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10 Best Weed Killers for Lawns in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Ortho Nutsedge Spray

spraying Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns

You put in a lot of time and effort into your lawn to make it look good. You trim and water it faithfully, then one day, weeds pop up and ruin all your beautiful work. Sounds familiar? You are not alone. Pesky weeds are the bane of existence for many homeowners and gardeners. Although other solutions exist, one of the best ways to get rid of these unwanted plants is to apply a weed killer.

The trouble often comes when choosing the best one for your needs. With so many options available, the search can be quite involving. You don’t have to worry, though. We have tried and tested the most popular products and compiled reviews of the best weed killer for lawns in 2020. We also include a comprehensive buyer’s guide to tell you what you need to know before making that vital purchasing decision.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Preen 2464083 Garden Weed Preventer Preen 2464083 Garden Weed Preventer
  • Easy to use
  • Won’t affect edibles or grass
  • Pre-emergent
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Southern 00203 Weed Killer Southern 00203 Weed Killer
  • Economical
  • Works on most broadleaf weeds
  • Wide coverage
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    RM43 76501 Plus Weed Preventer RM43 76501 Plus Weed Preventer
  • Rainproof within two hours
  • Large coverage area
  • Both pre-emergent and post-emergent
  • Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
  • 30-day-money-back guarantee
  • Won’t leach into the soil
  • Biodegradable
  • Roundup Max Control 365 Weed Killer Roundup Max Control 365 Weed Killer
  • Rainproof within 30 minutes
  • Both pre and post-emergent
  • Consumer guarantee
  • The 10 Best Weed Killer for Lawns – Reviews 2021

    1. Preen 2464083 Garden Weed Preventer – Best Overall

    Instead of waiting for the weeds to attack, be bold, and throw the first punch by applying the Preen 2464083. This pre-emergent weed killer comfortably tops our list owing to its ease of use, safety, and long-lasting effects. It works by forming an invisible barrier on the soil, thus blocking the seeds and preventing germination.

    With just one application, you can cover up to 5,000 square feet and protect your lawn or garden from weeds for up to three months without harming your flowers or vegetables in the process. After uprooting existing weeds and laying mulch, all you need to do is sprinkle the weed killer around your plants (preferably when the ground is dry to prevent the granules from sticking to the wet leaves) and water it after application to activate the ingredients. The only drawback with the Preen 2464083 is that it won’t harm existing weeds.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Won’t affect edibles or grass
    • Pre-emergent
    • Long-lasting effects
    Cons
    • Will only stop new weeds

    2. Southern 00203 Weed Killer – Best Value

    Southern 00203 Weed Killer

    Are you looking for the best weed killer for lawns for the money? The Southern 00203 Weed Killer won’t disappoint. Its economical use rate ranges between one to four pints per acre, and you only need two or three tablespoons plus three to five gallons of water to cover 1,000 square feet.

    The liquid concentrate will work on most broadleaf weeds, and you can use it in lawns, golf courses, rangeland, pastures, and other similar ornamental turfs. However, it is not safe to use on flowering ornamentals and edibles. Since it can irritate your skin and eyes, you will need to wear protective clothing when applying the weed killer, and your pets and children will have to stay away until the ground dries.

    Pros
    • Economical
    • Works on most broadleaf weeds
    • Wide coverage
    • Can use on pasture
    Cons
    • You need protective equipment

    3. RM43 76501 Plus Weed Preventer – Premium Choice

    RM43 76501 Plus Weed Preventer

    Whether you want to kill existing weeds or prevent others from growing for up to one year, the RM43 76501 Plus Weed Preventer has your back. With its 2.5 gallon capacity, you can cover 43,243 square feet of ground, making it favorable to use for total vegetation control and spot control when eliminating weeds, vines, and brush.

    The weed preventer comes in concentrated liquid form that contains glyphosate, a chemical that kills broadleaf weeds and grasses, and imazapy, a herbicide that kills a wide variety of terrestrial plants. However, you can’t use it on crops or edibles. You will also need to wear protective clothing during application to prevent your body from coming into contact with the chemicals.

