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Scotts 4 step lawn approach doesn’t provide what your lawn truly needs to look and perform its best. Learn what’s missing from Scotts Lawn Program and the issues it can cause. Weed and feed products are useful, but they’re not ideal for all situations. They can potentially cause problems if you need to reseed the lawn afterward. Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass Plus Weed Preventer

The 4 Big Problems with the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care Approach: DIY Concerns for Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, & N. Kentucky

People like things that are easy and for good reason. Our lives are already so busy, the last thing that we want to do is waste unnecessary time on tasks that can be simplified.

That’s exactly why the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is so popular. Scotts LawnService is capitalizing on your desire to have a simplified and easy-to-follow program that takes the guesswork out of your lawn care.

The trouble is, the program is severely lacking.

It’s not even close to everything that your lawn needs to look and perform its best. In order to give you a sense of what’s missing, let’s walk through each of the steps in this 4 step lawn care program and fill in the missing elements.

Step 1 (Problem 1)

The first step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is crabgrass preventer and lawn food. The program advises getting an application down some time “on or before Easter.”

First and foremost, that timeline is concerning. We understand that Scotts is attempting to simplify the program by using a holiday that you’ll remember but the date of Easter changes every year.

The timing of when you get crabgrass preventer (or more specifically, “pre-emergent”) down is absolutely critical to its success. It has less to do with a specific date as it does the soil temperatures and we are watching those closely to ensure that we’re starting the program at the ideal time.

It’s important to put the product down prior to crabgrass seeds beginning to germinate since the product works by forming a barrier that prevents it from growing.

Another problem with Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care is that one application is probably not enough to prevent a weed that is as persistent and unceasing as crabgrass.

At Oasis, we apply two rounds of crabgrass pre-emergent due to its tenacity. In the spring, we’re also prone to getting a lot of rain and that can breakdown the product to some degree. By putting down two applications, we ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent this stubborn weed.

Of course, if it does break through, we also include spot-spraying of post-emergent crabgrass control in our program to knock it back. Addressing breakthrough is a key element that the Scotts program is missing. Even the best crabgrass prevention efforts are not 100% effective.

Step 2 (Problem 2)

The next step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is weed control plus lawn food. The biggest problem with the product needed for step two is that it’s a granular weed control product which is far less effective than a liquid weed control product—particularly one that is professional grade.

With this store-bought product from Scotts, the lawn must be wet when you apply it with no rain in the immediate forecast. Scotts is upfront about that. They say their product must be applied on a “calm day, on a damp lawn, and when rain is not expected for at least 24 hours.”

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But what a pain to have to wait for these ideal weather conditions when you likely have work or other things to attend to. If you only have your weekends to work on your lawn, finding this ideal day may be challenging.

Plus, even if you apply when the conditions are just right, research from Ohio State University shows that store-bought (non-professional-grade) products are only 40 percent effective as compared to professional-grade weed control products. When weeds are often one of homeowners’ biggest complaints, why accept 40 percent effectiveness?

It’s also worth mentioning the timeline of Step Two, which is to apply “near Memorial Day.” By Memorial Day, you are already going to have so many weeds. That is on the late side to start aggressively attacking weeds as you ought to be.

Step 3 (Problem 3)

Now we’re at the mid-summer point and the next step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program is lawn food with iron.

But your lawn needs so much more than just lawn food. This is really the time when your lawn care program should be attacking crabgrass breakthrough as well as nutsedge and summer annual weeds, which requires their own specialized treatments.

At this time, your lawn care program should also be including grub control and treatment for surface-feeding insects, which can truly wreak havoc on your turf if not dealt with.

The Scotts 4-step program never gets into addressing lawn insects, which are a serious threat.

Step 4 (Problem 4)

The final step in the Scotts 4 Step Lawn Care program features a product for Fall Lawn Food. It does not address weeds, which absolutely need to be treated again.

The bottom line is that from steps 1 through 4, this program is very incomplete. It is missing quite a bit, including a focus on soil health, which is truly the secret to a fantastic lawn.

At Oasis, we’re focused on soil health throughout the entire program, utilizing bionutrition that has a significant impact on the overall results.

The Truth? 4 Step Lawn Care is a Bit Misleading

In theory, the idea of a simple 4-step program sounds nice. Scotts did everything they could to simplify the program and make it sound easy for do-it-yourselfers. However, it’s also quite misleading in that it’s marketed as being a complete program when it’s really not. It’s missing so many important services and when you start adding them in, it’s not all that simple (or cost-effective) after all.

How Much Does 4 Step Lawn Care Really Cost?

Speaking of cost, it adds up quicker than you might think. The bags alone are $110 on Amazon, but that’s assuming you don’t need to buy more than that. If you have a larger lawn, you will.

You can expect a cheap spreader to cost $60 to $90, and that’s not even for a good-quality one. The costs start to add up quickly and for what is likely going to give you sub-par results, you have to question whether it’s worth it.

No 4 Step Lawn Care Guarantee

Plus, there are no guarantees. If it doesn’t work, what’s your recourse? Scotts is not going to refund you for purchasing all of the bags.

When you work with a professional lawn care company, they’re going to stand behind their work. If weeds don’t die after spraying them, they’ll return to take care of them.

