Ask any full-time gardener what the most frustrating thing about gardening really is and they will all answer, weeds. Weeds are any plant that has become an unwelcome visitor to our plant rows, driveways and lawns.
We can sometimes be quite demanding. We want our lawns to be 100% grass but we want no grass at all in our rockeries. Getting down on your hands and knees is a really time-consuming business and for those of us with large lawns, just not an option.
To help you obtain that perfect lawn, it is necessary to use a good quality weed killer. This will get rid of all those unwanted weeds leaving us with a nice and healthy all-grass lawn. Since there is a multitude of weed killers on the market, we have put together a list of our top weed killers to help you get that perfect garden with plant free walkways.
|Selective?||Contact or systemic||Our Rating|
|Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer||32oz||21||6,000||systemic|
|Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer||32oz||2-3 tbs in 3-5 gallon of water||20,000||contact|
|Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate Plus||36.8oz||12||3,000||systemic|
|Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide||32oz||24||contact|
|GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate||32oz||1||75||systemic|
What do I need to know about weed killers before I buy?
There are two main types of weed killer on the market today, systemic and contact weed killers.
Systemic Weed Killer
This kind of weed killer works by being absorbed by any plant that it comes into contact with. Once absorbed, it works as an inhibitor stopping the plant from being able to absorb water and nutrients which it needs to survive.
This results in the plant effectively starving to death, which despite the fact that it takes longer than contact weed killers, also means it is more effective at preventing the plant from growing back as quickly.
Contact Weed Killer
A contact weed killer will kill only the parts of the plant that it is exposed to. So if for example, you spray it onto just one leaf of a weed, then only that leaf will die leaving the rest of the plant alive.
Though contact weed killers are really effective in killing the above-ground parts of the plant they do unfortunately leave the roots unharmed. This means that the weed will grow back much faster than with the systemic weed killers.
So which type of weed killer is best?
The type of weed killer you should use really depends on exactly what kinds of weeds you are trying to get rid of. Contact weed killer is much better for quickly getting rid of seasonal weeds that tend to only grow on an annual basis while systemic weed killer is much better at getting rid of year round plants and deep rooted varieties such as perennials.
What are the other types of weed killer?
The other main categories are selective and non-selective weed killers. The difference between these two is mainly that selective ones will only kill certain plants that they come into contact with whereas non-selective will kill nearly every plant they touch.
Selective weed killers are the ones we use on lawns as they will kill most of those unwanted broadleaf weeds while leaving the grass unharmed.
The non-selective types are the ones we use when trying to remove grass and plants from our gravel paths and driveways where we don’t wish to have any plants growing, including grass.
When should I use a weed killer?
You can use a weed killer at any time of the year though they do work much better in dry conditions. As a result, times when you might expect more rainfall, such as winter, are often regarded as worse times of the year to use one.
How to safely use a weed killer
Since weed killer is actually a poisonous substance to humans, you should take great care when using it.
- You should add the weed killer to the spray jar in the correct water/ weed killer concentration as indicated in the products instructions. Some weed killers already come in sprays or other such applicators, so you may not need to do this.
- Make sure that the weed killer is the appropriate one for which plants you want to kill because as we have seen some products will kill every plant that they are exposed. This is obviously not good if you don’t want to kill every blade of grass on your lawn.
- Take your spray and begin to spray a reasonable amount of the weed killer over the area you want it to work on. It is a good idea to apply it in a side to side motion as this will ensure that you don’t miss any patches as you go.
- Once you have finished, you can then store the spray somewhere safe and out of the reach of children. (Never pour the remaining weed killer down the drain as it is harmful to the environment).
Final Do’s and Dont’s
- Try to make sure you spray the plants and avoid spraying the soil as much as possible
- Don’t spray close to the face where you risk inhaling the vapor
- Always wash your hands with soap after spraying
- Keep out of reach of children
- Always store properly and avoid excessive heat
Our Top Choice
Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer, 41-Percent Glyphosate
This bestselling product is the favorite of amateur and professional gardeners alike. It offers superb value for money given just how effective it is at killing all those unwanted weeds.
A big drawback with many different brands of weed killers is that if it rains shortly after you have applied it, they will wash off and therefore won’t kill the plants. This great formula is rainproof in just 2 hours and yields results in as short a time as 2 days.
You can expect to wait between 4 to 7 days for all the weeds to die off but after which your patio, driveway or wherever else you choose to apply it will be guaranteed 100% free of weeds. This is a systemic non-selective weed killer so it should not be used on your lawn.
