A well-maintained lawn is not only inviting and entertaining, it’s also therapeutic… until of course, some sort of weed starts invading your property. Weeding is the most time-consuming and stressful part of maintaining a lawn. If you are to measure the time you spend on your garden, you will probably find that most of it is spent on managing weed. The worst part is weed grows so fast! If you have a very big lawn, you will never be able to keep up. Good thing, there’s a simple remedy to controlling the unwelcomed tenants in your lawn: apply a good-quality weed killer. There are many types and brands of weed killers available in local stores and online. However, only a few names stand out. Read on to find the best weed killers and why many homeowners trust these products.
Top 10 Weed Killers Of 2020 Reviewed
1. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed KillerWeed Killer for Huge Weed Infestation
Because it’s highly concentrated, just one container (1 gallon) of Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer can powerfully destroy 25,000 sq. ft of weeds.
Designed to kill even the robust weeds in your lawn, Compare-N-Save weed killer delivers results in less time (several hours to a few days). For general weed control, you only need 3 tablespoons of this concentrate in one gallon of water. But for tough infestation, you will need about 5 for every 300 square feet of soil.
While it can be used in different areas, including fences, between cracks, around flower beds and shrubs, and in and around vegetable gardens, this product should be used with care. With 41% concentration of glyphosate, Compare-N-Save makes a very effective weed control solution. Once sprayed on the weeds or grass, it travels through the roots, effectively killing weeds in a short amount of time, typically within two to four days. Thus, it is not recommended to be used as a spot treatment because of the possibility of killing the surrounding plant life. And because it is a post-emergent weed killer, it does not prevent new weeds from growing.
- Highly concentrated for superior savings
- Long-lasting results
- Kills most weeds and unwanted grass
- Doesn’t prevent new weeds
2. Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed FertilizerWeed Killer for Dandelion and Clover Control
Another quality weed killer, Scotts Turf Builder kills weeds and at the same time, fertilizes your lawn to keep it healthy and suitable for vegetation.
This weed killer is highly effective against dandelions and clover. It features Weedgrip Technology which means it grips the weeds you see as well as those you don’t. Along with its weed control formula, Scotts Turf Builder thickens your lawn and crowds out weeds with its powerful fertilizing agents. For small infestations, you can expect the product to eliminate all dandelions and clovers in just one application. More applications are necessary for larger infestations. Moreover, this weed control requires no mixing or diluting. Just open it and pour into a spreader for easy use.
Scotts Turf Builder also offers other types of weed control. They have products specifically made to kill crabgrass and other grassy weeds.
- 2X more powerful dandelion and clover control
- Human, pet, and environment-safe
- Easy application
- Not suitable for dry grass
3. Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer ConcentrateWeed Killer for Long-Lasting Results
Popular all over the world, the Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer is a reliable product designed for most types of weeds. If you are looking for a weed killer that deals with most types of weeds, Ortho GroundClear is a great choice. Considered the best brand by many, it promises to kill and prevent the growth of weeds for up to one year. It’s also fast-acting. You don’t need to wait for weeks or months. Once applied, you can already notice results after several hours.
This product features a multi-functional and well-balanced formula that works in most areas, from lawns to patios, cracks in driveways, pavements, and other parts of your home where you don’t want to see any weed thriving. Simply determine where you want to remove any weed. The label has instructions regarding the application process for each surface. Ortho GroundClear comes with its own sprinkler cap so it’s ready to use at any moment. It also covers up to 400 sq. ft of land. Even though slightly overpriced, Ortho is no doubt a reliable brand trusted by many homeowners worldwide. Unfortunately, it is not sold in California because of the herbicide laws in the said state.
- Delivers long lasting results
- Highly effective
- Expensive than other brands
- Not sold in CA
4. Preen Garden Weed PreventerWeed Killer for Preventing New Weeds
If you have a newly revamped lawn and you want to kill any weed even before they grow, try Preen Garden Weed Preventer. Another top brand, this weed killer is safe to use around flowers, shrubs, and other vegetation.
They say prevention is better than cure. And when it comes to weed, this is absolutely true. Instead of spending a lot of effort and money removing weeds that have outgrown your plants, you can stop them from germinating even before they reach the surface of the soil and sprout.
