As a new homeowner and moving down to Texas where summers are longer than ever, I’ve experienced needing to learn about the best weed killers/ herbicides for my lawn. Based on my research and experience, the Southern Ag Amine 2.4-D is the best weed killer for lawns for nearly every homeowner – myself included!
I also have a dog that loves roaming around the house, so I’ve taken into consideration weed killers that have a high chance of exposure to my furry best friend.
Most potent weed killers come in large gallon-sized containers. The best option for those who live in smaller residential homes with smaller lawns is to simply purchase a simple spray container. There is no need for large, industrial sized sprayers. A container that attaches to a hose or a pump sprayer up to 1 gallon in size is very affordable.
If you aren’t sure on terminology like pre-emergent and post-emergent, the bottom of this article has the definitions to catch you up to speed! I made them straight forward as possible to understand.
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all, so I’ve researched other weed killers and have come up with the best weed killers for a different variety of situations; from pre-emergent herbicides to herbicides that are natural. Here are the 7 best weed killers for your lawn to keep the weeds and other invasive plants away.
- Best Overall: Southern Ag Amine 2.4-D Weed Killer
- Multi-Purpose/Combination Weed Killer: Quinclorac 75 DF Herbicide
- Best Pre–Emergent: Dimension 2EW Dithiopyr
- Best Post–Emergent: Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed
- Best Natural: Natural Armor 30% Home and Garden Vinegar
- Best for Large Areas/ Overall Strength: Compare-N-Save Grass and Weed Killer Glyphosate
- Best for Flower Beds & Ready-to-use: Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III
Best Overall Weed Killer for Lawns
Southern Ag Amine 2.4-D Weed Killer
For most homeowners, the Southern Ag Amin 2.4-D formula does the trick. It targets over 200 weeds, does not kill grass and avoids harming your plants. It’s so simple to use that it’s one of the most popular weed killer products out there on the market, for good reason.
It has a ton of general usage over many types of areas like pasture, golf courses, lawns, and industrial sites. If you are a homeowner living in an urban, or even suburban space, most likely the Southern Ag Amine is more than enough for your specific usage.
The active ingredient, dimethylamine, helps deal with common weeds like blueweed Texas, burdock, catnip, dandelions, ragweed, and bull thistles.
Mix two to three tablespoons into three to five gallons of water and apply with a low-pressure sprayer to cover up to 1000 square-feet of lawn.
- Simple and effective
- Kills all weeds that an average homeowner would encounter
- Works really fast (from 2 days to 2 weeks)
- Won’t harm grass
- Not great for grassy weeds
- Will need to mix with water before usage
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0072289CA
Best Multi-Purpose Herbicide
Quinclorac 75 DF
The Quinclorac 75 DF Herbicide is a great weed killer for a variety of weeds, but particularly on broadleaf and crabgrass that is commonly found throughout the US. If you have a lawn that’s surrounded by a variety of different weeds, then the Quinclorac is the best weed killer for lawns as it’s advertised as a multi-purpose/combination weed killer.
Its main use is mostly on commercial and residential turf-grass but can be used on golf courses and sports fields.
Mix a tablespoon of the herbicide with a gallon of water and spray using a low-pressure spray. This should cover approximately up to 1000 square-feet of lawn.
Once sprayed, you’ll notice weeds start to deteriorate in as little as 24 hours. Most weeds will be gone within 10 days.
- Best broad-spectrum herbicide to control a variety of weeds, especially broadleaf and crabgrass
- Doesn’t damage your lawn, even if its completely overrun with weeds
- On average kills weeds faster than other general-purpose weed killers
- Not safe to use on St. Augustine grass
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LAVM3W
Best Pre-Emergent Option
Dimension 2EW Herbicide
For pre-emergent weed killers for lawns, the Dimension 2EW Herbicide is the go-to solution that provides a powerful formula to control weeds in all varieties of lawn types and all year round.
