For anyone who takes great pride in their lawn, weeds are an unwelcome sight. Unfortunately, they are quite common and have the potential to overtake yards and gardens quickly if not kept in check.
Knowing about and using the best weed killer for lawns is an important part of keeping your yard looking its best. But with so many weed killers to choose from and a list of pros and cons to using even the most tame lawn killer, how do you know which is best for you?
From organic gardening to general lawn maintenance, we have you covered. We’ve done our research and listed the best weed killer for lawns available, complete with pros and cons of using these weed control products and alternatives you can use right at home to keep your lawn healthy.
But before we begin, let’s take a moment to learn more about the most common types of weeds you might face and why understanding weeds matters when looking for the best weed killer for lawns.
What Are Weeds?
Weeds come in all shapes and sizes, and there are hundreds of different species.
Weeds, by definition, are any type of plant that is unwelcome in your yard or garden that causes economic or ecological damage or loss to crops, gardens, yards, animals or people.
There are three different kinds of weeds:
Troublesome weeds are plants that are undesirable to the common public either because they are unsightly, unwelcome, were not planted, or that cause damage or ecological loss to yards, gardens, animals or people.
Noxious weeds are plants specifically labeled by government officials as damaging or dangerous to agriculture, public health, wildlife, property and recreational areas.
Invasive weeds are plants that grow in areas where they are not native. These weeds have likely spread through human transportation, animal transportation, or other unnatural means.
Because these weeds are not common to the region they are growing, they are often more difficult to control as they have little to no natural adversaries in the region. Invasive weeds are especially dangerous to the local ecosystem and native plants for this reason.
While all types of weeds are bothersome, and while they are thought of primarily as undesirable plant life, it’s important to remember that they do play their role in a healthy ecosystem. Not all weeds are bad, and in fact, some people even find certain species of weeds appealing.
We should also note that there are upwards of 250,000 species of plant species throughout the world, and weeds (or what we would consider weeds) make up only about 3%.
Many weeds also have their benefits. Some contribute to a healthy yard and garden by stabilizing the soil, while others provide a safe habitat and food source to beneficial wildlife. Some weeds are even edible to people, providing us with delightful teas, salads, and even wines.
The below video gives insight into some of the most common edible weeds in the US
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Regardless of where you stand on weeds or what you classify as a weed at all, it’s important to understand that even the best weed killer for lawns is only going to work if you have done a bit of research and understand your lawn and the types of weeds you are dealing with.
What Are The Most Common Types of Weeds In Lawns?
The dandelion is one of the most common weeds in the United States.
Some types of weeds require more intensive weed killer while others can be taken care of simply by removing sources of water or sunlight.
The best weed killer for lawns will depend on the species of weed or weeds you are dealing with.
The most common types of weeds most Americans contend with in their lawns include:
Most Common Troublesome Weeds
- Creeping Charlie
- Shepherd’s Purse
Most Common Noxious Weeds
- Canada Thistle
- Buckhorn Plantain
Most Common Invasive Weeds
- English Ivy
- Butterfly Bush
- Japanese Honeysuckle
- Norway Maple
- Purple Loosestrife
- Black Locust
- Japanese Knotweed
Pros and Cons of Using The Best Weed Killer for Lawns
While weed killer is an effective way of getting rid of unwanted weeds, it can also damage lawns if not used correctly.
There is some controversy when it comes to using the best weed killer for lawns, especially when using a weed killer that contains chemical herbicides. Some weed killers can be toxic to the ecosystem, while others can be harmful to people, pets and wildlife.
Before investing in the best weed killer for lawns , it’s important to understand the pros and cons.
Pros of Using Weed Killer
- Weed killer is an effective way to control and remove weeds
- It works quickly and often requires less maintenance
- The best weed killer for lawns can come in chemical and organic forms
- Weed killer can be used to eradicate problematic or ecologically dangerous weeds quickly
Cons of Using Weed Killer
- If not used as directed, weed killer can be harmful to your lawn and ornamental plants
- Chemical weed killer can be dangerous for people, pets and the environment
- Some herbicides commonly used in products are banned in certain regions
- Most weed killer only works to kill surface weeds and, unless otherwise specified, will not stop future weeds from germinating
The Best Weed Killer For Lawns – Products That Work
Caring for your lawn includes picking out the best weed killer. But which product is best for you?
Before you decide on the best weed killer for lawns, consider your goals, lifestyle and region. Remember that the best weed killer for lawns is going to be a weed killer that specifically targets weeds without damaging your lawn or ornamental plants.
That said, some properties have very large weed problems and their lawn is overrun. If this sounds like your situation, you may need a more intensive weed killer that eliminates all weeds and grass so you can begin anew.
We will provide you with different options below.
We should also note that In some areas, certain types of weed killer are prohibited. Make sure you understand which types of weed killer are allowed depending on where you live and which chemicals are banned in your region.
It’s also important to consider ecological impact. Avoid weed killers that are especially harmful to the environment and wildlife. If you have children and pets who play outside often, you might consider a natural weed killer for your lawn or garden.