For best results, Preen needs to be applied to the soil every three months. Because it’s safe to be applied on areas where there’s vegetation, you will have peace of mind that it will not harm your most loved plants. Apply it anytime during the growing season around established plants. It may even be incorporated in the soil during seeding vegetables or applied after mulching beds. However, you shouldn’t use it on flower seeds. You have to wait until after the plants have germinated and are 2-3 inches tall.
- Safe to use with plants
- Isn’t washed away by rain
- Not effective for destroying existing weed
5. Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed KillerBroadleaf Weed Killer
Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer is the best choice if you’re looking for a product that is designed to destroy dandelions, chickweed, poison ivy, and other broadleaf weeds in your lawn.
The 46% active herbicide content of Ag 2,4-D Amine makes it a highly concentrated product which is an economical option if you’re looking to treat a larger area of vegetation. Another benefit of highly concentrated weed control is that it gives you flexibility over the use and application. For instance, you can use just a smaller amount for not-so-tough weeds or very small areas, and add more for really robust weeds. Just 2-3 tablespoons is enough to cover 1,000 square feet of land.
This product is safe to use on grass. Just apply it on areas where weeds used to grow. You also need to be a little careful when applying the solution because if applied to other foliage apart from the target area, it can damage other plants and the grass. It can also leave behind a distinct chemical smell that may linger for days.
- High concentration
- Protects grass
- Not recommended for use during windy days
- Chemical odor is strong and can last for a few days
6. Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer ConcentrateWeed and Crabgrass Killer
Another powerful weed control formulation, Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer Concentrate destroys over 200 species of weeds without harming beneficial plants.
Whether you have weeds or crabgrass infestations in your lawn, this product is a treasure to keep. It’s also a great choice if you live in a rainy area. This concentrated solution is rainproof for one hour which means the chemicals will have most likely reached the roots of the weeds long before the rain could even wash it away.
Bayer is a safe day-to-day weed killer, containing biodegradable ingredients that provide good results without harming the environment, including your water systems. It’s also one of the best when it comes to dealing with crabgrass. However, if you’re growing the popular St. Augustine grass at home, this may not be a good option as it can kill it too. Another thing that most consumers complain about is the complex instructions. If you are able to follow the instructions properly, you have a really powerful, cost-effective weed killer that can cover up to 5000 sq. ft. of lawn.
- Rainproof for one hour
- Non-irritant formula
- Easy to apply
- Multiple treatments required
- Confusing instructions
7. Gordon’s 652400 SPEEDZONEWeed Killer for Cold Seasons
Weeds are harder to control during the cold season because it slows down the uptake of the herbicide. However, the cool-weather formulation of the PBI/Gordon 652400 Speed Zone makes it a go-to product for all seasons.
Suitable for weeds already infecting vegetations, Gordon’s SpeedZone is one of the best weed killers for home and commercial use. This concentrate kills over 100 species of weeds, including broadleaf weeds like wild violets and the stubborn creeping charlie. It contains environmentally safe ingredients, making it a safer option if you have kids and pets at home.
It’s pre-mixed and ready to use – all you have to do is shake it and spray on your lawn. You should expect to see the results within a few hours but the weeds should be completely killed in one to two weeks. One unit (20 ounces) of this concentrate can make 20 gallons of weed control solution and can cover over 14,300 sq. ft. of lawn. Even if you do a follow-up application every 2-6 weeks, as recommended. One unit is therefore enough to last for a year.
- Visible results in hours
- Safe for humans and the environment
- Excellent cold weather performance
- Not suitable for all lawns
8. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass KillerBest Natural Weed & Grass Killer
If you are worried about chemicals affecting your plants or compromising the integrity of your soil, then you will surely appreciate this next product from Doctor Kirchner. The weed killer is all-natural, made entirely out of ocean saltwater, soap and some commercial food-grade vinegar which means that light vinegar smell too. Your instincts might tell you not to trust anything labeled ‘non-toxic’ to actually kill anything, but the Doctor Kirchner fully lives up to its expectation. In fact, many users have found it as the perfect alternative to all the toxic herbicides.
The weed killer comes ready to spray and contains no Glyphosate, mixing or hormone-disrupting chemicals. For this reason, you may need to spray the product more than one time, but rest assured, the weed killer will fully disintegrate all those pesky weeds by breakfast. This means you won’t have to go back and pull the dead weeds out. You also don’t have to worry about your children and pets getting affected by it.
