Fairway Green, Inc
9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14 Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 281-7888

Applying Pre-emergent Weed Control for Landscape Beds

What is Pre-emergent?

A pre-emergent is a type of weed control used to control broadleaf weeds as they germinate and before they become a problem. There are many products out on the market today. Most times it is a granular (pellet) formulation type product that is used but liquids are also available. For many landscape beds, weeds will seemingly infest over-night and homeowners will spend countless hours picking them by hand or paying a landscaper to pull them out. Applying pre-emergent weed control will give you a fighting chance to keep a little green in your wallet and the weeds out of your hands.

How does Pre-emergent for landscape beds work?

Pre-emergent works by creating an invisible barrier in the mulch/soil area. Weeds are controlled as they germinate and come in contact with the barrier.

Not all weeds and grasses are controlled by one type of pre-emergent product. There are pre-emergent products that work on annuals, some that work on perennials, and even ones that work on both. Product choice is extremely critical to ensure you don’t harm desired plants that are in your landscape beds that have not emerged by the time of application. This is especially true for homeowners that have desired perennials in their landscapes.

For example, daffodils in the picture would have been controlled if the wrong pre-emergent herbicide was utilized. We recommend applying pre-emergent weed control that is safe for your desired plants and still controls the majority of weeds. For the few undesired weeds that emerge later in the season, a non-selective herbicide like Round-up can be used directly on the weed. Always be sure to read the label prior to applying pre-emergent weed control in your landscape beds.

Applying Pre-Emergent: How to Choose the Ideal Locations?

Pre-emergent weed control for landscape beds can go on mulch, wood chips, shredded rubber mulch, rocks, stone type areas, etc. A granular product can be spread with a low volume back pack sprayer or hand crank type spreader. Driveways, walkways, and other high traffic areas should be avoided with a pre-emergent. The more traffic there is on an area, like a rock driveway where cars travel daily, the faster the material will break down and reduce its capabilities to control weeds. Weeds in these types of areas can be controlled with a combination of pre-emergent and post-emergent products, but this is outside the general scope of this blog.

Things You Can Do In Your Landscape To Help Reduce Weed Growth.

There are some things that you or your landscaper can do in the landscape beds to minimize the weeds.

  1. When installing new planting beds around your property, use a breathable landscape fabric instead of plastic or vinyl. Once trees, plants and flowers are planted and beds are edged, cut and lay down the landscape fabric prior to mulching. This will create a barrier that will help reduce weeds. The fabric can be purchased at any garden supply store and are easy to cut to any size you need. Depending on the thickness of the material, it can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years in most landscape beds.
  2. One of the easiest ways to reduce weeds in your landscape beds is a layer of quality mulch. Not only does mulch help retain moisture, but it also creates an additional barrier to reduce the weeds. Most homeowners prefer a double or triple shredded hardwood mulch that has been dyed. The dye used, which comes in many colors, will help the mulch retain its color for up to a year. A layer of mulch that is maintained around three to four inches is all that is recommended to help reduce the weeds in your landscape beds.
  3. Hand pulling weeds is also an effective way to reduce visible weeds. Keep in mind that by hand pulling the weed/plants, some of the roots may be left behind in the soil. Even if it looks like you got it all out, one little piece of root left in the soil can regrow the plant.
  4. Minimize traffic on the mulched areas. Try to not move the mulch around by raking or digging in the bed. This will disturb the mulch and weeds can start to grow.


Weeds are a nuisance and your time is valuable. One surefire way to help with weed management throughout the season is to treat them preventatively by applying pre-emergent weed control to your landscape beds. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here is a link to our tree and shrub service page where you can learn more about our Landscape Bed Weed Management Program. Also, if you are in our service area and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 908-281-7888

9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 United States | (908) 281-7888
Phone: (908) 281-7888 Fairway Green Inc.