A Guide to Buying the Best Weed Killers
If you’re trying to maintain a lawn, you would like it to appear uniform. But, unfortunately, there are plants that are more hardy and aggressive than others, and they can crowd out and steal nutrients from the grass on your lawn. It doesn’t take much for the wind to blow dandelion seeds onto your lawn. Once they take root, it’s not so easy to eradicate them. And there’s crabgrass, clover, and even poison ivy which can make an appearance if you don’t maintain your lawn. And these undesirable plants can intrude on your patio or driveway as well. That’s where a good weed killer comes into play.
We’ll see that there are non-selective weed killers, which are useful when you want to make sure absolutely nothing grows on a particular spot. Then there are weed killers that you’ll apply to your lawn, which will focus only on the “weeds”, leaving your grass alone. And there are also natural weed killers, which are safe to use around pets and children. We’ll briefly discuss the advantages of each type, to help you decide which is best for you and your backyard!
Types of Weed Killers
We can classify weed killers between selective and non-selective herbicides:
Non-selective: These herbicides kill practically any plant. An example is Natria Grass & Weed Control. It’s not intended for use on your lawn, since it will kill even the desirable plants. Non-selective weed killers are intended for clearing out weeds around flower beds, or weeds growing along driveways or on sidewalks.
Natria Grass & Weed Control
Another popular non-selective weed killer is the Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer. It has three main active ingredients: one penetrates into the roots of plants to kill plant cells. One ingredient is absorbed by the leaves, to inhibit plant growth. The third ingredient disturbs photosynthesis, which is how the plant creates its own nutrients.
Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer
Selective: Weeds and grasses have different types of roots and leaves, so certain formulas are made for particular species. These are prescribed for eliminating particular types of weeds, such as broadleaf weeds. Roundup for Lawns is a weed killer that will attack weeds but will leave the grass on your lawn alone. It can eliminate crabgrass, dandelions, clover, nutsedge, and more! But, please note that this particular product is for northern lawns. One customer used it on the species of grass that grows in the southern United States, and it killed his lawn!
Roundup for Lawns
Organic/Natural Weed Killers: There are also products that employ all-natural ingredients. Some are as simple as just vinegar and soap! An example is the Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer. It’s good for treating weeds on driveways, patios, and mulch beds. It should kill weeds within 24-48 hours. It’s safe around children and animals, and will not adversely affect the groundwater. But it will kill all types of plants, even the desirable ones. So, you have to apply it with caution.
Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
What reviewers say
Here are some impressions from customers who bought the products in the Best Reviews Guide list:
May not kill seeds: There are weeds such as crabgrass, which can deposit thousands of seeds all over your lawn. Even if you use a non-selective weed killer, it will kill only the plant. If it has already produced seeds, you may be too late. Be sure to apply the weed killer when the plant is still young before it has produced seeds.
Success with an organic weed killer: Despite people’s skepticism, there are natural weed killers that produce impressive results. The Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer uses principally vinegar, salt, and soap. The soap breaks down the plant’s outer cuticle, allowing the vinegar to remove water from the plant cells. Despite its simplicity, it does manage to kill weeds, without contaminating the soil or the groundwater with hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Here are some professional tips in selecting and applying a weed killer:
Time to start to see results: You’ll see weed killers that advertise how long they take to perform “desiccation”. This is the stage where the plant dries up entirely. But, typically, a weed killer only kills the part of the plant that it touches, meaning the leaves that are visible. Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer will show results of killing weeds three hours after application, where it succeeds in reaching the roots of the plant. The Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer will show its weed-killing results in as little as 15 minutes!
Coverage: Products will differ in their ability to cover large areas. The Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer is very concentrated: 2-3 tablespoons in 3-5 gallons of water can cover an area as large as 1000 square feet!
Rainfastness: You don’t want to apply weed killer, and then have the rain wash it away before the weed killer gets the job done. A weed killer will be rainfast after a certain amount of time, where rainfall will not diminish the product’s effectiveness. Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate is rainfast in as little as 15 minutes! Others, such as the Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer, is rainproof after 2 hours from when the product has dried on the plants.
Different modes of application: You’ll notice that there are some formulas that can be applied “as is”, without diluting them with water. Other formulas must be mixed with water before applying. Besides this, there are different modes for applying the treatment to small areas or an entire lawn. For example, the Natria Grass and Weed Control comes in 3 different applications:
Using a battery-powered sprayer: This is for treating a very large area.
Using water pressure: Here, you hook up the container of weed killer to your garden hose, or spray it directly onto weeds. It mixes with water in the hose, and the water pressure propels it throughout the lawn.
Using a simple trigger pump: This is for small jobs when you have weeds in an area that is difficult to reach.
We went through some of the best weed killers, looking at both organic weed killers, as well as non-selective chemical weed killers, that will essentially “nuke” the entire area. Whether you’re trying to rid your lawn of a weed infestation, or just to get rid of the weeds that pop up in between the tiles in your patio, you’re sure of being able to find the right product!