Anybody who actually cares about his or her lawn knows how annoying weeds can be. You may spend an hour every day, for months, even years, trying to make it perfect and beautiful, and all of a sudden, a stray seed may land and grow out into an invasion. What makes it worse is that these things are notoriously difficult to get rid of.
The solution is, of course, a good quality weed killer. However, this poses its own problems. There are so many brands, so many different chemicals, that it makes getting one overwhelming. Also, this isn’t just a question of how much to spend, but also, which type is appropriate for your lawn. The last thing you need is to destroy and poison your backyard because you used too much, or got the wrong brand. Quite honestly, some weed killers are heavy duty chemicals that can even cause permanent damage to your lawn.
Luckily, we are here to help you. Not only have we made a detailed list of the things you need to keep in mind when getting a good bottle of weed killer, but we have even created a list of the best 5 weed killer you can get. Just read on and learn all that you need to learn to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful.
What exactly is a weed killer?
Before you actually start using one of these things, you should probably have some basic information down. Weed killers (or herbicides) are chemical substances that remove and control undesirable plant life. They can be selective (kill certain plants and species, while keeping the rest healthy) or non-selective (“nuclear” option that removes all plant life on a certain area).
Throughout history, ancient peoples usually used salt. This has the obvious problem of messing too much with the chemical profile of the soil. Furthermore, salt is closer to the non-selective option. Today, most weed killers are synthetic copies of certain plant hormones. These interfere with the reproduction and growth of the plants you want to remove. Some herbicides destroy the unwanted plants by being absorbed through the foliage, while others are taken by roots.
If you wish to learn more and to find out which are the best weed killers on the market right now, then just go on to the next section of this article.
These are the best weed killers on the market, in our humble opinion. They all differ in certain aspects, but we truly believe you won’t go wrong with whichever one you choose. Now, on to number one…
1. Southern Ag 2,4 – D Amine Weed Killer
A backyard overcome with weeds is not a pretty sight. You want your home to be a place of beauty and peace, not to have it overwhelmed by ugly and parasitic plants. That’s where this product comes into play. The best weed killer on the market in our opinion, it has a number of uses and is very versatile.
First off all, you can use it almost anywhere – on lawns, parks, fences, golf courses, even near small grains and corn. Another important aspect of its versatility is the fact that this is both a post-emergent and pre-emergent weed killer. Southern Ag definitely know what they’re doing.
It will also save your grass since it is made in such way that grass cannot absorb it. It’s absorbed, specifically, by broad leaf plants (chickweed, dandelion, cat’s ear, lamb’s tongue…), which are the most common type of weeds. Its rate of usage is also solid, giving you a 1000 square foot coverage for just 2 to 3 tablespoons of weed killer mixed in 4 gallons of water.
Note: best applied by a wide and course low-pressure spray. Also, may be a bit pricey for some people, but you will definitely get your money’s worth.
2. Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer
Ortho is a tried and true company that has proven its worth over and over again. And they have done it once again with this herbicide. This is a nigh-universal and fast acting weed killer that can be used almost anywhere. Now, Ortho makes some wide claims about this product, but practice has shown that it definitely delivers.
First of all, it can kill 250 strains of weeds, to the root. That means there are very few weeds that can actually tarnish your lawn, and actually survive. Also, after just one hour, the herbicide stays where it is, and will become rain resistant. And best of all, it’s effective all year long.
However, it’s not perfect, as it’s not that useful for stopping actual weeds from sprouting from their seeds, and so is supposed to be used as a post-emergent herbicide.
3. PBI/Gordon 652400 Speed Zone Lawn Weed Killer
Do you live in one of the colder areas of the world? Then you may have noticed that standard weed killers are not as effective as they should be. PBI/Gordon has the solution – the 652400 Speed Zone Lawn weed killer is made specifically for cold weather, losing none of its effectiveness wherever you are.
A 20-ounce bottle can cover an average of sixteen thousand square feet, and the results are literally visible in just a few hours. And the best part is that you can reseed your lawn in less than two weeks. It’s excellent at controlling ground ivy, clover and other tough and annoying weed strains. However, because of its intensity, it can damage St. Augustine grass, but you will probably be safe since it doesn’t damage Bermuda grass at all (the most common type of lawn grass).
4. Roundup for Lawns RTU Refill (Northern)
The special Roundup formula is a godsend for the most annoying types of weeds (yes, even crabgrass). It goes right down to the root of the problematic weeds, making sure that once they are dead, they stay dead.
