Weeds in your lawn!? Nothing looks worse. Luckily, weeds can be controlled easily with chemicals or herbicides. Of course, some people do not want to use chemicals, so we even have some tips for them.
- 1 Best lawn weed killers – Chemicals/Herbicides
- 2 Best weed killer for lawns – Organic methods
Best lawn weed killers – Chemicals/Herbicides
The best measure for weed control is maintaining a healthy turf. So get yourself on a proper fertilizing and watering schedule to maintain a good lawn. If you do have weed problems then before selecting the best weed killer for lawn it is important to understand that there are three main types of weed control herbicides – pre-emergent, contact and systemic. Pre-emergent refers to a product that creates a barrier over the top surface of your lawn and does not allow annual grassy weeds to come up. The grassy weeds will germinate, come up, hit the barrier, then keel over, and die. The key to this product is timing. You have to put it on early spring before those weeds start to germinate.
If your weeds are already up, then you move on to a contact killer. Contact killers are great because they are fast acting. Being a contact killer, they have to sit on the weed for as long as possible, preferably for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure they are not washed off by rain or sprinkler systems, before the stipulated time. Therefore, the upside is that they are fast acting and the downside is that they wash off easily. Therefore, if you are in a situation where you get a lot of rain or you have irrigation systems in place, then maybe you would want to go with a systemic product.
Systemic refers to the weed killers, which are absorbed in through the roots and the leaves, so it actually works from the inside out. One more thing to remember for the concentrated sprays is that they can be divided into selective and non-selective sprays. Selective chemicals are going to kill just the selected weeds that you want to take care of. Non-selective herbicides will kill everything in their path.
Usually, it is not necessarily the brand of weed control that matters, but it is what the weed control is made up of or what the active ingredients are. Let us first look at some of the best weed killer for lawn products in the chemical category. These products are among the best sellers and we will summarize their key features and user opinions.
Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer
This product contains a chemical called Glyphosate in concentrations of 41%, which will kill all actively growing plants and weeds excluding dormant weeds or seeds. It works like a systemic chemical that is absorbed by the plant and then inhibits certain plant enzymes/amino acids required for its functioning. You will need to have a little patience as the chemical can take several days or a couple of weeks to show effect. As this is not a pre-emergent chemical, therefore to increase effectiveness you may need to spray this product on a weekly basis for a month to prevent any re-growth. It also contains a surfactant that enables easier absorption and penetration of the herbicide. Some users add a cup of liquid laundry detergent to the solution before spraying, to prevent evaporation of the herbicide and facilitate quick absorption by dissolving the waxy layer on the leaf surface.
Sedgehammer Plus Turf Herbicide
This product is specifically designed to take out nutsedge in established lawns. Very effective for resilient yellow/purple nutsedge and certain broad-leaf weeds like horsetail. This product does not affect the cool or warm season turf grass species such as St. Augustine, Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Again, this may take a few days to take effect and see any noticeable changes. This product does not require an additional surfactant.
Scotts Halts Crabgrass & Grassy Weed Preventer
Crabgrasss is a pesky weed that rears its ugly head when the weather turns warm. The easiest way to deal with crabgrass is to prevent it from growing in the first place. This product is a pre-emergent and you will need to use it in early spring to keep crabgrass away. Once applied it is effective for up to four months. It also feeds grass with essential nutrients needed for a greener thicker lawn. This should be applied when the lawn is dry and before any weed seeds have germinated. It is also, effective for the prevention of foxtail, spurge, barnyard grass, fall panicum, goose grass and oxalis.
Roundup Concentrate Formulas
These liquid concentrates are economical yet powerful contact weed killers. The advantage of Roundup products is that the dual action formula is very effective to kill the roots as well as the leaves preventing a re-growth. Overall, it hinders the metabolism of the whole plant. It also acts as a barrier so that the sprayed area is weed free for many months. Adding some dishwasher liquid may help the formula to stick to the leaves instead of beading off. These formulas are meant to be safe from rain wash-off 30 minutes after application. Make sure you do not spray over desirable plants, as it kills every plant it comes in contact with. If you sprayed accidently on a desirable plant, then immediately wash off with water to prevent damage.
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns
This is a selective weed killer and targets many types of weeds without harming lawns. Since, it is a contact killer, it is very fast acting and you will see the visible results within hours rather than days. In addition, since it is safe for lawns you do not need to worry about accidental spills or sprays. This product is effective for around 200 types of weed, but make sure you read the label and instructions before using. This formula can easily wash off in heavy rains, so you will need to keep it dry for around 48 hours after application. Again, you may need to add some dishwasher detergent to the formula for it to remain stuck on the leaves for as long as possible. You may need to spray several times on broad leaf weeds due to their waxy coating on the surface of the leaf. For more effectiveness, it is advisable to mow your lawn before spraying since it will cut some weed leaves so that the chemical can easily reach the tissue system through the wounded part.
Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer
This product is the answer to broad-leaf weed problem in your turf grass. This is a pre and post-emergent broad-leaf plant killer, so you will need to avoid spraying this formula on your shrub beds, flowering plants and any young trees. The formula contains 2,4-D herbicide which has been used for several years in agriculture. It will not harm any type of grass including crabgrass.
Best weed killer for lawns – Organic methods
Let us now look at the best weed killer for lawn methods where you do not need to use any type of chemicals or herbicides.
