The 7 Best Weed Killers for Your Lawn or Garden in 2020

It’s the same story every year; stubborn weeds just seem to keep coming back to ruin your otherwise perfect lawn or garden. Weeds can deprive your lawn of nutrients leading it to wither and cause unsightly patches of dead grass.  

Weeding by hand can be time-consuming and difficult, and if you don’t remove all of the roots, then it seems like no time at all before those weeds are back again.  You need to stop tiring yourself out, fighting the symptom, and go after the cause by killing them at the root. Using a weed killer provides the quickest, easiest, and most reliable means of ending your weed problems once and for all.

Because some herbicides aren’t selective, it’s essential to use the best weed killer for your circumstance. Otherwise, you could risk causing damage to your lawn or other plants in your garden by mistake. That’s why our suggestions are targeted at finding the best solution for you, whatever your situation is. Whether your primary concern is keeping weeds out of your garden or finding a pet-safe option, you can find a solution that you can trust to meet your needs.

Overall Best Value Weed Killer: Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer

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Specifications:

  • Best overall value
  • Kills plants to the root

Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass and Weed Killer effectively eliminates existing weeds and prevents them from growing back. It has a formula that kills a large variety of weeds while being incredibly cost-efficient.

Sold in a highly concentrated form, this weed killer is diluted with water with a 1-gallon container creating 85 gallons of herbicide at the recommended concentration. The spray is rainproof within 2 hours after applying and promises visible results in as little as 2-days.

This weed killer is available in a wide variety of sizes and makes for easy application of a spray to large areas. It is well suited for use in many areas, including the lawn, garden, paths, and driveways.

The spray is non-selective, however, so when applying to weeds on your lawn, be cautious of overspray as it could be harmful to your grass. You should also exercise caution if using this weed killer in a vegetable garden and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when doing so.

A careful application of this spray will keep your lawn or garden full and healthy, and your driveway or path free of unsightly weeds and grass.

Key Features:
  • Highly concentrated, this 1-gallon product makes up to 85 gallons of ready-to-use spray.
  • Kills weeds and grass down to the root

Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer Natural and Organic Weed & Grass Killer Pet Safe

Specifications:

  • Organic and safe to use anywhere
  • Pet and child safe.
  • Kills most weeds and grass in less than 24 hours

Not all weed killers rely on chemicals to get the job done, and an organic solution can be a safe and responsible choice. Green Gobbler is an OMRI approved organic Weed & Grass Killer that uses a potent Vinegar based formula to kill weeds quickly. This isn’t just your average vinegar, though; this mix has four times the concentration of traditional vinegar. This spray is no joke and makes quick work of killing any weed that its sprayed on.

As a fully organic product, this herbicide is free of any harmful chemicals making it safe to use anywhere and a responsible choice for residential use. As a bonus, this spray is also pet-safe and child-safe, making it a perfect product to use around a family home.

While very potent, remember that this product is a non-selective weed killer. If you use this product to kill weeds on your lawn, make sure only to use it in spot applications and to avoid overspray. Spraying it on healthy grass is just as detrimental to the lawn as doing so with any other non-selective herbicide.

This weed killer is an ideal choice for use on paths, sidewalks, driveways, gardens, foundations, and fences.

Key Features:
  • A fast-acting formula that quickly kills any exposed plantlife.
  • An organic formula that is pet and child safe, this product is safe to use anywhere.

Best Weed Killer for Gardens: Preen Natural Garden Weed Preventer

Specifications:

  • Easy to apply
  • Prevents weeds for 4-6 weeks
  • Natural weed prevention

Picking out a weed killer for your garden can be a nerve-wracking process. You want a product strong enough to deal with weeds, but you don’t want to choose one that risks damaging your plants. When talking about vegetable gardens, there are also health concerns to consider before selecting a product; you want to be sure what you buy is safe for use on food. Overall, when searching for the best garden weed killer, you want something safe to use that keeps your garden healthy while keeping out weeds.

This weed preventer by Preen is a perfect solution for keeping weeds out of your garden. This preventative weed killer is used by sprinkling throughout your garden, after which it proactively stops any new weeds from growing. This formula will not destroy any of your desired plants or flowers in the garden and is safe for use in vegetable gardens as well.   