This weed killer is Glyphosate-based, which is a post-emergent herbicide that will not pollute the soil in a way that effects future growth. If you are using it to replace a lawn or shrubbery then seeds can be added as little as a day later and will grow normally.
|Use on||driveways, walkways, along fences, around flower beds & trees & shrubs, in and around fruit and vegetable gardens|
|Coverage Area||6,000 sq. ft.|
|Contact or systemic||systemic|
|Ready-To-Use Equivalent||21 gallons|
|Visible Results||in 2-4 days|
|Rating||(4.9 / 5)|
- Rainproof in 2 hours
- Visible results in as little as 2 to 4 days
- Glyphosate-based so no long term effects
- 32oz drum will cover over 6,000 sq. ft
- Takes quite a while to work
Southern Ag 2,4-D Amine Weed Killer Selective Broadleaf Weed Control
This selective weed killer is the secret of all those homeowners out there who seem to have the perfect lawn. It is a broad leaf killer meaning that it won’t kill grass or crops such as corn.
Its 2,4-D Amine formula is one of the most common broadleaf weed killing formulas on the market and is used throughout the world on lawns, golf courses, parks and other grass inhabited areas.
As a weed killer, it is pretty fast acting and really good at getting rid of all those unwanted weeds. As with all other weed killers, you should take care to follow the instructions when using it as it is harmful to humans.
|Use on||certain grasses in lawns, parks, golf courses, and pastures; fences, ditchbanks, non-crop sites, small grains, and corn|
|Coverage Area||20,000 sq. ft.|
|Contact or systemic||contact|
|Ready-To-Use Equivalent||2-3 tbs in 3-5 gallon of water|
|Visible Results||in a couple days|
|Rating||(4.8 / 5)|
- For use with lawns, parks, golf courses, fences, ditch banks, non-crop sites, small grains, and corn.
- Works with most kinds of weeds
- 2-3 TBS in 3-5 gallon of water is enough to cover 1000 sqft.
- You need to be careful when mixing it with water. If too strong it will kill the grass
Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate Plus
This is another great systemic non-selective weed killer that does a great job at getting rid of any plant that it touches. The main advantage of this formula is that it’s extremely fast working with results being seen in as little as 12 hours. This means that by the morning you should already be able to see the difference in areas that you treated just the day before.
This weed killer is rainproof in as little as 30 minutes, which is a real bonus if you are at a time of year when you can’t predict the weather. There is nothing more frustrating than spending several hours applying weed killer to a huge area only for it to start pouring with rain the second you have finished.
|Use on||patios, walkways, driveways, gravel areas, around tree rings, in mulched beds, along fences, along foundations, in/around flower beds, lawn renovation and garden prep;not for use around existing edibles|
|Coverage Area||3,000 sq. ft.|
|Contact or systemic||contact & systemic|
|Ready-To-Use Equivalent||12 gallons|
|Visible Results||in 12 hours|
|Rating||(4.6 / 5)|
- Kills the toughest weeds and grasses to the root
- Formulated for use around flowers, shrubs, and trees
- For use on patios, gravel areas, and walking areas as well as for lawn replacements or garden plot preparation
- Rainproof in 30 minutes
- Noticeable results in just 12 hours
- Not as an effective killer as the Compare-N-Save Concentrate
Southern Ag Crossbow Specialty Herbicide 2 4 D & Triclopyr Weed & Brush Killer
For those of you who are in need of a herbicide to kill woody plants and brush, this is the one for you. In the summer time, some brush plants like blackberries can come out of nowhere and take over. Since these are so fast growing, they can be a nightmare to get rid of and like poison oak, a real hassle if not gotten rid of.
This super effective formula might take a little time to show results but you can be sure that when it does there will be none of those unwanted brush plants left in its wake. An added bonus is that it’s rainproof within 2 hours of application also.
|Use on||rangeland, grass pastures, fences, ditchbanks and other non-crop areas|
|Contact or systemic||contact|
|Ready-To-Use Equivalent||24 gallons|
|Visible Results||in 9-14 days|
|Rating||(4.6 / 5)|
- Very effective
- Low volatile formula
- Controls most kinds of unwanted trees & brush plants
- Takes some time to work
Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate
This concentrated formula is really long lasting and will help keep those treated weeds from coming back for as much as a year after they are treated. It is another systemic non-selective weed killer that is extremely effective at killing all that it’s sprayed onto.
Slightly more expensive that the other weed killers on this list, it is really powerful and so it is excellent for use on driveways, walkways and for clearing lawns for reseeding. The only drawback is that like most weed killers it only kills those weeds that are above ground so you will need to treat new ones as they emerge.
|Use on||driveways, walkways, patios, along fences|
|Coverage Area||75 sq. ft.|
|Contact or systemic||contact & systemic|
|Ready-To-Use Equivalent||1 gallon|
|Visible Results||in hours|
|Rating||(4.5 / 5)|
- Kills weeds and prevents new growth for up to 1 year
- For use on driveways, walkways, patios, and fence rows
- Lasts up to a year
- Visible results in only a few hours
- Easy to apply
- Slow acting
Before you buy a weed killer, you will need to sit down and decide exactly what you want it to do. If you are looking for a product that kills everything then you will need a non-selective formula whereas if you want one that leaves the grass then you will need a selective one.
We recommend doing your research before buying any product but we are confident that no matter which of the products we have featured on this list that you choose, you will be more than happy with the results.