Now, with that in mind, let’s go over the best weed killer for lawns available.
Roundup Weed & Grass Killer
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First on our list of best weed killer for lawns is a product by Roundup. Roundup is a popular brand regarded for its ability to quickly and effectively control weeds. This product comes in a ready to use, refillable container and can be ordered in several different options for application. You may order this weed killer to include a wand, a trigger, or a pump N’ go option.
It is designed to kill weeds within three hours of application and comes ready to apply. It should be applied in dry weather, though it does become water-resistant within ten minutes. This product is designed to kill weeds at the root. However, this product does contain chemical ingredients that are toxic to people and pets, so use it only as directed and apply it with caution.
Compare-N-Save Grass and Weed Killer
Another weed killer that contains Glyphosate is RM43 Total Vegetation Control. This is an all-over weed killer that is the best weed killer for lawns with intensive weed problems. It comes in three different sizes and application styles, and can also be ordered to include a weed preventative (aka a pre-emergent), as it prevents weeds from growing for up to a year.
This product treats up 17,297 square feet and destroys all vegetation it is applied to. With that in mind, refrain from using this all over lawns unless you wish to start anew. This is the best weed killer for lawns with a very large weed problem and not for specific spot treatment.
This is also one of the best weed killers for flower beds, sidewalks, patios, and lawn borders.
Scotts Weed Control For Lawns
The above weed killer by Scotts is specifically designed for weeds in the lawn, and works for over 200 different species of weeds. It begins working upon application and works for most species of troublesome weeds like clover, dandelions and crabgrass.
The product specifically targets weeds in the lawn without harming the lawn itself. Of course, as with all weed killer, you should use this product only as directed and keep it out of reach of children.
Spectracide Lawn Weed Killer
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Spectracide is another popular brand and weed killer that does not harm the lawn and solely focuses on the weeds. This is the best weed killer for lawns and those looking for an all-over, lawn-friendly treatment.
This weed killer targets common troublesome weeds and kills them at the root. The results are generally seen within three to five hours, and it becomes water-resistant and rainproof after three hours of application.
Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer
The above weed killer by Ortho is another weed killer that targets weeds but does not harm the lawn. It is ideal for those struggling with spot treatment or basic weed control. It is the best weed killer for lawns dealing with troublesome weeds like dandelions, clover, crabgrass and up to 250 other species.
This weed killer contains the active ingredient Dimethylamine, which is an organic compound that helps kill weeds. That said, this isn’t the ideal choice for organic gardeners and should be used only as directed. As with all weed killers, keep this product out of reach of children.
If you are looking for the best weed killer for lawns for organic gardening, we have you covered below.
The Best All-Natural Weed Killer For Lawns
Natural weed killers are safest for families and those with children or pets.
If you’d prefer to use the best weed killer for lawns that is all natural and does not use chemical products, then this is the list for you. Of course, there are pros and cons to using an organic weed killer as well, and it’s important you also know that some natural weed killer can still be harmful to people, pets and the environment.
Before you decide if a natural weed killer is the best weed killer for lawns, we recommend that you do plenty of research, read the directions carefully, and use these weed killer options only as directed.
ECO Garden Vinegar Weed Killer
One of the best weed killer for lawns is vinegar, which we’ll discuss in more detail further down. If you’re looking for a natural and safe way to get rid of weeds using vinegar as an active ingredient as opposed to chemicals, take a look at Eco Garden Pro.
This weed killer uses natural ingredients like organic vinegar to get rid of common weeds in the lawn. It is free of chemical herbicides and therefore it is safe for people, pets and other animals.
It works by dehydrating weeds in the lawn and works within 24 hours of application. This is one of the best weed killers for lawns battling clover, chickweed, crabgrass, thistle, dollar weed, dandelions, moss, and more.
OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer
We like OrgnaicMatters Natural Weed Killer because it uses natural ingredients to control and kill weeds in the yard within 24 hours of application. It is free of Glyphosate, so it is safer to use around people, pets and the environment.
It works to kill and control over 250 troublesome weed species including dandelions, crabgrass, clover and more. This product is quick to dry and easy to use, and comes with an easy, spray applicator.
Alternatives To Using The Best Weed Killer for Lawns
You can use alternative methods like vodka to help get rid of weeds.
If you’re anxious about using the best weed killer for lawns, you do have other options. There are plenty of home remedies and tactics you can use to control and remove weeds on your property.
Remove Weeds By Hand
This may be easier said than done, especially if your lawn is overgrown with problematic weeds. However, while time consuming, it is possible to get rid of weeds by removing them physically.
Just make sure you remove the entire root, otherwise the weeds will continue to grow and cause issues in your yard.
Make Your Own DIY Weed Killer
- 1 Cup of Salt
- 1 Gallon of White Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon of Liquid Dish Soap
- 1 Large Container (For Mixing)
- 1 Spray Bottle (For Application)
Combine the above ingredients in a large container and mix it well to create the best weed killer for lawns that is natural and safe, then pour what you can into a spray bottle. Apply this concoction to the problematic weeds in your yard in the morning or just before noon, when the sun is out and shining. This will help the mixture set.
