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

Preventative Weed Control

Shrub bed with pre-emergent weed control applied

As spring approaches, we begin to think about getting out of the house and spending time outdoors. Whether it is in the garden, planting flowers or sitting back on the patio or deck relaxing, the one thing we do not look forward to is pulling weeds.

A good way to free up your valuable time and keep weeds at bay is to apply a preventative weed control in your landscape beds before weeds begin to grow. A pre-emergent broadleaf weed control or a preventative weed control is a material applied to mulch and/or landscape stone to suppress weed growth. Applications are best when done in the spring before weed seeds in the soil germinate and start to grow. Properly timed treatments will save you countless hours of pulling weeds or a great deal of money by not having to pay your landscaper to do it.

Preventative weed control works by creating a barrier on your mulch, stone, soil, etc., and when weeds germinate and grow roots, the roots then come in contact with the barrier. The preventative weed control then stops the growth of the weed. These materials are not perfect and don’t prevent every type of weed, but they will make a significant difference in your landscape when applied correctly.

There are a wide variety of preventative weed controls available at your local garden center or box store. Preen is a popular granular material that is easily spread in your landscape beds. When purchasing a pre-emergent weed control, it is recommended to check the product label and use a material that does not prevent the growth of perennial plants like tulips, daffodils, and day lilies. Also, when reading the product label, ensure that the product is designed for use in landscape beds and does not adversely affect your ornamental trees and/or shrubs.

Where to apply preventative weed control

Pre-emergent weed control for landscape beds can go on mulch, wood chips, shredded rubber mulch, rocks, stone type areas and soil. However, the effectiveness of the application varies greatly depending on what is treated. The level of control is significantly better on mulch or a small landscape stone than on bare soil. The treatment of pre-emergent weed control on bare soil provides short-term control and might require several applications a year. Therefore, it is recommended to mulch bare soil prior to applying your pre-emergent broad leaf weed control treatments.

Pre-emergent weed control in a shrub bed

The above images show the pre-emergent weed control applied in a shrub bed. Compared to a nickle, you can see just how small the product actually is.


Shrub bed with pre-emergent weed control applied

The above image is the same shrub bed with the pre-emergent weed control applied, from a distance.


Weed growth on driveways, sidewalks and patios is best controlled with liquid post emergent weed controls, as granular preventative weed control products normally produce poor results in these locations. In part, this is due to these locations having high foot traffic. High traffic areas alter the breakdown of the material and the soil structure, if there is soil present in these areas. Another factor is that most granular materials are not fine enough to make its way down to the soils surface through the small space between your landscaper pavers and/or cracks in the sidewalk. In these cases, it is best to control weeds with a post emergent weed control.

Cultural practices

Beyond applying a pre-emergent broadleaf weed control on a yearly basis there are other things you can do to minimize weed growth in your landscape beds. Install breathable landscape fabric when new beds are created prior to applying your mulch or stone. Additionally, maintain a layer of approximately three inches of mulch in your landscape beds. We recommend using a quality mulch product, preferably shredded hardwood mulch. These types of mulch help suppress weed growth as well as regulate moisture and temperature levels in your landscape beds. Further, be cautious not to over mulch as too much mulch can be detrimental to the health of your landscape. Most importantly, do not hand pull weeds, as it is extremely difficult to remove the plant in its entirety. In most cases a portion of the plant or its root system will be left in the soil and simply regrow. It is best to treat weeds that breakthrough your barrier with a non-systemic post emergent liquid herbicide.


Instead of spending the season pulling those annoying weeds from your shrub beds, you may be interested in investing in preventative weed control for your shrub beds this springtime. If you are in our service area and have questions regarding pre-emergent weed control, please give our office a call at 908-281-7888 or request an estimate.

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