4 Step Lawn Care Packages – Good Idea?

You see them in just about every hardware store, garden center and mass merchandizer – 4 step lawn care packages.  They are usually comprised of

  1. A preemergence herbicide and fertilizer combination for spring
  2. A weed and feed herbicide and fertilizer combination for early summer or early fall
  3. An insecticide product for summer and
  4. A winterizer fertilizer product for late fall


Of course, depending on the manufacturer or location, other products are either added into the group or not included.  Others such as fall fertilizer and summer fungicides may take the place of any of the above.


The question is: are these packages a good idea?  As with many other things in life, it depends.  For the most part, the answer is no.  Yes, they usually offer a savings over buying each of the products individually, and if the lawn is really needy in terms of fertility and pest control, then they might make sense.


However, these packages are a one-size-fits-all approach to lawn care.  Each of the components may or may not be needed on a given lawn at a specific time.  As well, the human tendency is “well, I bought it, I’m going to put it down whether I need it or not”.  Another unfortunate happening is that uninformed property owners simply don’t know what they need or when to put it down and so they simply follow the 4 steps blindly – and in so doing, apply pest control products for pests they don’t have.


When it comes to lawn care products, the common sense approach is to establish the need for the product, shop for the key ingredients that are required to deliver the desired results and apply them according to label directions at the right time.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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