Identify and pull
This is the best lawn weed killer method organically, if you are not too lazy. Get a spade and dig them all up! Many weeds are easy to pull because it may seem they are covering a lot of area, but in fact it is one little weed that has spread over a large area. Therefore, you can pick up nice big chunks of weed just by getting at one root using a weed tool. Make sure you do not spread the weed seeds around, while plucking, so have a nice trash bag handy. Make sure the ground is moist and the soil loose. Grab the weed at the bottom and pull gently. It is easier to remove weeds when their roots are smaller and before they have flowered or gone to seed. Make sure to remove any leftover pieces because if you miss any, the weed will re-grow. Carefully dispose of the removed weeds according to local regulations.
You may also use the Fiskars Weed Remover tool to help you pull out the weeds with very little effort. It is a great fun weed puller! Apart from this, it is much easier than using a trowel or a garden fork and less messier too. It allows you to stand up while you are weeding, not get your hands dirty and be able to do many weeds in a hurry.
Good lawn maintenance keeps weeds away
The best way to keep the lawn weed free is to make sure that you keep on mowing it regularly to make it nice and clean. That would prevent the weeds from growing in the first place. A healthy vigorous lawn will resist the intrusion of weeds. You should choose a grass that is well adapted to your area – warm season in southern areas and cool season in northern areas. Make sure that you water your lawn properly and that means you wet the soil down to a depth of about six to eight inches every time you water. Light frequent irrigations is not good for your lawn. You would want to develop a deep root system and then allow the soil to partially dry out.
The next thing you should do is that you mow your lawn to the right height. You do not want to cut the grass too short because the shorter your grass, it will allow seeds of weeds to get in there and start spreading. It should be taller for grasses like tall fescue and lower for warm season grasses like Bermuda. In summer months, it is good to keep the grass a little longer compared to winter months. In the middle of summer, the taller grass will have deeper roots and will better withstand the high temperature. If you have a smaller lawn and want a compact solution for lawn trimming and mowing, then check out the electric 3-in-1 cordless compact mower. It is powered by an interchangeable lithium-ion battery system and quickly converts from a mower to a trimmer, featuring a power drive transmission which gets those trimming and edging jobs done fast.
You also want to make sure that you fertilize your lawn regularly and do it at the right time of the year. Cool season grasses should be fertilized in late fall and in early spring. Warm season grasses should be fertilized during late spring and throughout the summer.
High Turf Density
Increasing the turf density is another organic way to get a weed free lawn. Different types of turf grass have different weed potential. One of the highest weed potential turf grass is the common Bermuda grass. For weeds to germinate the sun has to hit the soil, but if you get the grass dense and thick enough, you can virtually eliminate the weeds without really having to use those five-minute chemicals at all. The thinner the lawn, the more susceptible it is to have crab grass and weeds that usually fill into those thin areas. Therefore, you will need to core aerate and over-seed it. Your local lawn care companies usually carry out these services, but you can do it yourself without the need of professionals.
Core aeration is usually done during late summer or early fall, depending on the season. Core aeration is done using a commercial sized aerator, which pulls out cores and alleviates the compaction of the soil. This ensures that the plants get the best out of watering and receives the proper nutrients from fertilizers. An alternative to renting expensive equipment is to simple strap onto your lawn aerator sandals and walk around your lawn! Over seeding is followed after core aeration so that the seeds can fall into the opened soil to get the best germination. The idea is to thicken the lawn to prevent crab grass and other weeds.
The above three methods describe the natural best weed killer for lawn methods where you need not use any organic or inorganic solutions and these best practices will keep your turf healthy, dense and vigorous.
Vinegar and dish soap
This is a home-made formula for creating an organic weed killer for grass. Mix couple of tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of plain white vinegar (strength preferably greater than 10%). Vinegar is an effective weed killer and the dish soap is going to hold the vinegar onto the leaves of the weed. Use a weed sprayer to spray effectively over weeds. Also, remember that weeds may grow back after a few days as vinegar kills the above ground greenery but does not affect the roots. You may need to spray multiple times for weeds such as crabgrass. Adding salt to the mixture is more effective but high salt concentration is not good for the soil and healthy plant growth in the long run. Salt solution may not be the best lawn weed killer formula for your lawn organically, as its harmful effects are long lasting. You may use a pinch of salt in the crevices of your driveway or at the base of individual weeds. Salt prevents plant growth for many months and since the roots absorb it, the whole plant dies.
If the weeds are thick and mature, you may use higher strength vinegar (20% agriculture white vinegar). This home remedy will be cheaper than purchasing commercial weed killers or hiring someone. This mixture is also relatively safer for children and pets. Vinegar makes the soil acidic; therefore, during fall you may spread lime in your yard that will neutralize the acidic effects.
Avenger Organic Weed Killer
While most of the above techniques work, there are times when you may want to use an organic spray that is going to take care of the weeds a lot quicker. This organic ready to use spray is a non-selective herbicide. This is one of the top products listed in the “organic best weed killer for lawn” search term in online shopping sites. It is certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute, which means that it does not have any harmful chemicals. It is derived from citrus fruit oils and is fast acting against weeds, grasses and broad-leaf. It can be used around wildlife and pets, so you do not have to worry about applying this herbicide and your dog running around your yard or following you. It will not stain hard surfaces and you may spray it on your driveway or brick side-walks. It emits a pleasant fruity citrus aroma that will not burn your nose and is less likely to cause any irritation. Users have suggested that it works best in direct sunlight and avoid any rainy conditions before application. In addition, you will need to soak the weed completely with the spray for greater effectiveness. This herbicide may not be effective on underground vines such as Poison Ivy, since it does not penetrate to the roots.