This product is an ideal choice for controlling weeds in your garden by safely preventing their growth in the first place. This weed prevention formula keeps your garden healthy and happy while it effectively controls the weed population.  It should be noted that the way that this product works is to stop weeds before they can grow, but it will not kill any already grown weeds in the garden when it is applied.

Key Features:
  • Natural and safe to use in vegetable gardens.
  • Prevents any new plants from taking root in the applied area for 4-6 weeks.

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer

Specifications:

  • Fast-acting quick kill formula
  • Waterproof in 15-minutes

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer is a powerful herbicide formulated to quickly kill any weeds or grass it comes into contact with. It immediately takes effect, near-instantly killing all types of grass and weeds down to their roots.

When you find yourself with a large number of weeds to remove, or if you decide to clear out your lawn or garden for a fresh start, this kind of weed killer is a valuable tool. By eliminating all plants in the area with a simple application, you can save time and money. This kind of weed killer is also useful to control the growth of grass or other plants and provide effective edging for your lawn.

This product is a fast-acting solution, and Spectracide promises that you will notice visible results on most weeds within only 3 hours of application. When using it be sure to protect any desirable plants and quickly wash any that are accidentally sprayed.

Key Features:
  • Quickly kills any grass and weeds in the applied area.

Best Weed Killer for Lawns: Roundup for Lawns

Specifications:

  • Kills weeds, not your grass
  • Kills most common lawn weeds
  • An extended wand makes for easy spot-treatment

When treating weeds on your lawn, the last thing you want to do is accidentally kill your grass as well. Using a selective weed killer formulated not to harm grass is the easiest way to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. This weed killer by Roundup is a dedicated lawn care product formulated to target common weeds while not damaging grass.

It was designed to control over 90 different common lawn weeds, including hard to deal with weeds like dandelion, clover, and dollarweed. A fast-acting product it quickly kills weeds on contact. It makes sure that those weeds stay gone as well by killing them all the way down to the roots to keep them from growing back. Despite this, it can be used safely, even on delicate grasses. This weed killer is easy to apply and quick to take effect, becoming rainproof in as little as three hours. The product is sold with Roundup’s extended wand sprayer, which makes for an easy application process. The added accuracy of the wand sprayer also comes in handy with spot treatments.

Roundup also offers another version of this product, which is formulated for better use with Southern grasses. The benefit to the buyer here is that it allows them to choose the product that was designed to suit their lawn.

Key Features:

Best Weed Killer for Sidewalks and Driveways: Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer With Extended Control

Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer With Extended Control

Specifications:

  • Fast-acting quick-kill formula
  • Prevents weed growth for up to 5 months once applied

Nobody likes having unsightly grass or weeds growing between the cracks in their sidewalk, path, or driveway. 

Spectracide with Extended Control is an emergent non-selective weed killer that not only kills most grass and weeds, but also prevents anything from growing back in those places for up to 5 months after application.

A formula that kills the toughest weeds and grasses down to the root. This product is engineered to quickly kill emergent weeds and ensure that they don’t grow back. It accomplishes this by targeting the whole weed from the stem down to the roots. If you have problem weeds or grass that you need gone, then this is the product you are looking for.

Fast-acting, in only 15 minutes the spray is rain-proof and the targeted plants should show visible results in as little as 3 hours. Customer reviews have noted that at the highest suggested concentrations, it killed all weeds in the applied area in less than 24 hours.

Key Features:
  • Kills and prevents weeds from growing back in pavement cracks, along fences, or anywhere else.
  • Long-lasting, coated areas will remain treated for up to 5 months.

Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killer: Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed Killer

Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer (1 Gallon) Pet and Kid Safe No Glyphosate and No Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Specifications:

  • Organic and natural
  • Pet and child safe

There are many commercially available solutions to dealing with pesky weeds in your lawn or garden. However, while these weed killers might be an excellent option for dealing with weeds, their active chemicals are very often not for use if you own animals. For a lot of us, a pet is a member of the family, and no one wants to cause their furry friend harm. If you find yourself in this situation, then it may be essential for you that your lawncare solution guarantees the safety of your pet. Luckily there are options available that are 100% safe for use around your dog, cat, or any other pets you may have.

Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed Killer is an organic weed killing solution derived from soap, vinegar, and ocean saltwater. It does not contain any harmful chemicals and is a pet and child-safe option for dealing with weeds. This product is not only safe for pets and humans, but also the environment. That’s in part because it’s not only non-toxic but also biodegradable, so it won’t risk spreading and harming any nearby plant life.

