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Using the red pen as a visual scale, look at the size of the pearlwort foliage compared to its root system.  When you see small pearlwort (Sagina procumbens) in your containers, it's already too late to apply preemergence herbicides.  Preemergence herbicides will form a chemical barrier about 1/2  inch below the soil surface, where weed seedlings will be inhibited from growing.  But as you can see from this photo, even small pearlwort have roots that are below 1/2 inch and will thus escape the effects of most preemergence herbicides.

Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens) roots

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