I would like to zap weeds growing in the lawn and garden without harming
the grass and plants growing around the weeds. What is the best way to
do it? I saw something called a Weed Stick online, where you supposedly
walk around injecting any kind of concentrated weed killer directly on
the weed. Anyone try it? Would WD40 or gasoline work using a direct
applicator? It sounds like a lot of folks use Roundup, but I find that
it works too slow. It seems to take a couple of days for the leaves to
begin turning brown. Thanks for any suggestions.
Roundup, WD40 or gasoline will kill anything it touches, including the
grass and plants growing around the weeds. For spot killing I've always
had good luck with Killex. Comes in a handy squirt bottle and is easy
to use. Found at most garden centres. But it really doesn't hurt to get
on your hands and knees, use a little elbow grease, and dig them out by
Roundup becomes inert when it enters the soil. Thus, it is much better
for the environment than gas or WD-40 as well as your grass.
The weed stick looks interesting. It looks like you can put any thing
in it. That would minimize the collateral damage from spraying. I
might have to check that out.
Not sure about your location, but the best time to treat for weeds is
in the spring, when weeds are young and vigorously growing. For
broadleaf weeds I like to use Weed-B-Gone and Spectricide, alternating
between these two. I mix it up in a garden sprayer, usually a little
stronger than recommended, then hit each weed. The best time to spray
is on a windless sunny day with no rain predicted in the next 48
hours. Even with the "Rain-proof" formulas, it is better to use with
no rain in the forecast. Do not mow a day before nor a day after
treatment. If you are in the US, overseeding now will result in fewer
weeds next spring. I found that the fall overseeding has greatly
reduced the need for herbicides and almost wiped out the crabgrass. Do
not use a petroleum product. Unlike Weed-B-Gone, RoundUp will kill
both weeds and grass.
I see nothing wrong with RoundUp taking a few days to work. I use it
along curbs, cracks in the driveway, and mulched areas.
Yes on Roundup and weed torches or flamers.
But, keep in mind that herbicides and flamers do not actually remove
weeds. Even if they successfully kill the weeds, the weeds are still
there. This means that they take space in lawns, for example, where
you need good grass to grow.
That's why it's better to use a tool that actually removes weeds, like
the "Herbicide Helper" Weed Twister. This tool will twist out
crabgrass dead or alive. The sooner the crabgrass is gone, the sooner
your good grass can take its place.
For more info on the Herbicide Helper check out weedtwister.com.
Twist, clean up on weeds after Roundup, and save on herbicide costs!
BTW not all weed twisters are the same...
Nonsense. When the weed is dead it is gone, not producing any more
seeds nor sending out any runners. The weed biomass will be there
until it decays and becomes part of the soil structure (a good use for
a dead weed).
More nonsense. Removing part of a weed does not get rid of it as part
of its root structure is still in the soil and will promptly develop
into a new weed plant.
Dead crabgrass has already produced seeds which will sprout into new
crabgrass unless treated with a pre-emergent herbicide, organic or
other. The "twister" removes only the old crabgrass plant which I can
do easily with my bare hands if so inclined.
JMHO but I have nothing to sell.
I agree that they are usually dead and harmless, IF DEAD. The
glyphosate is active IN THE PLANT for several days, even though the
chemicals decompose IN THE SOIL. The chemicals don't decompose in the
plant, because if they did, they wouldn't be effective. Most people
don't kill a weed just to stop it from growing. They really want it
GONE!. Once they think it's dead, they remove it! This is double
effort and cost. IF you're going to remove it anyway, in most cases,
it's quicker and easier to remove it right away with a mechanical
approach, either by hand or by using a tool. If you're not going to
remove it but you're content to let it stay in your lawn or garden,
even though it causes a toxic hazard for at least a few days, then, you
may have at least solved the problem of stopping the weed from further
The "twister", in this case the twister with the coiled tines,
effectively removes more parts of a grass like crabgrass than any other
tool known to man. It pulls out large chuncks of networked stems,
roots and rhizomes by the twisting motion. Although some parts of the
stems may remain, the twister allows you to "fish" for remaining
strands and stems fairly efficiently. If you use your hands, you will
work much harder and accomplish much less in the same amount of time.
If you use a hoe, for example, you will chop up pieces of stems, and
make the job of finding them even harder!
Spraying postemergent herbicides on crabgrass or bermudagrass can only
be done in spots where the good grass or plants are safely separated
from the bad plants. When you reach the margins where they
intermingle, you cannot use the herbicide without also killing your
preferred grasses or plants. Here you must use your fingers or a tool
of your choice.
