Avoid Combination Fertilizers - "Weed and Feed" Products

1) Granular “weed and feed” products are over applied to the entire lawn, not merely to areas of weeds, so are counter to pesticide reduction strategies. The mixture of fertilizer and herbicide is incompatible because one ingredient should be applied to the entire lawn, and one is intended for problem spots.

2) Granular “weed and feed” products persist longer in the environment. They off-gas unpredictably over extended periods of time, so neighbours affected by the off-gassing, who have to leave their homes, don’t know when it is safe to return.

3) Granular “weed and feed” products stick on shoes and children’s hands and are very mobile. Dust is carried by the wind and tracked indoors.

4) The weed-killers (phenoxy herbicides) are contaminated with chlorinated dioxins. These persistent, bioaccumulative toxic substances are linked to cancers, and to reproductive, immunological and neurological problems.

5) Birds eat “weed and feed” granules as grit. Quick-release fertilizers, commonly used in most weed and feed products, apply a quick and heavy dose of nutrients to the lawn, and are more likely to wash off into local lakes. This increases algae growth in lakes and reduces oxygen levels, killing fish and other organisms.  

Skip the weed and feed! Blanket fertilizer/herbicides can harm beneficial insects and soil health; try hand digging weeds.


Province of Québec:

On March 5, 2003, the province of Québec adopted the highest standards in North America by approving a province-wide ban on urban pesticide use. Québec’s new pesticide code goes a step further by prohibiting the sale of fertilizer-pesticide mixtures and mixed packages (i.e. weed and feed) which contain commonly used active ingredients in lawn pesticides such as: 2,4-D (all chemical forms), Mecoprop (all chemical forms), MCPA (all chemical forms) and Malathion, as of April 2004. Source: Québec’s Pesticide Management Code

City of Moncton, NB — Jim Moore, Supervisor Parks _ Grounds

“Combination products, like the product Feed _ Weed, have been found to be over-purchased by 67 per cent and nearly 53 per cent of purchasers are not reading the product labels. Products are over-applied to the entire lawn, not merely to areas of weeds, and so are counter to pesticide reduction strategies. The mixture of fertilizer and herbicide, for example, isn’t compatible because one ingredient should be applied to the entire lawn, and one is intended for problem spots.” Source: Moncton Times _ Transcript, May 12, 2006

Jack Wetmore, Board Member– New Brunswick Horticultural Trades Association:

Avoid the fertilizer/herbicide-combined products, more commonly known as ‘weed and feeds,’ both men strongly recommend. Mr. Wetmore recently examined one brand and found a single bag to contain about 20 times more herbicide than needed.

“Weed and feeds” are a half-baked tool that don’t work, make a lot money and put 10 to 20 times more chemicals on the lawn than are needed,” he said. Source: NB Telegraph-Journal, June 2, 2005

Canadian Medical Association

The Canadian Medical Association calls on the federal government to rescind the registration of combined fertilizer/pesticide products. Source: February, 2005, CMA letter to federal Health Minister, Ujjal Dosanjh

Health Canada – Pest Management Regulatory Agency Lynn Skillings, Project Officer – Alternative Strategies And Regulatory Affairs Division

The healthy lawns strategy calls for an assessment of pesticide product types available to homeowners, improved pesticide product labeling, harmonized classification of domestic pesticide products, homeowner education on healthy lawn practices, and enhancing the knowledge requirements of vendors and services providers.

Skillings said product types available to homeowners are to be assessed for compatibility with IPM principles and approaches. Such products include fertilizer-herbicide combination products, insecticide-fungicide formulations, broadcast application products, and products with multiple active ingredients.



Efforts are current underway to implement a number of recommendations for these products. Fungicide-insecticide formulation recommendations suggest insect/plant pathogen linkages must be demonstrated, and the convenience of use should not be a strong enough argument for this formulation type. Skillings said their research has found that combination control products are largely incompatible with IPM principles. Source: TURF _ Recreation Magazine, Jan/Feb 2004.



Lawns that are maintained properly through regular care (i.e. feeding, aeration, watering, and mowing), should not require regular blanket spraying of pesticides, but only ‘spot treating’ of limited problem areas. We strongly recommend that “weed and feed” products not be used, since they unnecessary blanket pesticides which are generally not required. Source: Advertisement in Family Gardening, 2001
(Information adapted from email list serve by Mike Christie)