If you’re starting a nursery or it’s the season before weeds bloom, then applying the Dimension 2EW as early as possible will maximize its effectiveness for your lawn. It is non-staining, low odor that has approved use all over the US.
It works well on crabgrass and more than 45 other grassy and broadleaf weeds. Even better, it works well for areas in the country where weather can be unpredictable.
- Longstanding control all-year round of invasive weeds
- Works even on early post-emergent weeds
- Long application window
- Non-staining and low-odor
- Difficult to gauge if formula is doing its job (as it preemptively kills weeds before it emerges)
- Lawn must be fully completed before application
- Timing is key for pre-emergent weed killers; it may be too late in the season when you need it
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056650Z8
Best Post-Emergent Option
Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed
If your lawn has already been overrun with common weeds like dandelions and clovers, then Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed will do the job in removing those pests. It works very well against dandelions and clovers or Scotts guarantees your money back.
Unlike other previous herbicides on this list, Scotts Turf Builder comes in a fertilizer format, which may be much more convenient for some. You simply need to apply it as if you were planting soil. No spray device is required.
On the downside, while most fertilizers deal with crabgrass, Scotts Turf Builder does not. Since it is a fertilizer that is exposed for a longer duration in the open, it is not pet-friendly so you may want to reconsider if you have a furry friend who loves rolling in dirt and getting the house messy afterwards.
- Very powerful against dandelions and clovers
- Works very well if your lawn is already overrun
- Doubles as a fertilizer; no sprayer needed
- Lawn growth will improve due to fertilizer
- Doesn’t kill crabgrass
- Not pet-friendly as its a fertilizer
- Application process could be tedious as you need to water your lawn before applying
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XJM8KMQ
Best Natural Alternative
Natural Armor 30% Home and Garden Vinegar
Most traditional and even modern weed killers contain harsh ingredients that are not as eco-friendly. If you’re looking for a green alternative, then the Natural Armor 30% Home and Garden Vinegar is your best bet as the best weed killer for lawns.
Containing simply just water and vinegar in the solution, you’ll be able to kill weeds without any hazardous chemicals that the average person can’t pronounce. The vinegar is much more powerful than the household vinegar you would find in your home so you may want to consider being careful how you use it.
Organic options like this are relatively safer for pet owners but it is still very important to always read the warning label on any products you purchase.
Since it’s simply just vinegar and water, it also has other solutions; particularly in the cleaning department. You can use it to clean mess kitchen appliances, bathroom stains or anything vinegar can be used to clean!
This is a great choice if you also have small children and/or pets!
- Eco-friendly as it contains only vinegar and water
- Practicality: doubles as a cleaning solution indoors and outdoors
- Has a basic sprayer included; but you could use your own small-sized sprayer
- 6x stronger than normal vinegar to kill weeds
- Relatively safer for pets
- Lots of reviews on the poor quality of the included spray
- Could be fairly week on uncommon weeds due to simplicity of solution
Product Page: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Natural-Armor-30-Concentrated-Industrial-Strength-Vinegar-Home-Garden-Literally-Hundreds-Other-Uses-6X-Stronger-Than-Regular-128-OZ-GALLON/906760938
Best for Large Areas
Compare-N-Save Grass and Weed Killer Glyphosate
If you’re looking for one of the most powerful herbicides on the markets that work great on large, expansive areas, then the Compare-N-Save Grass and Weed Killer makes great work on your lawns.
If power was the only criteria, then this herbicide would be considered the best weed killer for lawns; however “Great Power comes Great Responsibility”.
As a non-selective herbicide, this means this herbicide does not discriminate and kills as many weeds as it can – down to the roots. Due to the non-discriminatory nature of the herbicide, it is not safe to have around sensitive plants or flower beds. It should be used in open, expansive lawns.
Great uses of this herbicide include areas of your lawn that have nothing else around it. This could be the corner of your property, away from your home. Other ideas include walkways, driveways and beside buildings/fences where weeds love to stubbornly grow.
