tenacity herbicide

Tenacity Herbicide Review – A Cool Season Lawn Testimonial

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

Updated on


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One of the hottest lawn care herbicide products over the past couple of years has certainly been the rising popularity of Tenacity herbicide . Luckily I was able to get my hands on some for my fall lawn renovation before they temporarily ran out of stock.

Made by Syngenta, Tenacity contains the active ingredient, mesotrione. This unique ingredient can not only be used as both a pre and post-emergent herbicide but can also be used as an effective crabgrass killer while controlling more than 40 other grassy and broadleaf weeds – like clover, dandelion, and more – without affecting the germination of new grass seeds. 

After heavy core aeration and dethatching in the fall of 2018, and overseeding at 7 lbs./1,000 sq. ft. of Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra and GCI’s Premium TTTF, my grass came up nice and green. So green that I won the Jonathan Green ‘Show Us Your Lawn Content‘ for July 2019. However, there was one big problem: Creeping Bentgrass.

The core aeration propagated the bentgrass that was hiding under the soil. During the peak season, it was hard to notice – especially by those driving by or even walking along the sidewalk. However, the closer I looked, the more and more bentgrass I noticed. 

So, in late August, I started my attack. This was a little late in the game, particularly for the Massachusetts cool-season lawn, but we had a big lawn party on August 18th, and I knew I didn’t want to roll the dice with the possibility of a temporarily bleached lawn.  

Before the nitty-gritty, here’s a quick overview of some frequently asked questions about Tenacity herbicide:

Tenacity Herbicide Application Rates

Tenacity Application RatePre-Emergent Mix RatesPost-Emergent Mix Rates
For pre-emergent and post-emergent applications, apply 4 to 8 ounces of Tenacity per acre in at least 30 gallons of water per acre. For spot treatments, mix 0.33 ounces (0.5 teaspoons) of Tenacity Herbicide in 1 gallon of water to treat 1,000 square feet.Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Tenacity to 1 gallon of water to cover 1,000 sq ft. Water in with 1/4″ of irrigation or rainfall within 1-2 days of application.Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Tenacity with 1 1/2 teaspoons of non-ionic surfactant (NIS) to 1 gallon of water to cover 1,000 sq ft.

Be sure to always read the label before applying Tenacity herbicide.

How to Apply Tenacity Herbicide

  • Use the proper measurements as previously stated above
  • Fill a backpack sprayer with half of the total water (e.g. if you’re covering 2,000 sq. ft., then first fill to 1 gallon)
  • Add Tenacity herbicide and NIS (if using as a post-emergent) and fill with remaining water
  • Ensure product is mixed well – consider using a paint mixer drill attachment
  • Read about how long before Tenacity is rainfast.

Tenacity Herbicide Experiment

Not only was I up against an August 18th lawn party, but I also had to plan around the new roof being installed on the house on September 9, 2019. This 2-3 week period is the absolute sweet spot for overseeding for cool-season lawns so the plan was made:

Tenacity herbicide post-emergent applications:

  • August 19th and August 27th at full application rates. This is not ideal. If I had the time, these would have been spaced out two-weeks apart
  • September 12th dethatching, scalping, and overseeding
  • Starter fertilizer, Milorganite, and Kelp4Less (Extreme Blend)
  • Daily waterings, 1-3 times per day

Midway through my Tenacity herbicide experiment, I was paranoid. “What did I do to my lawn?!“, I said every day. I even had multiple neighbors come by and ask, ‘What in the world happened? Your lawn used to be so green‘. I had an ultra white, bleached lawn that I didn’t know if it was going to recover or not. “I’m never using this over-priced, over-hyped garbage ever again!“, I said on many occasions. 

Check out the images and timestamps below.

But low and behold, cooler heads prevailed and Tenacity herbicide didn’t disappoint. In fact, my lawn looks better than ever. There is only one small patch of bentgrass remaining that I will dig up and repair in the spring. 

The only word of caution: reset your expectations. I knew overuse of Tenacity herbicide could cause temporary bleaching of good turf grass, but I wasn’t expecting it. I used it on a friend’s lawn which I ‘consult’ for and did not have any bleaching of his good turf. While he had a bunch of crabgrass (which it smoked in two applications) his healthy grass stayed lush and green. 

I went from a non-believer to someone who will absolutely keep this gem in my arsenal. Whether I need to tackle bentgrass again, or simply want to add some to my tank to be used as a pre-emergent when overseeding, Tenacity will always be stocked on my lawncare shelf. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does Tenacity Herbicide last for?

