Picking the Best Herbicide

Spring has sprung, the ground has thawed, and that means you’ve probably seen unwanted plants popping through the lawn or cracks in the driveway. These invaders can be vanquished with sprayable solutions, but homeowners may want to know more about what they are spritzing around outdoor areas where loved ones frequent. What herbicide should you choose?

Depending on your disposition to chemicals and where your undesired plants reside, our Green Vests will help you make the best choice for ridding your property of untoward vegetation:

Sidewalk, Driveway and Patio Vegetation

To kill all plants in a given area, use a non-selective herbicide, one that does not differentiate between the types of plants it kills. The most common herbicide for this situation is a chemical called glyphosate, which kills plants by repressing their ability to uptake certain nutrients that are crucial to immunity functions.

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regards the widespread use of glyphosate as safe, the chemical has become controversial in recent years because of a concern of possible carcinogenicity. As a result, a rising movement of chemically-conscious homeowners, pet-owners, and gardeners, however, are shunning glyphosate products in favor of something more naturally-derived.

Pulverize Weed and Grass Killer uses ammoniated soaps of fatty acids—or potassium salts—to kill plants by stripping the coating off the surfaces of their leaves, which in turn causes them to dehydrate. The main activator for this natural alternative is heat, so applications made during the peak warmth of the day will yield the best results.

Unwanted Lawn Vegetation

To kill weeds in the lawn, use a selective herbicide, one that focuses on broadleaf plants, like dandelions, clover, and thistle, while leaving grass alone. Historically, lawn maintainers have used 2,4-D—a synthetic chemical that kills broadleaf plants by changing the way their cells grow, while not affecting the cells of surrounding grass blades.

Like glyphosate, 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) has long been cited for safety concerns, so for those with lawn-lounging animals and inquisitive tots, there is a safer and more natural solution.

Pulverize Weed Killer uses iron to take care of unsightly vegetation while keeping grass healthy. Growers know that iron is crucial for plants to use in their growth cycles, however, the Pulverize formula is concocted to deliver a fatal overdose to unwanted weeds.

The Hard-To-Kill Stuff

We know, for the prickly pests and non-native nasties, sometimes you have to bring out the big guns. Tough brush is part of life in Colorado, and for plants with names like poison ivy, kudzu, burclover and wild blackberry, you may need to up your game. The bigger brands will recommend products using a chemical called Triclopyr, which manipulates plant hormones into a cycle of self-destruction. Luckily, there’s a more-natural herbicide for the harder-to-kill intruders.

Just like its original weed and grass-killing formula, Pulverize Weed, Brush and Vine Killer uses ammoniated soaps of fatty acids, but also boasts an additional ingredient called maleic hydrazide (to be clear—this added compound is synthetic—but often preferred to the Triclopyr alternative), which interferes with cell division and eventually leads to demise.

If you’re not sure whether to use a natural solution or a chemical one, talk to one of our green vests! A good rule of thumb is that those who draw their water from a well, own pets, or have young ones playing around should generally defer to more natural solutions.

Herbicide INfographic from McGuckin Hardware