Answer: Yes, it can but it is not recommended.
There is a special type of lawn fertilizer that people nowadays use to simultaneously fertilize their lawns and kill any weeds. The special fertilizer is essentially a mix of fertilizer and an herbicide that is supposed to make fertilizing and killing weeds to be more convenient.
Also known as weed ‘n feed, this special type of fertilizer is sold by many sellers online and in brick and mortar stores despite having substances that are not very friendly to humans. It is estimated that about 30 million pounds of this type of fertilizer is applied to lawns, parks, and cemeteries across the United States.
While it is convenient to have a lawn fertilizer that is also a weed killer, you should neither purchase nor use weed ‘n feed products no matter how tempting. This is because they are not recommended and because there are better and more organic ways to kill lawn weeds.
Why Weed ‘n Feed Fertilizers Are Not Recommended
Weed ‘n feed fertilizers are not recommended for five key reasons.
Excessive use of herbicides which is not eco-friendly
By applying a weed ‘n feed product evenly on your entire lawn when fertilizing it, you will also certainly be applying an herbicide to large areas of your lawn where it is not required. Most of the time, weeds are restricted to between five and ten percent of lawn surface areas.
This means every time you use a weed ‘n feed product to fertilize your lawn, you will be adding significant quantities of herbicide to a large section of your lawn that does not require it. This excessive use of herbicides is not environment-friendly because the herbicide chemicals will not be absorbed and can, therefore, affect those who use your lawn and nearby water sources.
They harm the environment
Lawn fertilizers that can kill weeds have chemicals in them. Usually, all the chemicals do not get absorbed by grass and other plants regardless of how think your lawn is. Because all the chemicals do not get absorbed, when it rains they usually wash off and travel into water bodies such as rivers, streams, and underground water tables. When this happens, they affect the water quality and can lead to the creation of algal blooms, which can kill fish and other aquatic life in rivers, lakes, and even oceans.
Birds that feed on excessive weed ‘n feed granules have been found dead in massive numbers in different places across the world.
They have chemicals that get indoors
Lawn fertilizers that can kill weeds have got chemicals and granules that can be accidentally carried indoors by yourself, your partner, your children, or pets on your shoes or clothes. Multiple studies have shown that individuals living near parks or lawns that are exposed to weed ‘n feed chemicals, usually have toxic chemical residues on their clothes, their bodies, and in their blood. These chemicals can cause dangerous diseases such as cancer if they persist.
They negatively affect lawns in the long run
While applying a weed ‘n feed fertilizer can improve your lawn significantly because it is fertilizer and a weed killer, in the long-term the product will affect your lawn negatively. This is because continuously applying excessive herbicide on your lawn means you are adding chemicals that are not needed and not being used by your grass.
As the chemicals continue accumulating in your lawn’s topsoil, they will get to a toxic level and kill beneficial bacteria and fungi in it resulting in poor grass/ lawn health.
There are better ways of fertilizing and killing weeds
Probably the main reason why weed ‘n feed fertilizers are not recommended is that there are better ways of killing weeds and fertilizing lawn grass. For example, proper and regular caring of lawns through mowing, watering, aeration, and feeding, prevent the need to use inorganic fertilizers. Moreover, ways exist to deal with weeds without using chemicals as you will see in the section below.
Organic ways to kill lawn weeds
Natural weed control
The best and probably easiest way to kill weeds organically is to take extremely good care of your lawn. By doing this, you will be denying weeds the opportunity they need to strike and become a presence on your lawn.
Some of the ways to take care of your lawn include digging weeds out every time you spot them, using mulch to prevent weeds around the base of trees, and weeding weeds by the root using a sickle-blade or a dandelion digger.
If you like flame throwers, you now have the opportunity to purchase one that actually has a good use. A flame weeder is essentially a flame torch. It allows you to burn to death every weed that is giving your nightmares on your lawn.
The best thing about using a flame weeder to kill weeds is that it is fun and you feel very happy killing weeds with it. Nevertheless, you have to be careful with the flame when using a flame weeder. You also should not use a flame weeder when your lawn or region is extremely dry. You could start a catastrophic wildfire.
There are many herbicides available on the market. A good number of them are organic. They can kill weeds quickly and efficiently. This makes the use of organic herbicides one of the most convenient ways to deal with weeds.
However, if you choose to use organic herbicides, you should read about organic herbicides keenly because some of them can also kill grass.
One of the most commonly used ingredients in the market of herbicides is horticultural white vinegar. It kills weeds fast. Corn gluten is also a common ingredient in organic herbicides.
When killing weeds using an organic herbicide, use only the amount you need and focus also on areas such as walkway cracks, driveway cracks, and so on to completely eradicate weeds.
Make your own weed killer
There are many organic experts with videos on YouTube explaining how to create organic herbicides. You should try to create one yourself if you do not feel like purchasing one from Amazon or your local gardening store.
The very best time to neutralize weeds
You should kill weeds whenever they emerge. Do not give them time to grow or form deep roots. When dealing with weeds, you should make sure that you remove them by the root. This will make it nearly impossible for them to recover or survive in your garden. Remember, every time is a good time to kill weeds.