Within an hour of application, the formula becomes weatherproof, and in only a few hours will have killed most weeds. This product is well suited to be used in gardens, flower beds, pavement cracks, and spot applications on troublesome lawn weeds. It is a non-selective solution and will kill any plant which enough is applied on before harmlessly evaporating. This formula is one of the fastest-acting pet-friendly weed killing products on the market, and we’re confident in recommending it.

Key Features:
  • When used as directed this weed killer is safe for pets, kids, and the environment.
  • Kills most grass and weeds in less than 24-hours.

Weed Killer Buyer’s Guide

There is a dizzying array of different weed control products available to purchase. With so many types and brands offering different solutions, it can be an overwhelming experience finding the one that suits your needs. How can you tell which of the many products available would be the best for solving your weed problem?  

How Do Weed Killers Work?

There are two different methods by which weed killing products work.

Contact weed killers are solutions that will kill plants that they come in contact with. They are commonly made with herbicides that kill any weeds shortly after application, sometimes producing noticeable results in a matter of minutes. Organic contact killing solutions can use vinegar or saline solutions to create similar if less dramatic results.

These are fast-acting products, but most will only affect the parts of the weed they come into contact with. Because of this, the roots of the weed are left alive, and in time they can sprout again.

Systemic weed killers are formulas that, instead of quickly attacking and killing the visible portions of a weed, are absorbed into the foliage. By doing so, they can spread into the root system of the weed and actively inhibit their growth. The herbicide starves the weed by preventing it from getting any nutrients causing it to wither and die in its entirety. 

This kind of solution is the best method for dealing with perennial weeds like dandelions or poison ivy.

 

What Kind of Weed Killer Is Right for You?

What kinds of weeds do you have?

The first step to choosing the best weed killer for your needs is identifying the kind of weeds that you are dealing with. Determining what type of weeds are present will inform you on how you need to deal with them. The main thing you are trying to find out is if they are annual or perennial weeds.

Annual weeds like crabgrass and nettles spread quickly by seeds but won’t grow back when killed, meaning they’re easier to remove, and a contact killing weed killer will get the job done for you. On the other hand, perennial weeds like poison ivy and dandelion are much more difficult to remove. They have deep root structures and grow back every year as long as any of the roots remain. To deal with these kinds of weeds, you need a systematic weed killer to attack and kill the roots of the plants.

You should be able to determine what kind of weeds you have without much trouble, thanks to some of the great resources that are available for free online. A quick google search will probably be enough to determine what you’re dealing with, and many universities have online databases with pictures to aid in the identification of different common weeds. As a last resort, if you fail to turn up any information online, your local garden center should be able to identify any plant for you if you bring them a sample. As a bonus, they should also be able to tell you the perfect product to deal with them.

What is your goal?

The best weed-killing product for your situation will be very different depending on if you are trying to prevent weed growth or to deal with an existing infestation of weeds. Similarly, in the next step, you will need to decide between selective or nonselective based on where the infestation is occurring.

If your goal is to prevent weeds from growing, then you will want to buy a pre-emergent herbicide. These formulas work best when applied early in the season before the weeds have the chance to grow and can effectively combat both the spread of annual weeds and the growth of perennials.

If your goal is to deal with an infestation of grown weeds, then you will want to shop for a post-emergent weed killer. Spraying this kind of herbicide onto grown weeds in your lawn or garden will act quickly to kill them.

Where is your weed problem located?

Next, consider where the weeds you are trying to kill are located. If they are growing in places where you want to prevent any other plant growth, say cracks in a driveway, then you want a nonselective herbicide. These products will target any plants in the applied area meaning pre-emergent nonselective weed killers prevent anything from growing in the area. In contrast, post-emergent nonselective will kill any vegetation in the area it is applied in.

However, when weeds are located in the garden or lawn, your concern may instead be avoiding damaging the other plant life in the area. Selective weed killers are formulated to be safely used to protect certain plants while dealing with others. However, in the case of some problematic perennial weeds like dandelions, selective options may not be potent enough to offer a lasting solution. In these cases, a post-emergent nonselective product can still be used with the use of a precision sprayer for spot applications. You’ll want to avoid over-spraying in this scenario to prevent damaging the surrounding plants.

