Chemical Weed Control Tips

Date: June 2, 2022

When used properly, chemical weed control products are effective at managing weeds in the landscape. Herbicides as a part of a lawn care program will keep weeds at bay and help encourage healthy turf growth. Choosing a chemical weed killer can be difficult. There are so many different herbicides on the market, that it can become overwhelming. We have gathered the best tips to help you control weeds.

Fun Fact: Mowing and lawn fertilization both help with weed control.

Understanding How Herbicides Work

There are several different types of herbicides that can be used to control weeds in the landscape. Here is a description of each type and how they work.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Pre-emergent herbicides are applied early in the spring to prevent weed seeds from growing as temperatures begin to warm up. This type of herbicide creates a barrier in the soil that halts the germination or growth of weeds. When properly timed and applied, pre-emergent herbicides can provide several months of weed control.

Many pre-emergent herbicides suppress all types of seeds from germinating, which means you will be unable to sow grass seed for several weeks. However, there are a few pre-emergent products on the market that kill seeds while allowing grass to grow.

Post Emergent Herbicides

Post emergent herbicides are designed to kill weeds once they have germinated. This type of herbicide can be broken down even further into selective herbicides and non-selective herbicides.

Selective Post Emergent Herbicides

Selective post emergent herbicides are designed to be applied to your entire lawn. This type of herbicide targets weeds; however, it has little to no effect on grasses. Selective post emergent herbicides are great at controlling broadleaf weeds but have a harder time controlling grass like weeds. Many of these types of herbicides require repeated applications.

Non-Selective Post Emergent Herbicides

Non-selective post emergent herbicides kill everything they touch, including grasses and flowering plants. When using this type of herbicide, care must be taken to avoid accidentally letting it touch other plants in the area. Non-selective post emergent herbicides should be used sparingly unless you apply them to individual weeds, or you are trying to kill out an entire lawn so it can be reseeded.

Each type of weed killer offers a variety of advantages and disadvantages that should carefully be considered. Most homeowners find using a combination of different types of herbicides work best. Knowing which type of weed killer to use is the first step toward a beautiful, weed free landscape. It is also essential that you understand how to apply weed killer safely and effectively.

Understanding the Application Process of Herbicides

Herbicides are typically sold in either liquid or granular form. Each type of herbicide is very effective in eliminating weeds from your landscape. Here is an explanation of how herbicides are used in your landscape

Granular herbicides can be blended with your fertilizer and applied using a push spreader. Granular herbicides are typically broadcast over large areas, which means you may be applying chemicals to areas that do not need them. Examples of granular herbicides are pre-emergent broadleaf herbicides. These herbicides are often referred to as weed and feed.

Liquid fertilizers are diluted with water and then sprayed onto weeds using either a handheld sprayer or a backpack sprayer. Liquid fertilizers can be used to spot spray weeds like chickweed, plantain, and other broadleaf weeds. Spot spraying prevents excess chemicals in your landscape.

There are several ways to apply weed killer. The application process is determined by the type of weed killer used and the type of weeds you have in your landscape. Herbicides are dangerous when safety protocols are not followed, which is why you must understand how to handle and how to use weed killers.

Understanding Herbicide Safety

When it comes to the sheer number of herbicides on the market, it can be overwhelming; however, a little research can help you determine the best herbicide for your unique needs. Some herbicides are considered safer for wildlife, pollinators, and pets, while others shouldn't be used around animals. Other herbicides are designed for certain types of weeds, while others are broad spectrum weed killers.

Did you know that regulations only require that the active ingredients in weed killers be listed on a label? This means the manufacturer does not have to list inert chemicals, even if they are poisonous or can endanger your health or the health of your pets or livestock. Additionally, these ingredients can leach into the groundwater and lead to a host of health issues. This is why you must read all labels carefully and follow the manufacturer's instructions precisely.

When you use any type of weed killer, it is important to use personal protective equipment (PPE). To protect your eyesight, you should always wear safety glasses. Safety glasses will protect your eyes if the wind suddenly whips up and blows weed killer toward your face. We also recommend wearing pants, a long sleeved shirt, socks, shoes, and gloves to reduce the risk of weed killer coming in contact with your skin. Once you have finished with your weed killer application, you should immediately remove the clothing and take a shower.

Avoid using weed killer around any natural water sources. Instead, we recommend using natural weed killing methods like hand weeding, mulch, or cardboard around these areas.

You should only apply weed killer around blooming plants when honeybees, hummingbirds, and other pollen foragers are less likely to visit. This will protect them from accidental poisoning from weed killers.

Understanding how to use weed killers safely will protect your family, your plants, your pets, and the wildlife from accidental poisoning. You want to minimize the effects of weed killer on the environment and prevent it from impacting the groundwater.

Final Thoughts

There are many different types of weed killers on the market. Some weed killers are designed to kill specific types of weeds. Other weed killers are broad spectrum and will kill anything they come in contact with. Understanding how each type of weed killer works and how to properly use it will keep your landscape, flower beds, and gardens looking amazing.

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Chemical Weed Control Tips
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