- Extremely powerful
- Works great in large, open areas or areas with no sensitive vegetation
- Starts killing almost instantly
- Not suitable for flower beds or near other plants as it could kill any vegetation
- Could be dangerous for pets and babies – ensure you keep them away
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ARKS23A
Best for Flower Beds and Specific Areas
Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III
If you need something that is quick and ready to use, then the Roundup Weed & Grass Killer III is the best option for you. There is no fuss on needing to use other tools; you can use the included Comfort Wand from the get-go to start killing the toughest of weeds the moment you bring this weed killer home.
The Roundup Weed & Grass Killer III is especially useful for those who are interested in using very specific areas with precision – that is areas like vegetable gardens, flower beds, tree rings. It is also great on cracks in driveways, walkways and patios.
Given how it is advertised for specific usage on spots around your home, its overall value is poor as it will only cover about 300 square feet. This is a great product to have if you need to have something that is usable on-demand without the fuss that comes with other herbicides.
- Can immediately start using with included Comfort Wand
- Great use for very specific spots like vegetable gardens, flower beds, driveways, and patios
- No mixing required
- Rainproof in just 10 minutes and starts working within 3 hours
- Value is poor as you pay for convenience and not dealing with bulky herbicides
- Only covers 300 square feet at best
Product Page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FN3N0A6
Understanding the Types of Weed Killers
Weed killers, like many other products, come with its own myriad of different types and terminology not known to the average person. Being educated and soaking up as much as you can is important before making your final purchase decision so you can choose the right product for your needs.
Some of these terms are found in the reviews above so keep them in mind when reading through them!
A common term you might see even on labels. Emergence refers to when the weed finally emerges.
A pre-emergent weed killer works to stop weeds before they root and grow into a problem on your lawn. For most weeds, early spring is when this process occurs and the timing of dealing with rogue weeds starts to take root. This is when you should apply a pre-emergent herbicide, as well as with water to activate its chemicals.
A post-emergent weed killer is used when the weed has already grown and has physically emerged from the soil. You would apply the weed killer directly onto the leaves. The earlier you apply the weed killer, especially before the weed matures, the more potent your weed killer will have on the weeds.
It is quite normal for spray to accidentally spread to other plants as weeds and sensitive plants usually live in the same area. Some herbicides do not discriminate and kill everything they touch while others are designed to kill certain weeds.
Selective herbicides will kill only the plants that they are designed to target, while mostly leaving surrounding plants unharmed. These are great for lawns and gardens where you are growing other plants. You will need to check the product label to determine if your other plants will be unharmed.
A non-selective weed killer will be toxic to everything it touches. These are generally used in areas where you have no plants of interest that you wish to maintain. Examples include driveways, sidewalks, or large open areas that you intend to keep clear of obstructions.
Mode of Action
When discussing mode of action for weed killers, there are two types: contact and systemic.
Contact weed killers are applied directly on the leaves and steams of the weed. They work on contact and immediately start killing the weeds, mostly within hours. These herbicides do not go into the roots. These are great for shallow-rooted plants as the root will not survive without photosynthesis.
Systemic herbicides will soak into the leaves and go right into the plant’s systems. They effectively cut off the ability for weeds to do photosynthesis, ensuring the roots do not receive nutrients. These are great for deep-rooted weeds.
These weed killer recommendations are the best weed killers for lawns, with the Southern Ag Amine 2.4-D Weed Killer as the top recommendation. Most homeowners don’t need anything fancy, and the Southern Ag Amine does the job.
Always keep in mind when and where to apply your weed killers and if there are dependents like children or pets around. The Southern Ag Amine may not be the most useful herbicide so learning about the different types/terminology on weed killers and exploring the other options listed above can better inform you of what will work best for you.
Not comfortable buying weed killer and wanting to make your own? HGTV has an excellent DIY guide on a weed killer recipe.
Being a new homeowner myself, I hope my research and experience of going through different herbicides are useful for you! Check out my other blog posts as I and so many others are shifting to a work from home lifestyle, like dealing with pet dander or finding the perfect laptop to maximize your work output!