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Working with a pro eliminates the hassles as well. Let’s be honest, it’s a pain to have to go out and buy these products—not to mention having to worry about the timeline for applications. That’s why we find that Oasis Turf & Tree customers really don’t hire us to make their lawn beautiful (even though we do), they hire us to take away their worries.

As simple as 4 step lawn care may sound, you probably don’t want to have to worry about doing any of it yourself. You’d rather have a professional who knows exactly what your lawn needs (and when), take the reins. Fortunately, when you hand over your lawn care needs to Oasis Turf & Tree, you get to hand over your worries, too.

Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, or Northern Kentucky home? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get the lawn of your dreams!

Can I Seed After Applying Weed & Feed?

Applying a weed and feed product to your lawn may seem like a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. Not only are you able to get rid of pesky weeds, but the fertilizer contained in the product will also help the grass thrive. Weed and feed products aren’t ideal for all situations, though, and may cause some problems if you plan to reseed the lawn soon after application.

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What Is Weed & Feed?

As the name implies, weed and feed products contain both a fertilizer and an herbicide to control weeds while feeding the surrounding grass. If the lawn has grass that is already established, this works well. The product should be applied a few weeks after the final frost once the grass and weeds are visibly growing because applying the product on dormant weeds will have no effect. Apply it periodically throughout the rest of the year as well to keep weeds under control.

Most weed and feed products come in granule form, and you should apply them to damp grass to ensure activation. For best results, mow two to four days before application and apply weed and feed products when no additional rain is expected for at least 48 hours. After application, do not mow the treated grass for at least seven days to allow the herbicide time to work.

  • Always wear hand and eye protection when spreading weed and feed products to prevent possible chemical burns or other injuries to the eyes or sensitive skin.
  • Wear rubber or chemical-resistant boot or shoe covers as well as appropriate gloves.
  • Keep people and pets off of the newly treated areas to prevent accidental poisoning or other illness.
  • Many weed and feed products contain pesticides like 2,4-D, dicamba, and MCPP. These can kill beneficial insects and have been linked to serious health issues in humans.

Hindering New Growth

Weed and feed products work by preventing new growth, effectively stopping weed seeds from sprouting and newly sprouted weeds from flourishing. There are many products available and there are differences in the way they take out seeds. Some (called pre-emergent herbicides) are applied before the weed seeds germinate; others (post-emergent herbicides) kill weeds already present.

The herbicides used aren’t specific enough to only target weeds, however; they’ll have the same negative effect on grass seeds and any new grass growth. It can take up to four weeks for the herbicide effect to fade, so sowing grass soon after applying weed and feed is likely futile because new grass won’t be able to grow.

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When to Sow Seed

If you must sow grass seed after applying weed and feed, wait at least four to six weeks before doing so to ensure the herbicide won’t prevent the seeds from sprouting.

Different grass varieties thrive when planted at different times of the year. If you have a specific variety in of grass mind, find out the most favorable time to sow it to ensure the best results.

Ideally you should sow seeds in the fall far enough in advance of frost that the new grass will have several weeks to start growing before going dormant. You can also sow grass seed in the early spring, though if you do so you should hold off on applying weed and feed for at least four to eight weeks to ensure it doesn’t damage the young grass.

Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass Plus Weed Preventer

Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass Plus Weed Preventer features 2 in 1 formula which is designed to feed your new grass and prevent tough weeds in one convenient product. It is specially developed to provide your new grass the essential nutrients it needs to promote stronger roots and help it grow thicker and quicker compared to unfed turf. Plus, it is very effective in preventing troublesome weeds such crabgrass and dandelions for up to 6 weeks without damaging your new grass. It is also great for establishing sod and grass plugs sod or reseeding.

Available in a 21.52 lb. bag and covers up to 5,000 square feet.

Features and Specs

Active Ingredient Mesotrione – 0.08% Total Nitrogen – 21% Available Phosphate – 22% Soluble Potash – 4% Iron – 1%
Target pests Large Crabgrass, Smooth Crabgrass, Dandelion, Plantain, Carpetweed, Chickweed, Lambsquarters, Purslane, Corn Speedwell, Ground Ivy, Hairy Bittercress, Henbit, Parsley Piert, Pennsylvania Smartweed and others
* See label for complete list
For use in Newly Seeded, Over-seeded, or Newly planted Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Centipedegrass, as well as fine, spreading and creeping Red fescues
Application It is advisable to apply product on a calm day and before you water plants that are newly planted. Do it when the temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pet safe Yes, if followed by directions on label
Coverage Area Covers up to 5,000 sq. ft.
Special Features 2-in-1 formula that feeds new grass and prevents weeds
Shipping Weight 22.67 lbs
Manufacturer Scotts (Mfg. Number: 23200)
UPC 032247232005



  • Scotts Broadcast/Rotary Spreaders – Set to 4 1/2
  • Scotts Drop Spreaders – Set to 7


Large crabgrass, Smooth crabgrass, Dandelion, Broadleaf plantain, Buckhorn plantain, Carpetweed, Common chickweed, Common lambsquarters, Common purslane, Corn speedwell, Ground ivy, Hairy bittercress, Henbit, Parsley piert, Pennsylvania smartweed, Persian speedwell, Pokeweed, Purslane speedwell, Redroot pigweed, Shepherd’s-purse, Velvetleaf, White clover, Yellow woodsorrel, Flatsedge, Yellow nutsedge

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