Also, another excellent factor is that it’s rainproof in less than three hours after usage. If you live in areas that have a lot of rainfall, all year long, you will definitely appreciate this product since your efforts (and money) won’t be wasted because of some rain.
Another point is that it’s specialized for northern grass types (bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass), keeping them safe and healthy, while killing all the other weeds around it. However, it will take some time to start working, since it’s not as fast acting as other high-grade weed killers usually are. However, if you’re a patient person, this should not be an issue.
5. Triple Threat Selective Weed Killer Herbicide for Lawns and Turf
The triple threat selective weed killer is best used to target the weeds that are causing you trouble directly. It kills almost all broadleaf weeds, like burdock, plantain, wild aster, French weed, mallow and many other. It’s quite fast acting and will last you for a long time. Two tablespoons of this stuff, in one gallon of water, can cover a whole 400 square feet of lawn.
Unfortunately, this herbicide is very susceptible to rainfall. If you don’t wait to water your plants for at least twenty-four hours after treating your lawn, you will nullify its effects. You should also plan in advance and pay attention to weather reports in case of rain.
Things to keep in mind
Now, there are a couple of factors you need to keep in mind when using herbicides on your lawn. Since everyone’s lawn is different, choosing the wrong type, and not applying it correctly, can either kill too much of your grass or will leave the weeds alive, allowing them to come back after a week. There are numerous ways you can classify weed killers, but in this article, we will focus on two classifications: pre/post emergence herbicides and the contact/systemic/residual herbicides.
Post-emergence herbicides destroy the weeds that have already sprouted, while pre-emergence stop them from ever sprouting (and are more of a preventive measure).
First, you have contact herbicides. These are good for annual weeds (i.e. weeds that are present only for one season). Contact herbicides directly destroy the plant they touch. This is good for annual weeds since they disappear soon, but, these herbicides do not reach the roots of the plants, making them not as useful for other types of weeds since they can then just grow back after some time.
Systemic herbicides are opposite to contact weed killers – these are directly sprayed on the plant, and are then absorbed by the foliage, damaging the plant from the inside, and even reaching the roots. The type of damage they do is based on inhibiting the growth of the weeds by messing with their protein and chlorophyll balance. They are similar, and overlap, with pre-emergent weed killers which stop the actual weeds from sprouting. They differ, however, in that pre-emergent herbicides are useless when the weeds have actually sprouted. However, you will need to wait a week or two to actually see any results. Systemic herbicides have the added plus in that they do not affect the soil, only the plants. This means that the soil will largely be untouched and can be used later with no issues.
Residual herbicides (or soil-acting herbicides) are a bit more extreme since they actually destroy the plants by poisoning the earth on which they are located in. These weed killers kill the plants and stop the seeds in the ground from growing. However, they should definitely not be used near edible plants, since the weed killer can stay in the ground for up to a year. In general, you should for some time until you decide to plant something new in the soil where these chemical have been used. These are very powerful weed killers, most of them are illegal, and should be used only in extreme cases.
With that out of the way, you obviously need to know what actual weeds you have on your lawn. Usually, the products have a list of the weeds they are made for on their label (or on the website of the manufacturer). There are a ton of resources online, with pictures, videos, and article that can help you identify the actual weed species that is growing on your lawn. They all have different treatment procedures.
For example, dandelions are perennial plants that show up both in the spring and in the fall. A good idea to deal with them is to spot spray the mature plants with herbicide. This will send the weed killer directly to the roots of the plants, eliminating them relatively quickly. Crabgrass, on the other hand, should be dealt with by using pre-emergence herbicide, so the seeds won’t sprout.
Next, you need to see if the weeds have actually started sprouting. If not, then it’s a good idea to think about pre-emergent herbicides, especially if your lawn has a history of stubborn annual weeds, like crabgrass. However, sometimes, it’s a good idea to just pull out the actual plants. Chickweed, for example, is quite tough and if you have not used specific pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn, they can be very annoying. Another good idea is to establish a solid bed of grass on your lawn immediately after killing some of the tougher weeds (like ground ivy). This will overwhelm and suffocate what little seeds are left of this specific weed. Another quick tip is fertilizing your lawn before you actually use the herbicide. While this may seem counterintuitive, since the weeds will grow faster, they will also absorb the weed killer faster as well.
We hope this article has been helpful in your search for having the healthiest and most beautiful lawn possible. Be smart, follow the instruction on the product itself, and declare war on all those annoying weeds and get rid of them forever.