In my opinion, we have seen a siginificant increase in crabgrass
pressure in recent years, partly because we all want to do things in a
simple way, and spraying stuff seems simple. Over the years, I have
cleared large areas of my garden from bermudagrass, crabgrass and Saint
Augustin, simply by repeatedly tugging away at these pesty grass
sprouts with my handy twister. A combination of appropriate
herbicides, when and if necessary, and appropriate tools and a little
sweat is the ticket. Everything takes time...
John McWilliams wrote:
Weed-Be-Gone is safe for grass, according to the Ortho instructions,
except for certain grasses like St. Augustine, for example. Ortho has
a different product for St. Augustine grass weeds. Quoting from Ortho:
"Do not use on Floratam, a variety of St. Augustinegrass common in
Florida. Do not spray on Carpetgrass, Dichondra or desirable clovers."
I've seen one complaint on the web of a tree that was half-killed by
something coincidentally shortly after spraying the stuff on weeds
around the tree. This may be merely a coincidence.
In all cases, it's important to read the label. Of course, the
instructions are usually in very fine print and sometimes we're hasty
in not reading the instructions very carefully. There's a large image
of the instructions on a Roundup container published on the weedtwister
website, so that people can read the details and take their time. No
need to rush into buying this or any product or tool. Our timing is
rather irrelevant as far as the world of weeds is concerned.
A master gardener at the nursery told me that a broadleaf killer is
the way to get rid of suckers popping up in the lawn, and won't hurt
the tree. Of course, this is an established tree, but my guess ist
that a cup of broadleaf sprayed on the lawn isn't going to have an
affect on a thirty foot tall, 20 year old tree.
No need for a cup full. I use a hand sprayer, the kind that you hold
in one hand and pull a lever to eject a small stream. Squirt it on
the broadleaf, usually dandelions in my area and it is gone in couple
of days. I use Weed- B-Gone. No danger to trees or non-target
I cannot imagine losing a tree if you follow the label instructions.
No. Weed-B-Gone kills broadleaf weeds. The term broadleaf is
The best crabgrass control is a pre-emergent herbicide (both organic
and non-organic exist) in early spring before the crabgrass seeds
germinate. Turf grass spreads through runners, not seed, and hence is
ALWAYS FOLLOW THE LABEL INSTRUCTIONS.
I'm taking that as doubt that herbicides harm trees. I have provided
a number of links below to support the statements I made previously.
If you read through the links, you will likely notice that, as others
have said, most herbicides will not harm trees if used properly. That
raises two points:
1. even people who make mistakes often think they are doing everything
right. When an amateur gardener applies chemicals, it is more likely
he will overlook a simple mistake.
2. you want to be careful that you don't use one of the "other"
I have seen trees damaged by weed-n-feed. I have heard it mentioned
at many lectures in tree conferences as a common cause of tree damage
or death. I have read about it in industry journals and texts. I
stand by my earlier statement: use them at your own risk. But, of
course, if you choose to use them, follow the instructions carefully.
"Fertilizer mixes that contain weed killers should be used sparingly,
if at all, within the root zones of trees because the weed killer
could harm the tree."
"Injury can be by direct herbicide contact or through uptake by the
roots, causing browning, curling, and dying of leaves. Leaves may also
be stunted, leathery, and/or contain irregular growth patterns."
"Environmental contamination and injury to nontarget plants can occur
occasionally when all normal precautions are taken. However, such
contamination and injury are more common when pesticides are
mishandled or applied under improper conditions."
"Most broadleaf herbicides kill trees as well as weeds and are able to
move readily through the soil. Pramitol, a non-selective herbicide
commonly applied to gravel driveways and beneath above-ground pools,
will kill trees at a considerable distance from where it is originally
"SPRAY ONLY THE WEEDS AND DO NOT ALLOW THE HERBICIDE TO DRIFT ONTO THE
TREES AS DAMAGE WILL OCCUR."
"Trees often recover from exposure to the first group (compounds used
to kill broadleaf weeds). The leaves will become distorted and will
often drop, but depending on species and dosage, the trees will appear
normal in about 2 years. However, death can occur if the dosage is
I have purposely killed a (small) tree using a broadleaf killer, but
it is faster and easier to pull it out by hand. I recommend using
broadleaf killers cautiously and sparingly. RoundUp is safer to use
because it decomposes quickly and won't harm the root systems of
plants you really want to protect.
No. Weed-B-Gone is formulated to distinguish broadleaf plants from
grasses. Crabgrass is a grass. However, there are lawn products to
kill crabgrass but not other grasses--I tried one product and it was
not effective. Best defense against crabgrass is a thick lawn. I
overseed every year and no longer have the need to use pre-emergence
applications, plus fewer weeds. Years ago I thought premium grass
seed was expensive, but in the long run it saves time and money and
results in a very nice lawn. All my neighbors ask me how I did it!
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