How to use weed killer to make your home look better, Lawns maintenance, Property garden advice, Planting landscape tips
How to Use Weed Killer To Make Your Home Look Better
25 August 2023
No matter how much time and effort gets put into keeping the garden clean, tidy and looking its best, at some point, gardeners always need to consider weed control.
Weeds are wild plants with a pesky habit of growing wherever they like, whether or not they’re welcome. These unwanted plants can be tricky to remove, so many gardeners use weed killers to get rid of weeds.
What are Weed Killers?
Put simply, weed killers are chemical compositions created to kill weeds and control weed growth. Different types of weed killers are available to tackle annual weeds and stubborn perennial weeds that often come back year after year.
Hand weeding can be painful and tiring, which is why many gardeners use weed control products.
When to Apply Weed Killer
Although weed killers can be used at any time of year, they are most effective when the weeds are actively growing. This is usually between spring and autumn. Try to catch weeds before they set seed to help prevent more from appearing the following year.
Hold off for a dry day so the rain can’t wash the chemicals away before they get a chance to work. Likewise, a still day is best to prevent the weed killer from blowing onto other desirable plants by mistake.
How Long Does Weed Killer Take to Work?
Even fast-acting weedkiller products need some time to work, and it may be a few days or even weeks before you notice a difference. Most weeds will start showing signs of dying around a week after the weedkiller has been applied. In most cases, weeds will die between 1-4 weeks from application. Bear in mind that sun and heat help weedkiller work faster, so applying during a dry, sunny spell of weather is best.
Do I Need to Pull Weeds After Using Weed Killer?
The short answer to this question is yes, dead weeds should always get pulled from the ground after herbicides do their job. Don’t be tempted to pull them too early. Give the product time to work before digging or pulling the weeds up.
When pulling dead weeds, be sure to lift all of the roots from the ground. Even the tiniest pieces of remaining roots can come back to haunt you next year.
How Often Can You Use Weed Killers?
Using weed killer isn’t a one-time thing. Different weeds appear at different times of year, and new weeds will begin to appear eventually. However, it’s important not to apply weed-killing products too often, or you risk affecting other plants.
How often you apply weed killer is largely down to the brand and type you use. Check the label to ensure it’s safe for repeated application. Lawn weeds may only need treated annually, while other kinds of weeds might need a few applications throughout the growing season.
Different Types of Weed Killers
Pre-Emergent Weed Killer
As you’d expect from the name, pre-emergent weed killers are designed to kill weeds before they sprout and emerge from the ground. Pre-emergent weed killer is best used in early spring before seeds get a chance to grow and produce roots.
Post-Emergent Weed Killer
On the other hand, post-emergent weed killers are invaluable for killing weeds that have already reached the surface and are blighting flower beds, lawns or in-between Paving slabs.
Selective Weed Killer
Selective weed killers are perfect for targeting weeds that sprout up in lawns or nearby plants you want to keep. This type of weed killer only kills weeds, leaving wanted plants to grow happily undisturbed (but you still need to be careful not to accidentally spray those plants you wish to keep!)
Non-Selective Weed Killer
Non-selective weed killers are much less discriminate and kill anything in their path. These types of weed killers are ideal for clearing larger areas to prepare for planting or for use on driveways and patios where there are no other plants to worry about.
Contact Weed Killer
Contact weed killers are usually non-selective and kill plants, including weeds when they come into contact with the foliage. This type of weed killer is generally the fastest acting, with results often showing just a few hours after use.
Systemic Weed Killer
This type of weed killer is often slower to work than contact versions. However, it is usually more effective at killing weeds. When sprayed onto the weed’s leaves, the plant absorbs the weed killer and draws it down into its root system, killing the unwanted plant from the inside out. Weeds start to show signs of ill health around a week after being treated and can take up to a month to fully die.
How to Apply Weed Killers
The best application method for weed killer depends on the type of product you’re using as well as the size of the area being treated.
Many weed killers designed for domestic use come in a handy spray bottle. These ready-to-use sprays are ideal for spot treatment, targeting individual weeds as they emerge from the ground. All you need to do is turn the nozzle to the ‘on’ position, point and spray.
Pressure sprayers are also simple to use. They can be used to apply ready-to-use weed killers or for concentrated solutions that need mixed before use. A pressure sprayer is ideal for larger areas such as paths and driveways.
A more traditional way to apply weed killer is to use a watering can. Use a fine rose or sprinkle bar to target the flow and prevent desirable plants from being hit. Ensure you use a separate watering can for weed killer and watering.
Always read the product labels before using weed killers and adhere to all instructions.
Wear protective clothing and eyewear to prevent the solution from coming into contact with your skin or eyes.
Ensure children and pets are kept away from the sprayed area at least until the weed killer has dried.
Avoid placing treated weeds in your compost pile, especially if it’s going to to fertilise fruit and vegetables.
Store weed killers in their original packaging in a cool place, out of reach of children and pets.
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