Bermuda from their St. Augustine, fescue, or centipedegrass lawns.
So how do you remove invasive weeds without killing your Bermuda grass in the process? Selective herbicides are your best option. They focus primarily on the unique biology of different weeds versus targeting all plants they come into contact with.
Pre-Emergent Weed Control For Bermuda Grass Reviewed
After several seasons of testing and trying out the many weed prevention formulas on the market, I’ve narrowed down my list to the top five picks for the best pre-emergent weed killer for Bermuda grass. Allow me to do away with all the time, effort, and expense that product testing typically requires by sharing my findings with you!
- Only one application needed per season
- Prevents growth and seed formation for up to nine weeks
- One bag covers up to 5,000 sq ft.
- Depending on severity of infestation, more than one bag/application may be needed
I was really interested to see how this high-profile brand performed in removing weeds — particularly in Bermuda grass — and I like the fact that you only need to apply it once in spring when soil temperatures are around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a great choice for crabgrass, poa annua, henbit, and chickweed prevention.
Pendimethalin (which is toxic to pets and people) is the active ingredient in this product. Be sure to always wear protective clothing if choosing this one.
WeedX works by halting plant cell division. If the cells can’t divide, the plant won’t grow. This effect lasts up to 9 weeks, which coincides with the growth cycle of most weeds. It seems to focus more on eliminating existing weeds rather than preventing seed germination (I did see a few new bluegrass weeds popping up). Per the label, this product may not target deeply burrowed seeds or those introduced after application. Overall, though, it worked really well for the number of weeds I had already growing.
How To Use: Apply ready-to-use granules with a push spreader once in spring and again in fall, as needed. Then, repeat every two months. One 10lb bag covers up to 5,000 sq ft.
Check Scotts WeedEx latest price on Amazon
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 Barricade, this option from Quali-Pro is a weed killer for lawns and ornamental beds that needs to be watered in. What I really liked was the expanded formulation that targets a longer list of weeds and invasive grasses. And because of the different application methods (handheld sprayer vs. spreader), one 5lb bottle is good for up to a whopping 44,000 sq ft. This means multiple applications for the same price if you have a smaller space to treat.
Keep in mind that these yellow granules focus on preventing weed seed germination and not already growing weeds. One application lasts for up to 6 months.
How To Use: Using a backpack or hand sprayer, mix the recommended amount of herbicide for your turf type with roughly 4 liters (1 gallon) of water.
Check the latest price of Quali-Pro Pre-Emergent here
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
- Effective on crabgrass as well as other grassy weeds
- Prevents both spring and winter seedlings with just 2 applications
- Stops crabgrass at cellular level
- May not effect weed seeds deposited weeks after application
I tested this second option from Scotts — specifically formulated for crabgrass — on my back lawn. The difference between this product and the first is their target and frequency of application. WeedEX is better for grassy weeds but this one also targets broadleaf weeds.
This pre-emergent works in a similar way to WeedEX by halting plant cell division in mature weeds and newly germinated seedlings. But again, as per the label, this product may not cover deeply burrowed seeds or those introduced and germinated after application. A second application may be needed in some cases.
How To Use: Apply using a push spreader or by hand in early spring or fall.
Check the latest price of Scotts Grassy Weed Preventer here on Amazon
Customer Reviews: Lawn experts are raving about how well this product works when applied at the prescribed rate and time. It breaks down both newly emerging seedlings as well as mature weeds, making it their only choice of pre-emergent. 4.3 / 5 stars.
- Effective on Crabgrass, poa annua, goosegrass, and henbit
- Beneficial on lawns and garden borders
- No significant impact when used around in border plantings
- Must be watered in to facilitate activation
When testing this, I really appreciated that Anderson’s Barricade eliminates grassy weeds growing in garden beds and lawns without harming desirable plants. However, I still recommend reading the plant list on the bag to ensure your ornamental plantings are 100% safe. The active ingredient, Prodiamine, is a selective herbicide formulated to control not only seed germination but weed growth as well. Note that proper timing is crucial to the effectiveness of this product.
