Best Pre-Emergent Weed Killer For Bermuda | When & How To Apply

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, while maintaining a relatively pristine appearance. 

These days, keeping our tropical lawns weed-free is a bit more economical. Yet, with new challenges to overcome, like weed varieties that thrive in drought and heatwaves. Conditions that Bermuda grass has proven pretty resilient against.  Especially when these vibrant lawns are treated with the best pre-emergent for Bermuda grass available. 

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, certain weed types do too. Dandelion, 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, in time, will overpower a mild weed infestation and eliminate them. 

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. While protecting your lawn at the same time. 

Types Of Weeds Found In Bermuda Grass 

Given the vast number of weed varieties out there, there are, luckily, relatively few that 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 

Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows in fast-multiplying clumps that force your grass to fight 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. Because one crabgrass plant can produce up to 700 seed pods in a single season. Containing 150,000 new weed seeds. 

Dandelion 

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’re all familiar, those yellow blossoms will evolve into wispy seed heads that can each cultivate up to 5000 new dandelion plants in your garden, in just one season.  

Spurge 

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. 

White Clover 

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 effectively propagates itself by taking root along trailing stems. 

Annual Bluegrass 

Also known as Poa Annua, this grassy, perennial weed is a lighter shade of green than most turfgrasses with a shallow root system. Next to crabgrass, it’s one of the most prolific seed producers. With each individual plant having the capacity to spread up to 5000 seeds, per season. If you have more than one Poa Annua plant in your Bermuda grass, a pre-emergent is going to be your best bet to remove them.  

How does Pre-Emergent Weed Control For Bermuda Grass Work 

Pre-emergent products use different active ingredients to accomplish the same task, getting rid of weeds. With each ingredient being 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. While others employ their active ingredients to break the plant down at the cellular level to stop the growth and spreading in its tracks. My own product testing and research have revealed some really effective ones which we’ll discuss in a moment. 

Will Pre-Emergent Herbicide Kill Bermuda Grass? 

The tricky thing about removing weeds from Bermuda grass is that some people actually find themselves needing to remove it from their St. Augustine, Fescue, or Centipede turf as a weed. So, how do you remove invasive weeds without killing your Bermuda grass in the process? Selective herbicides are your best option here, as these focus primarily on the unique biology of weeds. Which are a little different than that of grasses. 


Best Pre-Emergent For Bermuda Reviews 

After quite a few seasons of testing and trying out the many pre-emergent options 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 alleviate all the time, effort, and expense that product testing typically requires by sharing my findings with you.  


1. Scotts WeedEx Crabgrass Preventer Pre-Emergent Weed Control for Lawns 

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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 nearing the 55 degrees Fahrenheit mark. Pendimethalin is the active ingredient here, which is toxic to pets and people. So, be sure to wear protective clothing if choosing this one.

A great choice for crabgrass, poa annua, henbit, and chickweed prevention.

WeedX works by halting plant cell division. If the cells can’t divide, the plant won’t grow. This 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. Because I did see a few new bluegrass weeds popping up. But, per the label warning, this product may not cover 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 these ready-to-use granules, using a push spreader, once in spring and again in fall, if needed. Then, repeat every two months. and one 10 bag covers up to a full 5000 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. 

Pros      

  • Only one application needed per season
  • Prevents growth and seed formation for up to nine weeks
  • One bag covers up to 5000 sq ft.

Cons

  • Depending on severity of infestation, more than one bag/application may be needed 

2. Quali-Pro Prodiamine, Pre-Emergent Herbicide 

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Similar to Barricade, this option from Quali-Pro can also be applied to lawns and ornamental beds and needs to be watered in. What I really liked was the expanded formulation to eliminate a larger 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. But does so for up to 6 months. 

How To Use: Using a backpack or hand sprayer, mix the recommended amount of herbicide, based on the type of turf you have, 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

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 

3. Scotts Crabgrass, Pre Emergent Control for Lawns, Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer 

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I tested this 2nd option from Scotts, that’s specifically formulated for crabgrass, on my back lawn where this mostly grows. 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 warning, this product may not cover deeply burrowed seeds or those introduced and germinated after application. For this, a 2nd application may finish the job. 

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 on 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.

Pros      

  • Effective on crabgrass as well as other grassy weeds
  • Prevents both spring and winter seedlings with just 2 applications
  • Stops crabgrass at cellular level

Cons

  • May not effect weed seeds deposited weeks after application 

4. The Andersons Barricade Professional-Grade Granular Pre-Emergent Weed Control 

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When testing this, I really appreciated that Anderson’s Barricade eliminates grassy weeds growing in garden borders, as well as lawns, without harming your ornamentals. So, that’s where I chose to test this. I recommend reading the plant list on the bag, to ensure your border plantings are safe. The active ingredient, Prodiamine, is a selective, contact herbicide formulated to control not only seed germination but weed growth too. However, proper application timing is crucial to its effectiveness.

You do need to water-in this product because only weeds that come in contact with the granules and water will be eliminated. Within a week, I saw unsightly weeds shriveling away, leaving my plants and flowers untarnished. 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. 

Find Andersons Barricade on Amazon.com

Customer Reviews:  Surprisingly, homeowners would choose this option over others, despite it being a bit pricier. Saying it’s great value for money. Given that it blocks seeds and mature plants from developing. 4.5 / 5 stars

Pros      

  • Effective on Crabgrass, poa annua, goosegrass, and henbit
  • Beneficial on lawns and garden borders
  • No significant impact when used around in border plantings

Cons

  • Must be watered in to facilitate activation 

5. Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed and Grass Stopper 

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My last pick for 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, 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 used with, on the bag.  

Dithiopyr is the active ingredient in this option, as well. Preventing 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 watered in and the granules are dry, your lawn will be safe to walk and play on. 

How To Use: Using a push spreader, apply an even coat over your entire target area. When the ground is completely dry. Then, water within 30 days of application. 

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When to Apply Pre-Emergent 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 your time 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. Resulting in a poor impression of the product. Stick to the time window and frequency recommended on the label and you’ll be weed-free in no time. 

Fall Pre-Emergent For Bermuda Grass 

Applying a pre-emergent to your bermudagrass 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 2nd 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. 

Winter Pre-Emergent For Bermuda Grass 

Pre-emergents can be applied in the colder months before temperatures reach 13C / 55F. But, this is only really recommended in areas with mild winters. Applying herbicides at this time of year will serve to prevent seeds from germinating. Just as with fall applications. 

Spring Pre-Emergent For Bermuda Grass 

Spring is the optimum time to begin a pre-emergent regimen for your bermudagrass. This is the time when dormant seeds that fell 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.

How to Apply Pre-Emergent For Bermuda Grass 

Applying a pre-emergent to your lawn is simply a matter of evenly distributing granules with a rolling spreader or mixing a water-soluble option in a backpack or hand sprayer. Just 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 pre-emergent 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.

Feel free to follow the links for which every one of these pre-emergents for bermudagrass hits the mark for you. 

FAQ’s Pre-Emergent Weed Killer For Bermuda