Ridding your lawn or garden of pesky weeds is one of the biggest challenges gardeners face. Some people turn to mechanical tools to get rid of the unwanted invaders, putting prized flowers at risk of being accidentally uprooted. They have faith that the weeds won’t return, but they usually do.
Fortunately, technology has come up with many good weed killer products, but you must do more than just grab up a weed killer from a store display. Things can go very wrong when using weed killers.
The following 10 tips for using weed killer products can greatly help in the success of the challenge of getting rid of weeds.
Table of Contents
- 1. Read and follow package directions
- 2. Give weed killers time to work
- 3. Additional applications of weed killers may be necessary
- 4. Liquid weed killers are sold as either ready-to-use products or concentrates
- 5. Do NOT use stronger concentrations of weed killer
- 6. A liquid weed killer usually works better than the granular type
- 7. Granular weed killers must be applied to damp grass
- 8. Never use fertilizer sprayers for chemicals that kill weeds
- 9. For weed control on lawns, be sure to consider your grass variety
- 10. Remember that most natural weed killers are non-selective
1. Read and follow package directions
Do more than simply glance at the basic information on the bottle. Look for a sheet of directions included or peel back the label to look for more information. Be aware that each chemical is different. The mixing amount may not necessarily be the same as another brand or similar product. For example, weed killers like Round-up can come with various percentages of active ingredient.
2. Give weed killers time to work
When it comes to weed killers, faster is not better. Although you may see dieback within hours of spraying, other weed killers take time to work. It may take days before you see the results. Faster weed killers are usually non-selective.
his means that they will kill everything else around them. Of course, you don’t want to use these on your lawn. What matters more than time is selecting the best killer for the weeds you are attempting to control. Also, keep in mind that the rate of growth and temperature affects the weeds’ reaction to chemicals. For example, cooler weather means slower results.
3. Additional applications of weed killers may be necessary
Mature weeds, like the tall ones on your lawn after rainy spells, perennial weeds with strong root systems that keep coming back (such as dandelions), and stubborn weeds that do not readily absorb herbicides may need additional spraying.
4. Liquid weed killers are sold as either ready-to-use products or concentrates
The liquid weed killers can be used in a pump-up tank sprayer, a spray bottle, or a hose-end sprayer. If using a hose-attached spray, be sure it can be adjusted to vary the strength of the concentrate. Never use a fertilizer sprayer such as the Miracle-Gro type. Keep in mind that ready-to-use products can cost up to 10 times more than mixing your own. Consider the quantity you will need and the convenience you want.
5. Do NOT use stronger concentrations of weed killer
Keep in mind that a stronger concentration of the weed killer does not work better. You must spray again rather than using a stronger concentration. Since you will most likely have to spray a second time, it doesn’t make sense to waste money by using a stronger concentration. A stronger dose can have negative consequences.
6. A liquid weed killer usually works better than the granular type
Steer away from granular weed killers and don’t believe the commercials for them. Better weed control can be accomplished with liquids over granular types because you can get better coverage as well as do spot treatments on lawns.
7. Granular weed killers must be applied to damp grass
If you are stuck with a granular product, be sure to apply it to damp grass. This ensures that it will “stick” to the weeds. Then don’t water the lawn for 48 hours. Be sure to use the product when rain is not in the forecast for that amount of time. Water or rain applied too soon will wash off the application before it can work.
8. Never use fertilizer sprayers for chemicals that kill weeds
It is very possible that some of the residues could end up killing good plants, even if you think you cleaned the sprayer out well. Also, best practices call for using the entire mix in one or two days. Leaving the mixture sitting in the tank can leave a residue that can clog the nozzle causing the chemical to lose potency.
9. For weed control on lawns, be sure to consider your grass variety
When buying weed killer for your lawn, look for specifications on the label that it is either safe for all varieties of grass or for your variety in particular. Some lawn types are more sensitive than others. There are broad-leaf weed killers and killers for grassy weeds. Some grass varieties like St. Augustine can react as a broadleaf plant.
10. Remember that most natural weed killers are non-selective
Many people like the idea of using natural weed killers as opposed to chemicals. As stated earlier, non-selective weed killers kill everything, not just weeds. These home remedies include various combinations of vinegar and dish-washing liquid. Some recipes for natural weed killers include salt, but keep in mind that salt is not good for the soil. Salt is okay for killing weeds in cement cracks and gravel driveways. Dish-washing soap added to the mixture helps to break down the waxy surface often found on weeds.
Tip: For a clever way to protect good plants from weeds, cut 2-liter soda bottles in half. Place the top halves around the good plants and then apply weed killer from a sprayer into the bottle top.
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