Using Herbicides for Controlling Weeds and Unwanted Plants

Herbicides are often the only method to really eradicate particularly tough weeds. If herbicides are your only option, don’t be hesitant to use them. However, before you do, exhaust all other options. Chemical sprays aren’t always necessary and sometimes pulling, hoeing, tilling, or digging out weeds works just fine. Let’s find out more about gardening using herbicides.

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What is a Herbicide?

Herbicides are similar to pesticides in that they are used to eradicate unwanted weedy plants. Herbicides are commonly used to eradicate weeds or remove unwanted plant growth from a garden. Herbicides come in two varieties: Synthetic and Organic. In any case, everything should be taken very rarely and with caution. Although an organic product may be safer for humans, pets, cattle, and maybe even “good” plants, this does not rule out the possibility of it being harmful to any of these groups.

Herbicides come in a variety of forms and it’s important to know what kind of plants you’re trying to eradicate as well as what kind of herbicide you’re employing. Depending on the herbicide, certain plants will be targeted for eradication while others will be wiped off completely. Herbicides may do a lot of damage to your lawn and garden unintentionally since they wander while being sprayed.

Types of Herbicides to Control Weed Outgrowth

Herbicides can be classified into two different types based on how they act on the weeds.

Selective Herbicides

These selective herbicides that target only a few species of weeds do not affect the rest of the plant population in your garden or lawn. These selective types of herbicides can be further sub-classified into,

  1. Pre-Emergent Herbicides which are sprayed on the soil and they kill young weeds as soon as they start emerging. These pre-emergents are generally applied during late-winters or sometimes in the early spring season.
  2. Post-Emergent Herbicides that are generally applied to unwanted plant foliage wherein they are absorbed by the plant tissue. These post-emergents are sprayed during the spring season, once the weeds start growing.

Note: The herbicide product label includes a list of target weeds and it generally doesn’t affect plants other than the ones listed.

Non-Selective (Broad Spectrum) Herbicides

Non-selective herbicides, as their name suggests, are capable of killing and wiping out virtually any plant. When dealing with weeds in gardens and lawns, selective herbicides come in handy. Herbicides that aren’t selective can be used to quickly and easily clean an area before planting a new garden.

Useful Tips to Use Herbicides for Controlling Weeds

Reading the label is the very first step towards understanding herbicides. Herbicide labels instruct you on how to use the product correctly and effectively while also warning you about possible side effects. Herbicides may not be used for any other purpose or technique than the one specified on the label.

  1. Don’t use herbicides on windy days or near water bodies like lakes, ponds etc.
  2. Wear protective gear like gloves, face mask and cover your body completely.
  3. Avoid spraying herbicides when kids or pets are in the garden or lawn.
  4. Purchase only the required amount of these chemicals and store them in a safe place to prevent contamination.

Protect the plants that you don’t want to kill when spraying herbicides in the garden. If you know what kind of weed you’re dealing with, you may use a selective herbicide to get rid of it while leaving healthy plants alone. Herbicides containing glyphosate are effective against difficult-to-control plants as well as unknown weeds. Before using a herbicide, make a cardboard partition to enclose the weed and protect the surrounding plants.

We recommend using organic methods of weed control first and then going for conventional chemical methods only if it is absolutely necessary.