How Weed Killer for Lawns Works

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By Marilyn Royce

Weeds can be more than just an eyesore on your beautiful lawn. They can become the arch nemesis of any lawn enthusiast striving for a beautiful golf course lawn. It can be extremely frustrating when they come back year after year. Left unchecked, nuisance weeds can spread and begin to choke out healthy grass. The only option for taking control is to utilize the right weed killer for lawns, but it can be difficult to know exactly what that is.

There are multiple varieties of weeds, all with different characteristics, that require a different approach to elimination. If you are a beginning lawn enthusiast or if you are preparing for the battle against the never-ending weed invasion, it helps to understand a little bit about how weed killer for lawns works. The truth is that they are not all the same, and knowledge is the key to winning the overall war against the invaders who want to take over your beautiful lawn. 

Here’s what you need to know about weed killers and how they work. 

Pre and Post Emergent Weed Killers

The most effective way to control weeds is to have a vibrant, healthy lawn in the first place. A thriving lawn will have a strong root system that helps prevent weeds from taking root and spreading. Unfortunately, weeds are opportunistic, and even the healthiest lawns can fall victim to random weed spreading. 

It’s important to understand that weed killers are separated into multiple categories, starting with pre-emergents and post-emergents. Pre-emergent weed control products work by forming a barrier that prevents weeds from taking root and germinating in the first place. These products are highly effective when properly applied. However, breakthroughs can also occur, making it necessary to combine multiple products for best results. Pre-emergent weed killer for lawns typically prevents 80 percent of weeds or more from germinating when properly applied at the correct time of the year. 

Post-emergents, on the other hand, target and kill weeds after they have germinated. When using post-emergents, it helps to understand the specific weeds you are targeting in your lawn because most weed killers are specifically formulated to attack certain weeds. These products typically work by interfering with photosynthesis and protein production or by inhibiting the formation of roots. Post-emergents are usually applied to the broad leafy areas of actively growing weeds.  

Warm and Cool Season Temperature

The optimum time to apply weed killer for lawns is in the spring when fauna starts growing after a long cold winter. Weed killers can be similarly effective in the fall seasons, but it also depends on the type of grass you have in your lawn and the specific weeds being targeted. Unfortunately, a one size fits all approach is just not effective when it comes to weed control. 

Just like grass types, weeds can also be divided into two categories. There are warm-season weeds and cool-season weeds. The type of weeds you have will determine the right products and approach for effective weed control in your lawn.

Soil temperature is also highly important when it comes to applying weed killer. If the soil is too cold, the weed killer will not be able to penetrate the ground for uptake into the weeds. Weed killers are typically most effective when the soil is between 55 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on variations and characteristics. When the temperature is too hot, it causes effective terpenes to evaporate, making application a lost cause. 

Additives and Special Tips

It is important to apply these products properly for best results. Granular products should be applied with a drop or broadcast spreader for even application, and a backpack sprayer works best for liquid weed control products. When applying liquid weed killer for lawns, it helps to use a turf mark dye indicator to prevent over-application that could potentially harm lawns. 

You should also know that there are multiple combination products, such as weed and feed products, that can help reduce the number of steps involved. It is usually recommended that you consider a nonionic surfactant to increase weed control effectiveness. The right surfactant improves performance and translocation to help kill weeds faster. 

Get Your Weed Killer Today

Weeds are opportunistic, and even the healthiest, most beautiful lawns must undergo proper weed control maintenance. The best defense against weeds is a vibrant, thriving lawn with good strong roots that prevent weeds from germinating in the first place. When they do, you should first determine what type of weeds you have and if you are dealing with warm-weather or cool-weather weeds. Consider whether you want to use granular or liquid products, and don’t forget to add a nonionic surfactant to improve your results. There is no surefire way to prevent weeds, but you can control them. Determine exactly what’s going on in your lawn and purchase your weed control products today.