Tenacity will last approximately 30 days as a pre emergent. Be sure not to use a non-ionic surfactant (NIS) when used as a pre-emergent.

Can Tenacity Herbicide kill and control crabgrass?

Yes, Tenacity can kill crabgrass, generally with less than 4 tillers. Spread application over 10-14 days. This herbicide can also be mixed with some other post emergent herbicides such as SpeedZone. Be sure to read the label.

Tenacity can also be used as a pre-emergent. However the efficacy will wear off in about 30 days, making Prodiamine and Dimension better crabgrass preventer options.

Can Tenacity kill and control bentgrass?

Yes. Depending on the size and severity of bentgrass in your lawn, two applications of Tenacity, approximately 10-14 apart, should eradicate creeping bentgrass.

What are the application rates of Tenacity?

Five to eight fluid ounces (5-8 oz.) of Tenacity herbicide will cover one full acre.
When used as a pre-emergent:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Tenacity to 1 gallon of water to cover 1,000 sq ft.
Water in with 1/4″ of water within 1-2 days of application.

When used as a post emergent:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Tenacity with 1 1/2 teaspoons of non-ionic surfactant to 1 gallon of water to cover 1,000 sq ft.
Spread evenly across lawn. Repeat in 10-14 days

More questions? Check out our huge Tenacity herbicide FAQ guide.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

20 thoughts on “Tenacity Herbicide Review – A Cool Season Lawn Testimonial”

  1. I’ve had great success with removing bentgrass with Tenacity, so much so that I made my only YouTube video of the process for others to see. I was thinking of using my Tenacity as post-emergent weed control. I was going to do a blanket spray on my lawn to just kill off anything existing or anything that is starting to emerge. I also ordered the new kelp4less green lawn mix. Do you think it would be fine to mix the kelp4less with Tenacity and do a blanket spray? Then I can kill two birds with one stone.

    • Hi Dan! Thanks for the comment. Your video, in fact, helped me pull the trigger in doing this to my lawn. Awesome content! I think you could mix them together if you were to use Tenacity as a pre-emergent. But if it’s a post emergent killer, then no – only because you need a Non-Ionic Surfactant (NIS) for this method. I’d probably to two separate apps in this case.

  2. Hi,
    I’ve been following your website for about a year now and really appreciate the strategies, tips and schedules you’ve provided. Thanks for making this available.

    I have a question about what I should do for the next several weeks. I saw POA in my yard during the spring this year, and I’ve recently found creeping bent grass in several spots. I’m planning to put the first application of Tenacity down this week. I just wanted to clarify that I will need to use the post-emergent application process (including NIS) for this application.

    I then plan to dethatch, aerate and overseed per your suggested schedule in early September. Should my second application of Tenacity line up with when I overseed? And if so, should I use the pre-emergent application process at this point (ie. not including a NIS)?

    Last question – I’ve heard that Tenacity as a pre-emergent, only lasts 30 days. So should I put down prodiamine at some point this fall or should I wait until April for the first application? Whew. Ok, I think that’s it.

    Thanks again for your help!

    **Also, I attempted to contact you through your “contact” page, but the reCAPTCHA “I’m not a robot” part wouldn’t load.

    • Hi Abby,

      Thanks for the following! I appreciate the support.

      When you apply Tenacity as a pre-emergent, you will not need NIS; and should be watered in with 1/4″ of water. This can be done at the same time of seeding. It’d be a good idea to apply a second post emergent of Tenacity herbicide to kill bentgrass.

      Unfortunately you cannot apply Prodiamine until next year. New grass needs time to establish deeper, stronger roots. However the Tenacity may help suppress poa annua for several weeks as the soil temps fall below 70 degrees.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to email me at [email protected]

  3. Hi, This is Jim. I enjoyed your research and wish I read it sooner! ! My lawn was diagnosed with widespread POA TRIVIALIS. I’ve been thatching and raking for days to remove this shallow-rooted brown eyesore over a very large area (although many sections are green also). I applied ROUND UP to assist is the process. The raking & removal are never-ending and at some point I will just deal with what’s left, cross my fingers, plug-aerate, seed, & fertilize. I wanted to ask if an application of TENACITY is warranted somewhere in this process – does this product actually attack the unwanted POA while leaving desired grass alone? I’m in the Northeast alone and it’s the first week of September. Getting late. Thanks, JIM

    • Hi Jim – thanks for the comment. Unfortunately Poa Triv is not labeled on Tenacity – neither as a pre-emergent or post-emergent.