While this vinegar mixture is a safer alternative to using chemical herbicides in your yard, it can still cause damage to ornamental plants and lawns. Use this method carefully and avoid spraying it on any plant you do not wish to harm.
You can also use newspaper as one of the best weed killer for lawns methods. This is a natural and safe way to protect your yard and garden from problematic plants without using chemicals or sprays.
It is also one of the easiest ways to get rid of a large expanse of weeds at once time. Simply place newspaper over sprouted weeds, soak the newspaper with water, then cover it with mulch. This will suffocate the weeds and prevent sunlight from reaching them, thus killing them within a few days.
Corn Gluten Meal
Using corn gluten meal as the best weed killer for lawns is effective, but only if you use it before weeds have sprouted. Corn gluten meal stops weeds from germinating, so use it before you see weeds by spreading it throughout your lawn and around already-established plants.
Just as with newspaper, a layer of shower curtains covered in mulch over weeds will prevent weeds from getting sunlight and water. This will kill the problematic plants within a few days.
DIY Vodka Weed Killer
If you don’t have vinegar on hand but you do have vodka, you can use this world-famous beverage to knock weeds out cold.
- 1 Ounce of Vodka
- 2 Cups of Water
- 3 Drops of Liquid Dish Soap
- 1 Spray Bottle
Combine the above ingredients in a spray bottle and spray it generously over the weeds in your yard.
This vodka concoction is the best weed killer for lawns when it comes to weeds that thrive in sunlight. It will dry the weeds up and kill them quickly. Of course, like the vinegar mixture, this vodka weed killer can be harmful to ornamental plants and yards, so be careful when applying it.
If you’re looking for the easiest, and inexpensive best weed killer for lawns, then look no further than boiling water. Just boil water in a kettle or pan and (very carefully) pour it over the weeds in your yard.
Remember, while boiling water is one of the best weed killer for lawns options, it will also kill any other vegetation it is poured over. So use this method with caution.
If Weed Killer Doesn’t Work- When To Contact A Professional
Professionals can help you eliminate the weeds in your lawn so you can start fresh.
Even the best weed killer for lawns can’t conquer all weeds, and if you find you can’t control the weeds in your yard or garden, it may be time to contact a professional. Some professional landscaping companies have access to weed killers that the general public does not.
If you find that the best weed killer for lawns are still not working for you, rest assured there are plenty of landscaping professionals available.
On average, landscapers charge around $500 for weed removal. This cost can vary depending on your location, the size of your yard, and the types of products required for the removal of said weeds.
Once you’ve managed to remove the weeds in your yard, we recommend that you next focus on preventing them from returning.
Tips On Preventing A Future Weeds In your Yard
All lawns are riddled with weed seeds beneath the soil, but there are ways to prevent these seeds from sprouting.
Weed control is an important part of growing a healthy lawn or garden, and the best way to control weeds is to stop them before they begin. This can be difficult, considering that your entire yard contains weed seeds.
But don’t worry – this means your yard is healthy. Furthermore, you can work to keep weeds from germinating by following the below tips and tricks:
Avoid Unnecessary Disturbance of Soil
Most weeds can only grow when they have enough access to sunlight. While your entire yard is riddled with weed seeds, the only weeds that grow are the ones that reach the surface. To avoid germinating weed seeds, avoid unnecessarily disturbing the soil.
When you are gardening or even removing weeds, use small tools like knives or screw drivers as opposed to gardening shovels. Also make sure to only dig or remove weeds when necessary.
You may also consider using these sharp-bladed tools to leave the weed in place, but slice through the root of the weed to kill it.
Weeds will crop up in areas where other plants or lawn grass is not particularly flourishing. Of course, in some cases, weeds will crop up anyway and compete with these plants. Still, in areas you wish to keep free of vegetation, use mulch. Mulch helps keep your landscaping looking lovely while also prohibiting sunlight to soil, thus reducing the chances of weeds.
You can also use mulch to fill in the gaps between plants in gardens and along borders of your lawn. This will serve the same purpose.
Avoid Watering Weeds
This can be tough, especially if weeds have cropped up closely alongside other plants and in lawn grass. However, try your best to avoid watering these weeds and instead provide water only to the plants and lawn area you want to cultivate.
Use A Trusted Pre-Emergent
Pre-emergents stop germination of weeds before they sprout. A pre-emergent does not kill weeds or harm plants that have already sprouted, so this is a great way to prevent weeds without harming your lawn or already established plants.
That said, like using the best weed killer for lawns for weeds that have already grown, using a pre-emergent has its pros and cons. There are also natural and chemical pre-emergent products available, as well as some pre-emergent chemicals that are banned in some regions.
Make sure you do your research and know what you can and cannot use when it comes to weed control in your yard and around your home.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the best weed killer for lawns. Remember to take your time, do your research, and use these products only as directed. Best of luck and happy landscaping!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.