Weed-free lawns are in many cases a distant dream. Synthetic herbicides are the usual response to chronic weed problems. But if it is not used wisely then these chemical weed killers can be dangerous to people as well as pets. The most effective way to control weeds in your yard is by growing a thick and vigorous lawn. Dense grass cuts out the growth of weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. If there are only a few weeds in your lawn then changing the maintenance strategies might be able to get rid of them.
We need to plan a proper approach. There is no single herbicide, weeding technique or lawn care tactic that works against all kinds of weeds. The process we follow to eliminate the weeds depends on what kind of weeds our lawn has. Within this guide, you will learn how to choose the best weed killer for your lawn.
Lawn Weeds Fall Under Three Broad Categories
- Unwanted grass
- Grass like plants known as sedges
- Broadleaf plants
Most are annuals or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle in one season and reproduce from seeds. Perennials live several years and spread underground as well as from seed which makes them harder to control.
Strategies to Simplify or Reduce Weed Issues
- Mow to the ideal cutting height – Every grass has an ideal cutting height for a better growth and life. When the grass is cut to the ideal height, they will usually out-compete weeds as long as it is also fertilized and watered properly. Longer grass helps prevent weeds in a couple of different ways. The taller growth shades the ground, keeping it cooler and retarding weed seed germination. And once weed seeds sprout, they don’t have as much sunlight as they need for their growth.
- Identify the weeds before planning the attack – Before you start any weed control program, you need to determine which of the three types of weeds you’re controlling. Each requires unique products and application methods.
- Control crab grass with a “crab grass preventer” in the spring – Crab grass is an annual weedy grass. The best way to keep crab grass under control is to apply a crab grass preventer between the first and third mowing in the spring. The treatment prevents the seeds from germinating. If you wait too long, the seeds will sprout. Applying too early will lead the preventer to dissipate and late germinating seeds will sprout.
- Control broadleaf weeds with the least amount of herbicide possible – The key to control broadleaf weeds is to use a broadleaf herbicide and distribute it with the smallest applicator necessary to do the job. That’ll not only save time and money but also keep you from needlessly introducing chemicals into the environment.
- Kill perennial grassy weeds one by one – Perennial grassy weeds spread through seeds and extensive underground root systems and are unaffected by broadleaf killers. The only effective solution is to use a “nonselective” plant killer. You can apply non-selective killers with sprayers, but it will affect the surrounding area, including your lawn and any other nearby plants. The best way to kill these weeds while protecting surrounding plants is by wiping the grass blades with the non-selective herbicide. Wear a cheap cloth glove over a plastic or rubber chemically resistant glove to protect your skin.
- Don’t fight weeds where grass won’t grow – Poor light or soil conditions can make it impossible to grow grass in some areas. Kill any weeds with a nonselective herbicide. The herbicide will break down within two weeks and the ground will be safe for new plants.
- Fertilize enough, but not too much – Too little fertilizer can lead to sparse lawn that loses the competition with weeds. Too much helps, nurture certain weeds. The frequency and timing of fertilizing the lawns is a crucial approach to a healthy lawn. Both vary depending on the lawn type and the length of the growing season.
- Water grass infrequently and deeply – Frequent watering cause shallow roots and helps annual weed seeds to germinate. If you water too little, the lawn suffers with spotted spurge. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week.
Chemical Weed Killers
Weed killer chemicals include glyphosate herbicides, mainly used for weeding and garden maintenance. Chemical weed killers should be used sparingly; however, when done correctly, this method of controlling weeds can save endless hours spent in the lawn or garden. The majority of conventional weed killers are applied as sprays. The type of weed killer you use may depend on the particular area requiring control like maybe for vegetation gardens or lawns.
Herbicides are chemicals that kill or alter the normal growth of weeds. They can be divided into groups such as:
- Selective – Those that control the target weeds without damaging desirable species.
- Non-selective – Kill all vegetation and are used in lawn renovation or on weeds not controlled by selective herbicides.
- Pre-emergence – They are applied prior to germination of weeds and are typically used for controlling annual weeds. The timing of pre-emergence herbicide applications is the most critical component of an effective chemical control program therefore it should be applied uniformly at the rate recommended on the manufacturer’s label.
- Post-emergence – They are used for controlling weeds that have already emerged from the soil.
Types of Conventional Weed Killers
- Residual – They poison the soil, killing any plants within the treated area. Soil-acting weed killers inhibit seed germination as well as photosynthesis. Some of these weed killers remain in the soil for months or even years so should be applied carefully.It is not recommended to plant anything else in the area for some time after using these weeds killers.
