Mastering Herbicide Usage- Tips and Tricks for Effective Weed Control 

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.

Maintaining a lush, green lawn is the pride of many homeowners, but the presence of pesky weeds can quickly turn a pristine lawn into an ugly nightmare. Herbicides offer an efficient solution for controlling weeds and reclaiming the beauty of your lawn, but using them effectively requires more than just spraying and hoping for the best. To achieve optimal results while safeguarding the health of your lawn and the environment, it’s essential to understand the intricacies of weed identification,  product selection, herbicide application, and safety protocols. Whether you’re dealing with stubborn broadleaf weeds or invasive grasses, mastering herbicide usage can elevate your lawn care efforts to new heights. Here’s a comprehensive guide with tips and tricks tailored specifically for lawn weed control: 


Identify Lawn Weeds

Before tackling weed control, it’s crucial to identify the types of weeds infesting your lawn. Common lawn weeds include broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clover, and plantain, as well as grassy weeds such as crabgrass and wintergrass. Different herbicides are formulated to target specific types of weeds, so accurate identification is key to selecting the right product. 


Choose the Right Herbicide

Selecting the appropriate herbicide is essential for effective weed control without harming desirable turfgrass species. Choose a herbicide that targets the specific weeds present in your lawn while being safe for your grass type. Consider factors such as herbicide formulation (liquid vs. Granular) and timing. 


Read and Follow Label Instructions

The label is your best source of information for safe and effective herbicide use. Carefully read and follow all label instructions, including application rates, mixing ratios, safety precautions, and re-entry intervals. Deviating from label recommendations can result in poor weed control and potential harm to the environment, your lawn and yourself. If you do not understand any of the instructions on the label please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 


Timing is Critical

Timing your herbicide applications correctly can significantly enhance their efficacy. Apply herbicides when weeds are actively growing and at their most vulnerable stage of growth. Early spring and early autumn are generally optimal times for weed control in lawns, as weeds are actively growing but have not seeded and turfgrass is less stressed by high or low temperatures. 


Consider Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a significant role in herbicide effectiveness and safety. Avoid spraying herbicides during windy conditions to minimise drift, which can cause unintended damage to nearby plants. Also, avoid applying herbicides before rain or irrigation (unless otherwise stated on the label), as precipitation can wash away the product before it has a chance to work. 


Calibrate Equipment

It is important to know that lawn herbicides are not applied per litre of water, the most important measurement is your area. Proper calibration of spraying equipment is essential for accurate herbicide application and avoiding over- or under-application. Calibrate sprayers to deliver the correct dosage per your measured area, taking into account factors such as nozzle type, pressure, and walking speed. Regularly check and maintain equipment to ensure consistent application. Check out our video on how to calibrate here. 


Practice Even Coverage

Achieving uniform coverage is critical for consistent weed control. When spraying herbicides, ensure even distribution across the lawn to target all weeds effectively. Overlapping spray patterns and using a back-and-forth motion can help achieve uniform coverage and avoid missed spots. Don’t be afraid to practice with water first, or spray when there is a dew so you can see your footprints. 


Spot Treating

Spot treatment is a targeted approach that minimises herbicide usage. Use a small sprayer to apply herbicide directly to individual weeds or weed patches while sparing the surrounding lawn. Spot treatment is especially useful for controlling scattered weeds or weed species that are resistant to selective herbicides. It is very important that you do not over apply, do not give the weed a “coating” simply wand your sprayer over the weed as you would if applying to the whole lawn. 


Follow Up as Needed

Weed seeds are persistent in the lawns for many years, so weed control in lawns is an ongoing process that may require multiple applications for optimal results. Monitor treated areas regularly for weed regrowth or new weed infestations, and be prepared to reapply herbicides as needed to maintain control. Follow up treatments may be necessary to address persistent or emerging weed populations. 


Practice Safety Precautions

Prioritise safety when handling herbicides to protect yourself, your lawn, and the environment. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, long sleeves, and pants, to minimise exposure. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, and clothing, and wash thoroughly after handling herbicides. Keep herbicides out of reach of children and pets, and store them securely in a cool, dry place away from food, water sources, and other chemicals. 


Consider Alternative Weed Control Methods

While herbicides are effective tools for weed control in lawns, they are not the only option. Integrated weed management approaches that combine cultural practices, mechanical methods, and biological control can complement herbicide usage and reduce reliance on chemical interventions. Practices such as proper mowing, watering, fertilising, and aerating can promote a healthy, dense lawn that naturally suppresses weed growth. Additionally, manual methods such as hand-pulling weeds, using weed trimmers and mowers can be effective for specific areas. 


Be Patient and Persistent

Achieving and maintaining a weed-free lawn takes time, patience, and consistent effort. Results may not be immediate, and it may take multiple treatments to achieve the desired level of weed control. Stay vigilant, follow best practices, and be persistent in your weed management efforts to enjoy a healthy, vibrant lawn year-round. 


By incorporating these tips and tricks into your lawn care routine, you can effectively control weeds and cultivate a lush, green lawn that enhances the beauty and value of your property. Remember to always prioritise safety, read and follow label instructions, and choose herbicides and application methods appropriate for your specific lawn conditions and weed species. With proper care and attention, you can achieve long-lasting weed control and enjoy the benefits of a healthy, thriving lawn for years to come. 

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