If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
When weeds take over your yard, removing them can be a daunting task. These pesky plants are resilient and may pop up despite your best efforts. However, a tough weed killer can make the job a bit easier. SPY spoke to Rupa Mehta, a Home Expert with Angi, and discussed what to look for and what to avoid when tackling tough-to-remove weeds.
SPY: Why is it important to get rid of weeds?
Mehta: Weeds compete with your plants for space and light, making it difficult for your plants to thrive. Weeds can also be harmful to kids, pets and other plants, so we recommend pulling them before they have the opportunity to hurt your garden or your family.
SPY: Is there a best time of year to kill weeds?
Mehta: The best time of year to kill weeds depends on your climate and the type of plants you have in your yard. It’s easier when the soil is damp, so it’s usually a good idea to wait for it to rain before pulling weeds. If your area isn’t expecting rain anytime soon, water your yard thoroughly to dampen the soil before you try to pull weeds.
You should also consider killing weeds before you plant new crops or flowers, which will give the new plants more room to thrive without being crowded or interrupted. If you notice a sudden increase in weeds, or if you start to see poisonous weeds popping up, go ahead and pull weeds the next time it rains.
SPY: What should be avoided when killing weeds?
Mehta: Don’t assume that routine lawn maintenance, like cutting your grass, will kill any weeds in your yard. Weeds can be extremely resilient, so it’s important to take them out by the root if you want to get rid of them for good.
SPY: How do people with kids or pets approach killing weeds differently?
Mehta: Many store-bought herbicides can be harmful to pets, children and even some adults. If you have pets or children running around your yard, be careful about which substances you use to kill your weeds. Consider using natural alternatives, like vinegar or boiling water, to kill your weeds without causing any harm to humans or pets.
When shopping for weed killers, there are a handful of varieties to choose from and it’s important to know what you’re putting on your lawn. There are two main types of weed killer that you’ll see on the market: chemical and natural.
Chemical weed killers typically contain a herbicide called glyphosate. Industrial weed killers will contain higher concentrations of glyphosate to clear large areas of land, while household products will likely include a lower concentration. Natural weed killers use agents like vinegar or sea salt to kill weeds and while these ingredients may not help clear a yard quite like a high glyphosate weed killer, they can still be quite effective.
To get you started on your yard work, we’ve rounded up some of the best chemical and natural weed killers for your grass and gardens. And once you’re all set with the best weed killers, be sure to check out our roundup of the best reel mowers to make sure your lawn is always in perfect shape.
1. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
Green Gobbler’s weed killer is a great way to control your yard naturally. This product contains 20% acetic acid, which is four times stronger than the vinegar in your kitchen. The weed killer is completely free of glyphosate. While you can use this weed killer anywhere on your lawn, it’s also effective on dandelions, clover, chickweed, dollarweed, thistle and general broadleaf. You apply the product with a simple nozzle. This product can eliminate weeds and grass without added chemicals and the spray is OMRI-certified organic.
2. Ortho GroundClear Year-Long Vegetation Killer
For gardeners who don’t want to frequently reapply weed killer, Ortho GroundClear Year-Long Vegetation Killer is for you. One treatment of the weed-killing spray can last up to 12 months, helping to keep outdoor spaces weed-free. GroundClear, which comes with a convenient Comfort Wand, can start killing grass and weeds as quickly as one hour after application. The spray can be used on most outdoor spaces, including on driveways, on gravel, around sidewalks, under decks, along curbs, fences, and more. Ortho recommends that users apply the spray on sunny days with a temperature above 60°F to ensure weeds are in an active growth phase.
3. Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer
BEST FOR PETS
Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer uses sodium chloride, citric acid and clove oil to kill weeds and grasses. The natural formula is free of glyphosate, so it’s a safe option if you have pets. You can use this product in gardens, walkways, pool areas, fence lines, and foundations to keep weeds in check. You may notice the weeds browning or dying in as little as 24 hours. We also like that this product doesn’t require any mixing or diluting.
4. Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer
FAST WATERPROOFING TIME
If you’re covering a large area, opt for a product like Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer. The concentrated spray can be mixed and applied with a tank sprayer and sprayed over large areas where weeds are present. The spray can be used around sidewalks and driveways, flower beds, trees, and shrubs and will help to kill dandelions, chickweed, and crabgrass. Weeds will be killed at the root and results may be seen as soon as three hours after application.
5. Roundup Pro Concentrate
Whether you have a large piece of land to cover or need a product that is sure to kill every plant in its path, Roundup Pro Concentrate may be your best option. The weed killer is highly effective and highly potent, so care must be taken by customers when using the concentrated fluid. Made with Glyphosate 50.2%, the professional-grade weed killer has a rate of 1-10.5 ounces per gallon of water and should only be used with stainless steel sprayers. Customers should also wear protective gear when using this spray, which can be applied for industrial, turf, and ornamental weed control.
6. RM43 Total Vegetation Control Weed Killer
GOOD FOR INVASIVE PLANTS
Containing 43% glyphosate, this powerful weed killer is suitable for household and industrial use. One gallon of this product can treat 17,297 square feet of land and prevent weeds for up to one year. You can use this weed killer for targeting specific weeds or clearing grass from a wide area. However, keep in mind that it may take around six days for the weeds to completely die. This product is available in 0.25-, one- and 2.5-gallon sizes. The weed killer is effective on vines and brush, as well as most common weeds. This product is a great option if you’re dealing with invasive plants.
7. Earth’s Ally Weed and Grass Killer Natural Trigger Spray Herbicide
BEST NATURAL SPRAY
For people with pets or small children, finding a weed killer that is effective and safe is important for their family. A great option is Earth’s Ally Weed and Grass Killer 1-Gallon Natural Trigger Spray Herbicide, which is made without the use of harsh chemicals. Using sea salt and other safe ingredients, the pet-friendly spray kills weeds at the roots and starts working in as little as three hours. Safe for use around trees, moss, and vegetable gardens, the natural spray can be used on driveways, patios, and planting beds to help kill weeds like clover, poison ivy, vines, broadleaf weeds, and chickweed. Although it’s not waterproof and will have to be reapplied after rainstorms, the natural spray is a great option for users concerned about toxic chemicals.
8. Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
BEST FOR VEGETABLE GARDENS
Want to enjoy your vegetable garden without having to deal with weeds? Opt for a weed killer like Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer, which stops weeds before they sprout. The 100% natural weed preventer is safe for use in vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens. Lambs quarters, crabgrass, clover, bluegrass, and more commonly found weeds are killed at the root, meaning no weeding for avid gardeners. Application is simple and users can sprinkle the Preen mix on their garden every four to six weeks, with children and pets safe to play in the garden immediately following application.
9. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Weed & Grass Killer
BEST BUDGET BUY
This weed killer contains 41 percent glyphosate and covers over 25,000 square feet of land per container. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Weed & Grass Killer is great for removing weeds, vines, and grasses from gardens and walkways. To use, mix 1.5 ounces of weed killer per gallon of water. The product becomes rainproof in two hours, but it’s best to apply it when the forecast is clear for 24 hours. This weed killer attacks plants at the root, potentially killing weeds in as little as two to four days and weeds may stay away for months.