- Contact – These types can be used if you want to attack a particular area or a particular weed. This type of weed control kills only the plants or plant parts which comes into its contact and reacts very fast on the affected area. Contact weed killers are available in non-selective or selective forms. Non-selective types are ideal for clearing the affected areas on the ground. Contact weed killers are most suitable for annual weeds. These weed killers do weaken the plants after repeated applications, especially on aggressive perennial weeds but they do not weaken the roots of the plants and it is the most common type of weed killer used.
- Systemic – They are taken up by the foliage and then it is sent to the entire plant, including its roots. Systemic weed killers reduce the amount of protein and chlorophyll in the plants so as to inhibit the growth hormones and prevent its growth. These, too, may be applied to specific plants without damaging others that are close by. With this type of weed killer, it could take up to more than a week before the plants are completely eradicated from weeds and results are noticed. This type can be an ideal choice to use on a well-established lawn and will not affect grass as well. Since the systemic weed killers affect only the plant material, the soil should be, in most cases, suitable for other plantings.
Although they are not my first choice for solving weed problems, there are numerous types of conventional weed killers available to fit your individual needs. For better results, however, you should familiarize yourself with each of them in order to find and use the right one for the job. Whatever your choice, always follow the directions and apply them safely and sparingly.
Three Products to Choose from
Check out these products that are the best weed killers for lawns:
This is the best weed killer, bar none. Tenacity is excellent stuff! While most standard herbicides at the big box stores will take care of the easier to kill weeds Tenacity will get rid of the tougher ones. It works really well on the annual weeds and crabgrass in the lawn with no permanent damage to the turf. Even if there is already a little bleaching done in the tall fescue, the colour will come back and things will be like before. Don’t expect overnight results.
You have to be patient with this product, it does work, and despite it working slower, it is powerful stuff. We need to follow the directions since they are specific to the weed you are applying them to. For bent grass and nimble weed you can apply 3 weaker applications instead of 2 stronger ones due to the aggressive stolon that bent grass produces. After about 10 days you will start to see the nimbleweed and bentgrass dying. It becomes more visible after the next application. Tenacity takes nearly 2 weeks to show visible results.
The best part of the product is that you can overseed right after your very last application, and your new seedlings will not have to compete with the weed seeds when trying to germinate.Your pre-existing lawn will also seem to be healthier now, since it is not competing with the bentgrass and nimbleweed for sunlight, water, and nutrients. You can overseed the bare areas and have a new thick beautiful lawn coming in. You will not have any regrets of buying it once you use it in your lawn. Click Here to Check Out The Tenacity Turf Herbicide at Amazon.com!
People have been using Weed B Gone in their lawns as a weed control product for a decade. Not only is it reliably effective, but what people really appreciate is that it can control the weeds with spot treatments rather than a broadcast spray. This allows the users to use very less of the product overall and by doing so they minimize the amount of chemicals needed to keep the yard healthy – which is good for both their pocket and the environment, making this one of the best weed killers for lawn on the market. People generally use the granular fertilizer or which is also known as the fertilizer with moss control depending on the season, over the entire lawn. You can mix Weed B Gone into either a watering can or a pump sprayer and douse any clover or dandelions as they pop up. You can repeat this after every few weeks throughout the growing season. In a day or two, they begin to wither and after a week they are just plain gone, leaving the grass unscathed. Having said that there are some types of grass that this killer will kill, so you need to know what type of grass you have. Weed B Gon lasts a full season if applied properly and you will notice that each successive year there seems to be fewer weeds to deal with. This gallon will do two seasons for the average sized yard. Click Here to Check Out The Ortho Weed B Gon at Amazon.com!
After many years of research for the ultimate weed killer, this is finally one of the best that has come up in the market. It works well if the lawn is infested with clover, dandelion and spurge. We can just use the knapsack sprayer that is to be filled with water and a splash of the weed killer. Then you can spray this on the lawn. As soon as you spray it you can see the immediate results. After a few days, the weeds will die and will leave your lawn green and the way you wanted it to look. Sometimes it may happen that you have to repeat the process back on the clover after a few weeks but the spurge however will hardly come back. It is just an amazing product. But precaution must be taken and make sure you protect your skin and wear a mask as it is a toxic chemical. Speed Zone as directed eliminates 80 % on the first application and do not worry about burning the lawn since it does not burn the lawn and the weeds that remained show no signs of burn. Click Here to Check Out The PBI/Gordon Speed Zone at Amazon.com!
Best Weed Killers for Lawns – Comparison Table
|Weed B Gon||Great|