Weed Killer 101
Weed killer is essential for getting rid of unwanted plants (weeds) in your garden and it is necessary for maintaining a healthy and beautiful yard. Generally referred as “herbicide”, it has great benefits in agricultural lands in removing weeds or grasses that affect the production of crop products. It is also used in forestry and other wildlife areas wherein there’s a need to clear the land against unnecessary plants. Furthermore, it is a big help in landscaping for maintaining the beauty of the landscapes by means of turf management. In view of that, for you to be familiarized well about herbicides and for its correct application, you need to learn its different types and the currently best-known products in the market.
Types of Weed Killer
There are numerous types of weed killer to mention but they fall in two main categories; selective and non-selective. The application of each type of herbicide is usually based on the kind of plant you are targeting to kill; either by activity, by use, and by any mode of action or chemical application. If you plan to use a selective type of weed killer, this only kills the specific type of plants and normally used in weed control management for home turfs. For example, home gardeners would like to remove a particular kind of weed (mostly broad-leaved) and let the grasses unharmed, therefore it is crucial to select a selective herbicide which is formulated for this purpose. On the other hand, non-selective weed killer kills all the plants that come in contact with this particular type of herbicide, and using this application requires broad sense about the target plants as well as the right season when they are effective to be applied.
According to gardening experts, the right timing of application is very significant for its effectiveness in killing the target weeds. There are three categories of weeds; annual, biennial, and perennial. Annual weeds are those weeds that grow for one season then die gradually to germinate for the next season, so you must use a weed killer to kill them before they produce seeds. For the case of biennial weeds, they grow for two seasons; they germinate in the first season and produce their seeds in the next season then die eventually. Biennial weeds are being removed with the use of contact or systemic type of weed killer during the first season to prevent them in producing seeds. And for the perennial weeds, they are the type of weeds that are very hard to remove and mostly live for more than two seasons and won’t die away easily. Perennial weeds have a unique system for their survival and can spread or regenerate to its surroundings by any means. Killing these weeds must be focused on eliminating its underground system so they will not mature and reproduce anymore. Because perennial weeds are difficult to get rid of, use only a weed killer which is specially-formulated for this case.
Most of the weeds found elsewhere are monocarpic, meaning they die right after producing their seeds and this characteristic is normal to annual weeds and biennial weeds (e.g. groundsel, ragwort, thistles, etc.). For this case, a non-selective weed killer is normally used in disposing of these weeds. There are sub-categories under non-selective herbicides; contact, systemic, and residual. Non-selective contact weed killer is known as one of the fastest acting weed killers, as it penetrates well in killing the plant tissue upon its contact to the chemical of the herbicide. However, a contact weed killer is not typically used in disposing of perennial plants because it doesn’t have the capacity to destroy the root system of the plant.
Systemic is called to the non-selective weed killer if it is translocated all through the root system of the plant by foliar application or soil application. Systemic weed killer is effective for perennial plants, but it is not fast-acting like the contact weed killer and it takes more time before the target plant is totally killed.
Weed killer that falls under the category of “residual” is a non-selective herbicide which is applied to remain in the soil with the aim of preventing the maturity or termination of the weed seeds and also used for perennial weeds. Another term for residual weed killer is pre-emergent or soil-applied herbicide. In addition, the post-emergent herbicide is a non-selective weed killer which is applied to the soil after the crops appeared.
The Best Weed Killer
Aside from the usual types of weed killer, gardeners or organic farmers apply the use of natural or organic herbicides as alternatives to the chemical-based formulations. The most common natural weed killer widely known for organic farming are distilled white vinegar, boiling water, salt, corn gluten meal, lemon juice, and natural oils like citrus or clove. The garden hoe and the hands are also categorized as an organic weed killer.
For the systemic non-selective herbicide, the ammonium sulphamate or AMS is one of the best-known weed killers by many. It effectively kills the plant tissues to dispose of tougher weeds. However, certain countries like the UK have imposed regulations for the production of this weed killer due to some issues. Glyphosate, triclopyr, fluroxypyr, picloram, and amitrole are the other ingredients used in killing weeds.
Quick Pro Dry, Weedol Max, and Brush Killer BK-32 are the well-known non-selective contact weed killer for this category. Active ingredients like ammonium octoate, glufosinate, sodium chlorate, and pelargonic acid are also efficient weed killer.
The main selective ingredient used for selective weed killer is the 2, 4-D (it is short for 2, 4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a very effective regulator for preventing the maturity of the weeds by penetrating to its leaves up to the roots. The dichlorprop or 2, 4-DP is also used selective weed killer but currently, it is banned in Europe. If you’re looking for residual weed killer to kill perennial plants, you must look with the product that contains any of the following: metolachlor, diuron, sodium chlorate, pendimethalin, simazine, or diflufenican.
Killing the weeds usually requires enough knowledge, right timing, and proper application in order to save your time and budget. Always remember to ask the experts if you’re uncertain about which weed killer is best for your problem.