    Pros
    • Rainproof within two hours
    • Large coverage area
    • Both pre-emergent and post-emergent
    Cons
    • Needs protective clothing
    • Not for edibles

    4. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

    Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

    If you are environmentally conscious, you will love the Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer. The weed controller meets all organic standards and comes with a certification from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Once you apply, it will be immediately absorbed into the soil and neutralized. However, you may need to reapply frequently to get the desired effect.

    The one-gallon non-selective herbicide will kill all types of weeds within hours and can cover 1,200 square feet.  But you should avoid spraying on healthy plants and grass. It comes ready to use and includes a trigger spray that you can attach to the bottle directly. However, the nozzle isn’t the best quality you can get and may not be durable.

    Pros
    • 30-day-money-back guarantee
    • Won’t leach into the soil
    • Biodegradable
    • Kills all types of weeds
    Cons
    • More frequent application is necessary
    • Nozzle not high quality or durable
    • Small coverage

    5. Roundup Max Control 365 Weed Killer

    Roundup Max Control 365 Weed Killer

    You can kill and eliminate all types of weeds and grass from your patio, sidewalk, or driveway for up to one year with the Roundup Max Control 365 Weed Killer. With a capacity of 32 pounds, you can cover an area of up to 1,600 square feet.

    The weed controller becomes rainproof in just 30 minutes, and you will start seeing results within 12 hours after application. It contains 18% Imazapic, which is both pre-emergent and post-emergent. You will need to wear protective clothing to prevent harmful chemicals from getting into contact with your body. However, your pets and children are safe to roam around provided you give it time to dry.

    Pros
    • Rainproof within 30 minutes
    • Both pre and post-emergent
    • Consumer guarantee
    • Results within 12 hours
    Cons
    • Need protective clothing
    • Small coverage

    6. Compare-N-Save 016869 Grass & Weed Killer

    Compare-N-Save 016869 Grass & Weed Killer

    Compare-N-Save 016869 contains 41% glyphosate that, when absorbed through the foliage, travels down to the root and kills all the weeds in one to two weeks. But you can start seeing results as early as two to four days. However, it is not an extended control herbicide, and you may need to spray more than once a year to kill re-emerging weeds.

    The weed killer comes in concentrated liquid form, and its one-gallon capacity jug can create 85 gallons of spray to cover an area of up to 25,000 square feet. Although it gets rainproof with two hours, the manufacturer recommends waiting for at least 24 hours after application before wetting the ground.

    Pros
    • Kills a wide variety of weeds
    • Covers large area
    • Rainproof within two hours
    Cons
    • Won’t stop germination
    • Protective gear is necessary

    7. Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns

    Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns

    If you have a water hose on the ready, the Ortho Nutsedge Killer for Lawns comes ready-to-spray and will kill all tough weeds without damaging your lawn. It is specially designed to tackle a wide variety of northern and southern grasses, and it will eliminate yellow and purple Nutsedge, kylinga, wild violets, and a wide variety of other tough weeds.

    The weed killer becomes rainproof within two hours, and you’ll start seeing its effect within two days. But if you’re dealing with tough weeds, you might need to reapply the product frequently when they regrow. Another drawback is that you have to wear protective clothing to prevent your skin from getting into contact with the chemicals.

    Pros
    • Fast results
    • Perfect for northern and southern grasses
    • Ready-to-use bottle
    • Kills tough weeds
    Cons
    • Tough weeds need more than one application
    • You need protective gear
    • Small coverage

    8. PBI/Gordon Speed Zone Weed Killer

    PBI:Gordon Speed Zone Weed Killer

    The PBI/Gordon Speed Zone Weed Killer is highly soluble and will get absorbed into the plant quickly. You will notice changes after a few hours, and your weeds will start dying in no time. You can even reseed after two weeks. The 20-ounce concentrated solution will cover 14,000 to 18,000 square feet and will kill all the broadleaf weeds on your lawn without damaging the grass. But be careful because it isn’t safe for edibles. Once it dries after application, your pets and children can safely roam about as usual.

    However, you may need to cover your skin, nose, and mouth when applying the weed killer to avoid contact with the chemicals. You should also take care when spraying your lawn since the weed killer could kill your grass.