      You can, however, spray it before or on the day of seeding. It can help kill some weeds and also help prevent and suppress further weeds.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Hi: i live on eastern Long Island NY. Today 9/29/20 my lawn was aerated and overseeded. I was told my lawn has patches of bent grass and it also patches of clover.

    I am aware that it is late in the season to overseed but it was done for a reason I won’t go into here.

    Is it too late to use tenacity this coming week. If no do I apply with NIS? If yes when is the next best time to apply?


    • Hi George. Generally Tenacity (Mesotrione) is used at seeding as a pre-emergent (no NIS). I personally haven’t tried killing Bentgrass at the same day/time as overseeding. You’ll end up with dead patches and no seed to grow and fill it in. Bank on at least 10 days for the Bentgrass to die off from Meso.

      You might want to consider Round Up, depending on your situation. You could be seeding those areas within a week. Digging it out will only work temporarily; roots and fibers are bound to be left behind.

      You want to avoid spring seeding if you can, but it is an option.

      Not sure if this helps but gives you a few different ideas anyways.

  5. Hello,

    I hope all is well with you.

    I live in Northern Utah and I have some scotch thistle rosettes. Will Tenacity work and is it too late to do it now? I just bought this home so I had no way to do it earlier in the year.

    Best regards,
    Ken B

  6. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on Tenacity. I’m about to take the leap of faith with Tenacity in hopes of removing bentgrass and preventing it from returning.

    I live in southeast Michigan and have bentgrass throughout my lawn and in large clumps/areas.

    I just over seeded my lawn about a week ago and was wondering if I should wait until early spring to apply Tenacity or wait until next Fall?

    After the bentgrass dies is it necessary to rake all the dead grass out?

    I also would like your opinion on spot treating vs applying Tenacity to the entire lawn.


    • Hi Jason – I’d recommend applying towards the end of August. You’ll want 2 applications to kill the bentgrass before seeding. I’m not a fan of spring seeding.

      After it turns brown and dies. you can scalp those areas, and bag, with your mower. This will ensure better seed-to-soil contact for your new/good grass seeds.

      You can certainly spot-spray versus blanket spraying your entire lawn. Just make sure you spray outside of the bentgrass circles as the roots and runners expand beyond what you see on the surface.

  7. Hello,

    I live in Utah and we are rapidly approaching winter(although we are still reaching mid 40’s to 50’s during the day). I’ve acquired a lawn that seems to be dominated by crab grass and other fast/tall growing weeds. At this point, my grass seems to be growing extremely slow, but these weeds seem to be thriving. I was under the impression that most of these weeds would begin to die with the overnight freezing temps(25-35). Would it make sense to spray some speedzone and tenacity since it feels like I’m primarily just mowing weeds at this point.

    • Hi Brian. Crabgrass should be dead by now. However it did drop lots of seeds which will germinate next spring. Be sure to apply a pre-emergent like Prodiamine before the soil temps hit 55 degrees. Aim for late March/early April.

      The only weeds now are your winter perennials and biennials like ground ivy. It may be too cold now but also check your soil temps. SpeedZone + Tenacity is a great combo. Be sure to hit these a little earlier next year (October).

  8. I just have to wonder how much one has to spend for all of this maintenance. I just bought a new home a year ago with a full acre of grass, and just fertilizer/weed killer without all the added things to apply will run me $1,000. I want a golf course lawn, but I don’t want to have to sell a kidney to get it. Any recommendations?

    • A full acre is quite a bit of land. You should check to see if you have a SiteOne near you and set-up an account for discounted prices. If you buy commercial products versus big box stores, you might pay more up front but you will get many more applications.

      • Thanks, Mark. I’m getting ready to buy a NorthStar Tow-Behind Trailer Boom Broadcast and Spot Sprayer – 21-Gallon Capacity, 2.2 GPM, 12 Volt DC from Amazon. That’ll certainly make application easier. Fortunately, the Tenacity, dye, and surfactant aren’t that expensive even for one acre. Do you happen to know how often I should spray my yard with it? Does it require “maintenance doses” throughout the year?

        Thank you so much for your reply!! Have a great weekend!

        • Hi Mike. Thanks for the comment. It depends on that you’re using Tenacity for. You’ll only need to blanket spray if you’re killing off a mix of weeds, killing bentgrass, or used as a pre-emergent when seeding. Depending on which weeds you’re targeting will determine the herbicide used, and number of applications and intervals.

  9. I have well established St Augustine that is being taken over by bent grass. If I kill the bent grass, There are no seeds for St Augustine. What is the best seed to mix in with the Augustine.


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