Effects of lawn ferts and weed control on fruit trees

5 years ago I did a lawn renovation that involved pretty heavy dosages of broadleaf weed control, crabgrass preventor, and over seeding with a slit seeder. The lawn turned out great and since then I’ve spent each year using dimension crabgrass preventor along with turf builder and 4D to maintain a generally weed free lawn.

Now I am going to be planting fruit trees in a small portion of my lawn and I’m curious how I should address my lawn maintainance in that area. I’ll have 4-5 trees that I plan on mulching a roughly 3 feet diameter under each tree. I still plan to mow this part of the lawn weekly. Will it be okay to use nitrogen and turf builder in the general location of the trees in order to keep broadleaf weeds under control. I plan to be extra careful around the trees as to not put pesticides and herbicides directly on them or inside the drip line. But it has me a bit worried as to whether this will have any negative effects on my trees.

I see a lot of youtube videos of home orchards and it seems like most people have large parcels of land and many times their trees are out in the middle of large overgrown grassy fields (aka stephen hayes). That’s definately not my situation .

Curious to your thoughts on this.


I’m not sure what 4D is, or what is used in dimension crabgrass preventor, but in general adult fruit trees can tolerate most herbicides fairly well. Commercial growers regularly use herbicides within the drip line. Even right up next to the trunk.

That said, young newly planted trees are a different story. They act more like large broad leafed weeds. I don’t use any systemic or soil active herbicides around new trees, but only rely on mulch or a non-systemic, non-soil activated herbicide for weed control around new trees. If I use a systemic near a new tree, I’m very careful not to get it on the tree, not even any mist.

I think you’d be OK to use your lawn products around new trees, as long as you had a decent buffer zone. My guess is about 8’ away would be plenty safe.

Thanks Olpea for the info. I won’t feel so bad about using it and I’ll bUT I’ll likely keep a pretty good buffer from the trees just to be safe.

For the record Dimension is the most common control for crabgrass and it acts as a pre-emergent and prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating that were dropped the previous year. 2/4D is the most common herbicide used in lawn care to control hundreds of different weeds and broadleaf weeds like dandilion, nutsedge, and plantain.


I thought when you mentioned 4D you meant 24-D, but there are so many variations of herbicides I wasn’t sure. 24-D is listed as a brush and woody plants killer, but also listed for use under orchard trees. I’ve used it around my trees with no observable problems.