    Pros
    • Highly soluble
    • Rain fast in two hours
    Cons
    • Protection needed
    • Not safe for edibles
    • Contaminates water
    • May kill your grass

    9. Spectracide 96017 Weed & Grass Killer

    Spectracide 96017 Weed & Grass Killer

    The spectracide 96017 Weed and Grass killer comes in a ready to use spray bottle that can hold one gallon of liquid, enough to treat 300 square feet. The main ingredient is Diquat Dibromide, which works fast to produce visible results within three hours.

    This weed killer is rainfast within 15 minutes, and your ground will be ready to reseeding after seven days. One major drawback with the spectracide 96017 Weed and Grass killer is that it only damages the parts of the plant with which it gets into contact. It also contains harsh chemicals, and you will need to wear protective gear during application.

    Pros
    • Can reseed in 7 days
    • Rainfast within 15 minutes
    Cons
    • Small coverage
    • Non-selective
    • Protective equipment
    • Only kills parts you spray

    10. OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer

    OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer

    We close our list with one more organic option- OrganicMatters Natural Weed Killer. Its main ingredient is acetic acid (vinegar). The liquid is held in a one-gallon jug and can kill all types of plants. You can cover approximately 1,000 square feet using the attached spray.

    The weed killer dries and works fast; expect to see changes 24 hours after application. However, it is not pre-emergent, and you will need to reapply frequently when the weed regrows.

    Pros
    • Organic
    • Satisfaction guarantee
    Cons
    • Non-selective
    • Won’t kill seeds
    • Not certified organic
    • Requires repeated applications
    • Small coverage

    Buyer’s Guide

    When it comes to weed killers, you can’t get away with picking the cheapest product on the shelf. Here is what you need to consider before purchasing a weed killer for your lawn.

    Selective vs. Non-Selective

    Weed killers fall into two categories-Selective and non-selective. As the name suggests, you can only use selective weed killers to kill selected plants. That makes it the perfect choice for killing the weeds growing among your vegetables, grass, or ornamental plants.

    But you might want to be extra cautious when buying to ensure you get the right one for your type of weeds. On the other hand, a non-selective weed killer will kill all plants indiscriminately. It might not be the right choice when you want to kill the weeds without harming your ornamental plants or edibles, but it is ideal for clearing ground along your fence, on your gravel driveway, or your patio.

    Pre-Emergent vs. Post-Emergent

    One kind of weed killer kills weeds while the other prevents their growth. Your choice here will depend on whether you’re looking to cure or prevent. Pre-emergent weed killers prevent seeds from germinating and will not affect existing plants. Post-emergent weed killers devour weeds, but you have to reapply frequently since other weeds will germinate. Sometimes a weed killer will kill weeds and still prevent the seeds from sprouting.

    Translocated vs. Contact

    Weed killers also differ when it comes to the method of attack. A translocated weed killer will work its way through the plant’s internal system and damage it from the root up, and you will start seeing results anywhere from one to three weeks after application.

    With a contact weed killer, you can only kill parts of the plants that get in contact with it. Although you won’t get the entire root system, you can expect to see results within a few hours. These will be perfect when dealing with annual weeds that have their seeds above the soil.

    Granular vs. Liquid

    Your method of application will vary depending on the nature of the weed killer. Granular weed killers are best suited for broad applications, such as extensive lawns or golf courses. If you’re covering a large area, it is advisable to use a spreader with wheels to ensure you spread evenly. Hand-held spreaders will do just fine in small spaces.

    Liquid weed killers either come as a liquid concentrate or ready-to-use spray. Water is used to dilute the liquid concentrate. The manufacturer often provides the specific ratio you should use when diluting the concentrate. On the other hand, a ready-to-use spray requires no mixing. All you need to do is attach a garden hose to the nozzle, and you’re good to go.

    Persistence

    Persistence is how long a weed killer remains active on the ground after application. If you want to kill weeds and prevent their regrowth, you might want to consider weed killers with high persistence. Otherwise, you will have to reapply frequently when the problem re-emerges later on.

    spraying Spectracide 96017 Weed & Grass Killer

    Area

    Weed killers come in different capacities, and you will need to consider the area of your lawn or garden when comparing coverage. But don’t get surprised when you find containers with a 32 oz. or 64 oz capacity since some are pure concentrate and will give you more coverage after diluting with water. With a weed killer designed for spot treatment, you may not require that much coverage since you can target the weeds and won’t have to spray the entire lawn.