How to determine how much weed killer to buy

Weed killing products are often sold as either ready to use or concentrated. If you only need to perform some targeted spot treatments, then you will be fine with a ready to use product which as the name implies is premixed and ready to use when you purchase it.

If, however, you are covering a wider area of land, you will want to buy a concentrated herbicide. These are products sold in a highly concentrated state that needs mixing with water before application. You’ll want to follow the mixing directions provided with the product to ensure you don’t waste any by using too much of the concentrated solution or over-dilute your formula and run the risk of diminishing its overall effectiveness. These products will tell you how many gallons of weed killer a container will yield after mixed with water, and how many square feet this amount can cover. Use this information to know how much of it you will need to purchase.

Weed Killer FAQ

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Weed Killers?

You may see weed killers advertised as either pre-emergence or post-emergence, which refers to how the product kills weeds. A pre-emergent weed killer works by targeting before they can grow or while they have just begun growing by preventing them from growing roots. They should be applied to the soil before weeds are given a chance to grow in order to work best. Post-Emergent weedkillers meanwhile target already grown weeds. You can use this kind of solution directly on the leaves of a weed at any point in their lifecycle to quickly and kill them. Not all products will also eliminate the roots of the plant, though, and if not, they may regrow in time.

Most post-emergent weed killers will do nothing to stop weeds from regrowing after removal, so applying a pre-emergent formula to the area after killing the weeds is the most effective means of removing the problem weeds for good.

What Is the Difference Between Selective and Non-Selective Weed Killers?

An essential part of choosing the right solution for your weed problem is determining if you need a selective or nonselective formula.

Selective weed-killing solutions are created to kill weeds while leaving desirable plants alone. They may be formulated, for example, to target common lawn weeds while not harming the grass. These products offer a safe means to treat areas where you do not want to impact other plant growth, there is always a chance that they may still kill some of your plants, though, so we recommend applying a test patch before use.

Nonselective weed killers meanwhile are a more potent option that kills any vegetation they come into contact with. They tend to produce more quickly noticeable results, but over-spraying can lead to accidentally killing plants you didn’t mean to, including your lawn. Some of the best uses for these products are killing plants growing in cracks in driveways and paths, and keeping plants off of foundations and fence lines.

How Do You Kill Lawn Weeds?

Dealing with weeds growing in your lawn can seem tricky – you want to kill the weeds without damaging your grass. This is why the best lawn weed killers are weed control products explicitly made for lawn care. Using these selective herbicides will kill weeds but leave your lawn undamaged.

You should apply weed prevention products early in the spring and late in the summer to prevent weeds from taking root in your lawn. With a spreader, these products can be easily applied to cover your entire lawn. When targeting weeds like dandelion, clover, or crabgrass, you should apply a weed killer that eliminates them while they are actively growing in the late spring and summer.

How Should You Kill Weeds In a Garden?

Weeds in your gardens risk depriving your plants of the vital nutrients they need to grow, and you need to kill them quickly to prevent them from spreading. It’s equally important, though, not to damage your own plants or the soil in the area, which could stop other plants from being grown there in the future.

Using a pre-emergent weed control product prevents weeds from sprouting in your garden. These products should be applied in the early and late spring to get the best results. 

Post-emergent weed killers are typically nonselective and quickly kill grassy or broadleaf weeds when applied. However, they are also equally capable of killing your own plants. When applying them, use a precision applicator and avoid overspray to avoid causing any damage to the other plants in the area.

How Do You Kill Weeds and Grass in Driveway and Patio Cracks?

When dealing with weeds or grass between cracks in the pavement, it might be tempting just to pull them; however, this leaves the root structure of the plant intact, and it will grow back. Instead, you need to kill the roots, and a nonselective product is an ideal choice in this scenario to kill any plant growing in the cracks. Applying a combination of pre- and post-emergent products will remove these weeds and prevent them from growing back.

What Is the Best Type of Weed Killer for Poison Ivy?

Brush weeds like poison ivy and poison oak are more challenging to remove than other types of weeds. To remove them, you need to use a specialty weed killer designed to kill tough brush. These products will make quick work of eliminating these otherwise hard to deal with weeds. They are often nonselective, though, and have high concentrations of weed killers, so be careful during application to avoid any desired plants. Using a sprayer can help you perform a more targeted spot application. Whenever possible you should try to clear the area with a brushcutter first before using applying herbicide to the remaining weeds.

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