The only drawback was the stains made by granules that settled into the crevices of the stones that line my borders. Make sure to sweep any stragglers into the target area to avoid this.
How To Use: Apply the recommended amount per sq ft either by hand or with a push spreader, depending on the size of your target area. Then, water in with at least ½” of water within 14 days of application.
Customer Reviews: Surprisingly, many homeowners chose this option over others despite it being a bit pricier. It’s seen as a great value for the money, given that it blocks seeds and mature plants from developing. 4.5 / 5 stars
- Easy to apply
- Prevents roots from growing and spreading when applied in spring and fall
- Prevents weeds prior to planting in borders
- Must be applied at specific times for quick results
My last pick for the best pre-emergent for Bermuda grass is from Fertilome. I applied this before I fertilized my lawn (you don’t want to feed the weeds!) and one thing I discovered… before putting new plants in ornamental beds, till the soil first. Then you can apply this product. Tilling will loosen any embedded weed seeds and bring them to the surface. Again, I do recommend that you read the list of plants this can be safely used near.
Dithiopyr is the active ingredient. It prevents roots from growing as they emerge from the seed. This ingredient is also why you’ll want to wear protective clothing when applying with your spreader. Once granules are watered in and dry, your lawn will be safe to walk and play on.
How To Use: Using a push spreader, apply an even coat over your dry lawn. Water within 30 days of application.
Check the latest price of Hi-Yield Weed Stopper here
Customer Reviews: Lawn connoisseurs are reporting they won’t use anything else, especially for the elimination of crabgrass. It’s also quite forgiving. If you miss your spring application window, throw it down anyway. Then, do it again in the fall for full effectiveness. 4.4 / 5 stars
When To Apply Pre-Emergents On Bermuda Grass
As we’ve seen, some pre-emergent options only need to be applied once per season. Others could use a follow-up application in the fall, which you’ll want to do:
- In the event you miss the ideal application window
- If your weed infestation is severe
- And depending on the type of weed you’re targeting
What all of them have in common is that their success is all about timing. Some people end up applying it at the wrong time only to have weeds return in full force. This results in a poor impression of the product. Stick to the recommended timing and frequency recommended on the label and you’ll be weed-free in no time.
Applying a pre-emergent to your Bermuda grass 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. For larger infestations, a second application can be spread four weeks after the first in areas with no snowfall. Caution should be taken if you plan on reseeding your lawn in the same season. Pre-emergents will keep those seeds from germinating, as well.
Pre-emergents can be applied in the colder months when temperatures are at or above 13C / 55F. This is only really recommended in areas with mild winters. As with fall applications, applying herbicides at this time of year will prevent seeds from germinating in the spring.
Spring is the optimum time to begin a pre-emergent regimen for your Bermuda grass. This is the time when dormant seeds that fell the previous fall and any newly emerging shoots will be most vulnerable. You’ll want to wait until outside temps reach 13C / 55F for it to be effective on both.
How To Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Killers To Bermuda Grass
Applying a preventative treatment to your lawn is simply a matter of evenly distributing granules with a rolling spreader or mixing a water-soluble formula in a backpack or hand sprayer. Remember to wear protective clothing when using either one. Which one is best for you will depend on the size of your target area.
Verdict: Best Bermuda Grass Pre-Emergent
The verdict is in! Timing is everything! The best Bermuda grass weed preventer for you will target the exact type of weeds you have, the size of your area to be treated, and most importantly…the precise timing of application.
My preferred product by a reasonable distance was Scotts WeedEx for its simplicity, great performance, and excellent value for money.
Best For Broadcasting
Powerful Pendimethalin herbicide base provides excellent results with a single application. Covers 5,000 sq.ft.
FAQ’s Bermuda Grass Weed Control