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Using Weed Killers Safely and Effectively

April 28, 2022

Weeds are inevitable, and the worse your lawn is at the start of the year, the worse the weeds will get in the course of a summer. Getting the situation under control requires a well thought out and flexible approach using the right products, at the right time, and with the right contingencies in place.

Fortunately, applying weed killer isn’t difficult if you follow the correct procedures and obey the relevant safety tips, including the following:

Scheduling your Applications

Weeds are most vulnerable to treatment early in their growth cycles, before they develop a complete root system. This makes early applications most effective, so have supplies on hand for when you notice weed emergence in the spring. If you wait too long it’s still possible to get them under control, but it may take repeat applications.

Make sure to avoid mowing your lawn for 2-3 days before and after you spray, and don’t irrigate for 2-3 days after. This will allow the weeds time to grow and spread their leaves, and for the herbicide to work its way down to the root.

Watch the Weather

Your chosen product should have instructions on the container, which will tell you the best weather and limitations for its use. In general, you should avoid applying weed killer within 24 hours of rain showers, look for temperatures between 45 and 90 degrees F, in low wind conditions.

This approach ensures the product is effective on application, has enough time to work, and won’t damage an environmentally stressed lawn more than necessary.

Preparing your Product

Weed killer products (shop online here) come in a wide variety of containers and formulations, which include premixed refills, concentrates, and ready-to-use sprays:

  • Concentrated products will need to be mixed with water to the specified ratio listed on the container. Perfect for reusable garden sprayers and the most compact option.
  • Premixed refills are ready to go once you empty them into your sprayer. Because they aren’t concentrated, the bottles will be quite a bit larger.
  • Ready-to-spray weed killers will generally come with built-in sprayers. These are great for small jobs, but for larger weed control campaigns, a reusable tank or backpack sprayer will serve you better.

Applying the Product

Go around your lawn and clear any patio furniture, dropped toys, or tools. You can then take your sprayer and steadily, methodically spray down the affected areas. It’s best to have your sprayer low to the ground to avoid overspray and to make sure that each plant receives a large enough dose of weed killer to be affected.

After about two days or so, the exposed weeds should begin to deform and change color before dying out. If the larger weeds still look healthy after five days, you may need a second application. Check your product to see how long you should wait before the second dose.  

Safety Tips

Read, understand, and observe all safety requirements and guides included with your weed killer product.

A variety of herbicides are included in commercially available weed killers and each works differently, attacking different parts or biological processes the weeds use to grow. In each case, you’ll want to completely avoid any exposure between your landscaping plants, flowers, trees, or vegetables and the weed killer product. If you do accidentally spray a plant you want to be saved, immediately water it down to wash away and dilute the product.

You’ll also want to make sure that no children, adults, or animals use the lawn until it’s dry. For your own safety, it’s recommended that you use a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, rubber gloves, goggles, and closed-toe shoes with long socks when handling or spraying weed killers, and make sure you wash your exposed skin and clothing once you’re done.

Your Lawn Care Partner

Godwin has a full line of weed control and lawn care products, along with a team of experts who are always happy to help point you in the right direction. Stop by the Hardware store today


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