- All-natural; kid and pet-friendly
- Easy to use
- Disintegrate the weeds, so you don’t have to pull them out
- Light vinegar smell as opposed to the toxic chemicals
- You may have to spray more than once
- Some users don’t like its original nozzle
9. Spectracide Weed Stop for LawnsHigh Coverage, Selective Weed Killer
Spectracide Weed Stop offers effective results in gentle application. It effectively kills over 200 weed species of weeds without harming your grass.
The best thing about this product is that it delivers consistent results with a gentle application. It won’t damage the surrounding plants, shrubs or flowers, only the weeds you aim to eliminate. The science behind this capability is the chemical abbreviated as 2,4 – D. It can kill over 200 weed species, primarily broadleaf while leaving grass untouched. One unit contains 32 ounces of formulation, enough to cover 16,000 sq. ft. of lawn. However, you have to read the label carefully as with other kinds of selective weed control, it may harm other types of grass, particularly the Floratam variety of St. Augustine grass in Florida.
- Gentle on the soil
- High coverage
- Selective herbicide
- Results are seen only after a few weeks
- Not suitable for all grasses
10. Remedy Ultra Herbicide Weed ControlWeed Killer for Woody Plants and Annual Perennials
Remedy Ultra Herbicide Weed Control is ideal for the toughest kinds of weeds, from English ivy to wildflowers, mesquite, and privet.
Recommended for the control of woody plants and annual perennials, the Remedy Ultra Herbicide is an oil-soluble specialized product that delivers consistent results. Just dilute 2 ounces of the formulation in one gallon of water and wet the foliage for a non-restricted use without residual activity. Because of its ability to destroy tough weeds, this makes a valuable weed control for commercial use.
- Contains 60 percent triclopyr – a common chemical for fungicide
- Works especially on woody plants
- Takes about two weeks to effect, on average
How To Choose the Best Weed Killer: The Ultimate Buying Guide
The best weed killer isn’t necessarily the first product that comes up on your Google screen upon hitting the ‘search’ button. There are many factors to consider, including the effectiveness, ease of use, and safety of the product. Moreover, not all weed killers are suitable for all types of weed. The size of your lawn, plants that you grow and maintain, and how often you maintain your lawn are to be taken into consideration too.
At the end of this guide, you should be able to select the type and brand of weed killer that is most suitable for your lawn maintenance needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Types of Weed Killers
While it may seem like these products only have a single purpose – that is – to kill weed – they come in varying types too. Depending on your application needs, you may come across the following types of weed killer.
Residual Weed Killers
This weed killer poisons the soil, killing any plants within that area. It works by inhibiting seed germination as well as photosynthesis – the process by which plants process their own food. Some residual weed killers remain for months, even years. Thus, they should not be applied in areas where edible plants are grown.
Residual weed killers are most suitable for areas used along paths or in between pavements. Any product falling under this category should be used with caution, especially when applied near shrubs or lawns.
Contact Weed Killers
Any plant can be considered ‘weed’ if you don’t intend to grow them in your yard. So even if it’s a beautiful dandelion, if it messes around your well-manicured vegetable garden, you want to take it out as not only it consumes space, it also takes part of the nutrients from your homegrown plants. If you’re looking to get rid of a particular type of plant or weed in your lawn, a contact weed killer might be the most suitable option for you. This type of weed control only eliminates plants or weed which comes in contact to it. It’s very fast acting and effective.
Contactweedkillerss come in two kinds: selective and non-selective.
Selective weed killers are designed for certain species of weed or plant. Thus, even if you apply it to your entire lawn, it will only get rid of the weed/plants it claims to control. Non-selective weed control, on the other hand, kills anything it’s applied to, even if it’s a weed or plant.
Contact weed killers are the most commonly used type and are specifically great for annual weeds. They don’t kill the roots, rather weaken the plants. Several applications may be needed to totally control perennial weeds.
Systemic Weed Killers
This type of weed control is taken by the foliage and transported to the remainder of the plant, including the roots. They work by lowering the amount of protein and chlorophyll in the plant, thus, inhibiting their growth. Systemic weed killers are gentle on the lawn but it may take a bit longer to have the weed completely eliminated (up to two weeks). They are ideal for well-established lawns because they don’t destroy grass. Since they only affect the roots of the plant, systemic weed controls don’t poison the soil and thus keep it suitable for other plantings.
