Hello everyone. I have been thinking of using some of that liquid weed
killer for the weeds in my yard. I've never used the product before.
Which brand do you recommend? Is it poured on directly or is it
diluted with water? And can you tell me whether it spreads? I'm
concerned about using it on some weeds that surround a pretty tree in
my yard. Is the weed killer specific to the weeds or is it likely to
kill the tree as well? Do you know how far it seeps into the soil and
affects other plants? Thanks.
I suspect you will want to post this to rec.gardening, if they will
answer it. Most gardeners aren't that big on chemical killers. I know,
I have asked them in the same way you have worded it. Probably the best
thing to do is to take samples of the weeds you want to kill along with
a list of those things you don't want to kill to a garden shop and ask
them for advice. One usually does far more harm to the soil and
possibly themselves if they don't follow the advice carefully and the
weeds survive. Also each area of the state, country have spedific
chemicals you can buy and those that are banned. You don't say where
Hire a professional lawn care company. They have all the equipment and know
It may be more expensive than if you did it yourself, but they will probably
do a much better job than you could, and it will be safer for you and your
plants in the long run.
Brand isn't necessarily important. The two most common weed killers are
2,4-D and glyphosate (Roundup). 2,4-D is for weeds in lawns; it kills
most broadleaf weeds (dandelions, etc.) but doesn't really harm the
grass if used properly. Roundup is a general herbicide and kills most
everything it is applied to.
I buy "Ace" branded versions of both.
In cases of specific, stubborn weeds, you may want to choose another
type. But the first two should do fine for most lawn needs.
Almost all versions are diluted in some fashion, and come in handy spray
bottles. You can buy liquid concentrate, to save money, but you must
dilute it yourself before spraying.
A matter of debate. I haven't found that to be the case, but some people
are very concerned, for example, about their neighbors' usage. All
weed-killer products will join storm runoff and reach local waterways.
A mature tree should be able to handle a few 2,4-D sprays inside its
dripline without problem. A small ornamental or youthful tree may need
more caution. Killing the tree outright is unlikely, but you might
weaken it for a season or two. If you're really concerned, you can
always just pull the weeds close to the tree. Chemicals don't kill
better, they just kill easier.
Again, a matter of debate. I wouldn't overdo it but I don't see why
judicious use of weed killer according to instructions should badly
affect you or your garden.
Ultimately the best weed control is a healthy lawn, cut to proper height
and fertilized according to soil needs.
If you haven't already made up your mind, I'd encourage you to
consider alternatives. Even if your yard is solid weeds and the grass
is almost completely choked out, there are alternatives. If you've
got light to moderate weediness, your best bet would be to work on
getting the soil and healthy enough to stand up against the weeds.
Chemicals have so many drawbacks:
1. They are toxic - that's the whole idea. Read the warnings on the
containers and consider whether you want to breathe it while you're
applying it, whether you want your kids or pets or the local wildlife
anywhere near it, and whether you want it leaching into the
2. The chemicals are also toxic to the various microorganisms living
in the soil that keep your lawn healthy. If you kill them off,
there's nothing to do but keep dumping chemicals on to feed your lawn.
You'll have a chemically-dependent lawn.
3. Chemicals aren't as effective as you might think. There are always
a few survivors, and those weeds create the next generation of weeds
that are more tolerant of various herbicides, necessitating the
creation of even more potent chemicals. It's a vicious cycle.
Digging is really the most effective weapon against weeds. I know
it's labor intensive, but there are ways to make it easier. I used to
pay my daughter a nickel per dandelion and a dime per thistle. If you
don't have kids, hire neighbor kids. If you're willing to do it
yourself, just take it a little bit at a time. When my daughter was
unwilling or unavailable, I'd just dig the dandelions that were
blooming on a given day, leaving the others for another day.
If you've got a large section of solid weeds, you can cover it with
black plastic for a year (maybe less), then start over with grass.
Or, let it be. One doesn't need a golf-course lawn. A few intruders
don't hurt anything and provide visual interest as well as food for
various critters. There are many books and web sites about
maintaining a healthy, chemical-free lawn. One of those books would
cost the same as your first batch of chemicals.
Here's one such link - it's very brief and offers other links.
That said, the type of herbicide you choose depends on what you are
trying to accomplish and what types of weeds you are trying to kill.
For wholesale slaughter, you can use a general herbicide such as
Roundup. It kills anything whose leaves it touches. You can buy it
in diluted and undiluted form. You would use the undiluted form in a
sprayer and add water to it. I would advise against using the kind
that attaches to your hose. If any gets on your hose it could kill
whatever you use it on next. You can get pump sprayers that are used
for this express purpose. Do not use it subsequently for applying
fertilizers. Once you've used it for killing stuff, keep it for that
You can also use Roundup somewhat selectively. If you spray it on one
plant and don't get a drop on the plant immediately next to it, that
neighbor plant will be fine. You do this by putting it in a squirt
bottle (again, in diluted form) and squirt individual weeds with it.
For selective killing, you can get broadleaf herbicides such as
Weed-B-Gone, which come in liquid and dry form. These will not kill
grass ("narrow leaf"), but will kill pretty much anything else. The
liquid form can be used for sport killing (as described above), and
the dry form is spread in a spreader.
WARNING: DO NOT SPRAY ANY HERBICIDE ON ANYTHING BUT A CALM DAY!!! The
slightest breeze can catch the stuff and get it on plants or trees
that you don't want to kill. And if it kills your neighbor's plants
or trees, you could have a lawsuit on your hands.
As stated above, these work by being applied to the leaves and working
their way into the plant's "system". Nearby plants will not be
affected by the poison leaching into the soil. Also as stated above,
the beneficial organisms in your soil WILL be affected.
Hope this helps.
Do yourself a favor - identify your grass variety, indentify the weed,
then get advice for the right method. You can buy broadleaf or grassy
weed herbicides, in dry, liquid or concentrate. No way of knowing what
you need until you know what you have. Kind of like saying, "I'm sick.
What kind of medication do I need?"
Roundup is a total vegetation killer - non-selective. Some herbicides
will migrate through roots and kill or damage any plant whose roots take
them up. RU works on foliage. Some are pretty toxic to wildlife. Some
are pre-emergent - have to treat before the weed (like crabgrass) is
full-grown, and some need to be applied when the weed is actively
growing. Some are banned in some states. Best not to use herb.,
generally, during times when plants are stressed (hot, dry weather).
Type, amount, time of year and conditions all are important. Go to your
county or state extension service - probably have a website - and check
out lawncare. You can't find out all you should know on a newsgroup.
Proper watering, fertilizing and mowing have a lot to do with weed
situation, as well.
I had a bunch of weeds around some trees.
Big spikey weeds that were kinda tiger striped.
I took heavy gloves and a metal spike, waited until after rain
and pulled them out (with a little help from the spike to get
the root up).
No damage to the bushes and trees I wanted.
We also had a bunch of weeds coming up between stones in a walk way.
Lower priority - so when I made noodled, I'd just skip out
the noodles and dump the boiling hot water onto the walkway
and weeds. They are thoroughly dead. But the lizards and
hummingbirds in the bushes along the walk aren't dead.
(and strong mix of Round-Up sprayed onto the "sticks" that
turned out to be poison oak once spring came (and once I stopped
itching from a stroll through them)).
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