    Type of Weeds

    You cannot use any weed killer to kill all types of weeds. Each product is made from different ingredients that target different kinds of plants. For instance, glyphosate is a common ingredient in a non-selective weed killer. It kills plants indiscriminately.

    Although effective, you are unlikely to use it on your lawn or garden since it will destroy anything on its path. Additionally, some weed killers will tackle the toughest weeds, while others might work better on younger plants depending on the type and concentration of the ingredients used.

    Organic vs. Inorganic

    The question of environmental impact always hangs over your head when using weed killers. Some of the chemicals used in the products can contaminate the soil and water, thus damaging plants and aquatic life. If you’re environmentally conscious, you might want to consider buying an organic weed killer.

    Unlike its counterpart, natural weed killers are less harmful to the environment since they are made from natural ingredients that break down in the soil easily. These are a perfect choice, especially when you have pets and children running around your lawn. The only problem is that they are more expensive and less powerful.

    Rain Proofing

    How long does it take before your weed killer becomes rainproof? If it begins to rain soon after applying your weed killer, the rainwater will dilute or wash away your weed killer, rendering it ineffective. So, you should consider buying one with a short rain proofing period if you live in a rain-prone area. Additionally, you might want to hold off on watering your plants after applying the weed controller.

    Price

    Weed killers with more coverage will cost more. But other considerations such as brand and concentration can also drive the price up. You should also factor in additional costs. For example, the spar nozzle or tank sprayer are not included in the package sometimes.

    Why Do You Need to Remove Weeds?

    Of course weeds are a nuisance and an eyesore. But there are other reasons why you just can’t ignore them. The following are some of them.

    They Compete With Plants for Nutrients

    Weeds require light, water, and nutrients and will often compete with plants for limited resources. Due to their aggressive nature, they end up using up all the nutrients meant for the plants.

    They Threaten the Quality of the Lawn

    The presence of weeds in your lawn threatens the quality of the vegetation. When the grass fails to get enough nutrients, the weeds will slowly replace it.

    They Threaten the Existence of Other Plants

    Some of the weeds are poisonous and can harm other plants. When they get out of control, they can easily choke a plant to death.

    They Can Cause Blockages

    The weed can grow uncontrollably and block sprinkler heads, drainage, and other inlets. Their presence can interfere with the entire lawn water system.

    Secretions

    Some weed secretions contain phytotoxins that can hamper the growth of other plants. In worst-case scenarios, the secretions can be fatal to plants.

    They Can Threaten Our Health

    The presence of weeds will not only harm plants but can potentially harm human beings too. They can lead to various complications, including skin allergies and skin irritation. The situation is worse when you have children around.

    Safety Tips When Using Weed Killers

    Weed killers are a convenient and effective way of dealing with weeds, but they can pose a serious health risk. The following are things to do to ensure you use these chemicals safely.

    Follow Manufacturer instructions

    Make sure to read the instructions on how to use the product and follow them to the letter. Remember, the weed killer will only effectively work when used in the right amount and applied correctly. Not following instructions will also risk damaging your soil, killing essential plants, contaminating water, and injuring yourself.

    Wear Protective Equipment

    Some of the products contain harmful chemicals that can irritate your skin, eyes, nose, and mouth when it gets into contact with your body. Such weed killers often require the use of protective gear during application. In case you have doubts about a particular product, always wear protective clothing to be on the safe side.

    Protect Edible Plants

    You should not use weed killers around edible plants such as fruits or vegetables since the toxins will contaminate the plants, making them unfit for human consumption. However, some organic weed killers won’t harm your crops, and you can safely use them to eliminate weeds in your vegetable garden.

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    Conclusion

    Whether you’re dealing with broad-leafed weeds, grassy weeds, or grass-like weeds, an effective weed killer can kill them off and prevent them from choking the life out of your plants. But getting the right weed killer with so many options to consider can be overwhelming. We hope our reviews have cleared the confusion and made it a little easier to find the perfect one for your needs.

    If you still can’t make up your mind, we recommend the Preen 2464083 Garden Weed Preventer. This pre-emergent weed killer is safe to use on your ornamental plants and edibles. But if you’re on a budget and are looking for the best value for money, the Southern 00203 Weed Killer is the best value buy on our list.

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