Types of Weed in Your Lawn
Of course, the first question you need to ask yourself is – what weeds do you have? Is the weed thriving in your garden annuals like foxtail, spurges or crabgrass that live for just one season? Or are they perennial weeds like nutsedge and dandelions that recur throughout the year? It is vital that you select an herbicide that has the types of weed you want to kill listed on the label. A weed killer rated as the best among the best won’t be as effective as it’s supposed to be if used in the types of weed it’s not formulated against.
Plants in You Grow
Another important thing to consider are the plants that you grow in your garden. If you just moved into a new home and would want to make an overhaul of the lawn and start all things fresh, consider applying a non-selective herbicide that will not poison the soil. If you already have an existing landscape, the best approach would be to not give weeds the opportunity to sprout and seed. You can do so by using pre-emergent herbicides which come in granular and liquid forms. This weed control work by preventing weed seeds from germinating. Again, check the label to make sure that the product you’re buying is safe for your plants. Effective chemicals that inhibit weeds from growing around various trees, flower beds, shrubs and select vegetable crops include DCPA, oryzalin, bensulide, trifluralin, and simazine.
Season of Use
Another important consideration when purchasing a weed killer is the weather. Some weed killers work optimally only under specific seasons. For instance, a weed killer that should be used in winter may not work well during the summer. Thus, scheduling your weed control project is one of the first steps you should take. Always read the label for instructions on how and when to use the product.
The main reason you’re buying the best weed killers in the market today is that they should be effective. What do other people say about that product’s effectiveness? Always read through customer reviews before making the purchase. It’s also helpful to carefully examine its label to know about its main ingredients and whether they are suitable to your lawn and application needs.
If you’re treating a small area, you may want to look for a “ready-to-use” weed killer that is applied straight to the affected area. Products like this are somehow expensive but are available in small amounts. Thus, you still get to save (aside from the fact that they are no fuss to use). However, if you’re controlling weed in a very large area, you may consider more economical concentrated products that require some preparation prior to the application. In either case, buy only the amount you need for the calculated area you plan to treat. Not only will you save money, but you also avoid having to store these chemicals in your house, which might not be safe when you have kids or pets around.
Furthermore, be sure to choose the product which is easy to use and has straightforward instructions on the packaging. Any herbicide used incorrectly can spell disaster on your lawn.
As you will be dealing with chemicals, you should also prioritize choosing the weed killer that is well-rated for being safe to use. Look for products that don’t contain irritants. With the growing concern in the environment, more and more herbicide manufacturers are creating organic versions of weed killers. Well, even though the best weed killers today contain various chemicals, such ingredients are generally deemed safe as long as you handle them with enough care. If the product’s eco-friendliness is a concern to you, opt for natural/organic weed control products.
Ensuring the Effectiveness of Your Weed Control
Even if you choose selective herbicides, there’s no denying that applying chemicals on your lawn can still cause stress in your plants and grass, not to mention all other stressors like pruning, stepping on them and having soil around their roots compacted, too much or not enough water, and the changing weather.
Here are some important steps to minimize the stress caused by spraying chemicals on plants bring and ensure the effectiveness of your chosen weed killer:
- Avoid applying herbicides when it’s too hot or the temperature is 80 degrees and above.
- Avoid applying on very young grass or plants. Waiting 4-5 months is the best approach unless the label says otherwise. Avoid heavy concentration too.
- Plan your application accordingly. If there’s a forecast of rain within the day and the day after, reschedule the application. Herbicides need to remain in the foliage for at least 24 hours to penetrate the roots of the weed and kill them. If it’s too hot, consider watering your lawn a day before the application to increase it resilience.
- Do not mow your lawn 2-3 days before your scheduled application. The chemical should be absorbed by the leaves of the weed to allow the chemical to get down the root.
Overall, the best weed killer should be able to:
- Accurately target the weed, not your precious plants or well-groomed grass.
- Be applied easily. Of course, it’s going to depend on the herbicide you choose but if possible, choose the product which does not need watering. This saves energy and water resources and can be helpful to reduce waste as well.
- Give value for your money. Only buy the amount you need.
- Effectively control weed and still be safe for your family and pets.
Controlling weed is no doubt easier with the use of a specialized product that weakens it and inhibits its growth. But with so many choices out there, it can be difficult to find the best weed killer for your lawn application needs. This in-depth review of the best weed killers in 2018 should narrow down your choices. Along with the buying guide, you should be able to ultimately find the product that will give the results you want to see.