Unwanted, invasive and usually ugly, weeds are the nemesis of the backyard gardener. Often possessing uncanny survival abilities, weeds only need a few inches of soil to take root. Fortunately, there are a variety of formulas available to fight this never-ending battle. From organic and nontoxic to chemicals that leave the ground lifeless for a year, there is a product for every need.
A broad-spectrum herbicide, Roundup's main active ingredient is the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate. Roundup is effective but tends not to be selective. Use Roundup only on the areas you wish to kill. Monsanto, the corporation that makes Roundup, also sells genetically engineered seeds, which turn into Roundup-tolerant plants.
BurnOut Weed and Grass Killer
Gardeners concerned about harsh chemicals will find BurnOut Weed and Grass Killer very effective without the toxic danger associated with weed control. Comprised of citric acid, clove oil and sodium lauryl sulfate (an active ingredient in soap), BurnOut is a natural product that can be used on driveways, shrubbery and lawns. Annuals will be killed immediately while perennials will require a second treatment. The product is best applied on warm, dry days.
Ortho Weed B Gon Lawn Weed Killer
Formulated for lawns, Weed B Gon will not harm most turf. However, it is not recommended for use on St. Augustine grass, centipede or Bahia grass. Active ingredients are quinclorac and dicamba, which are strong chemicals. Take care in application. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep children and pets off the treated area for at least 48 hours after the product has dried on the grass.
Ortho Triox Ground Clear Vegetation Killer
Triox has a similar chemical makeup as Roundup. With the active agents of glyphosate, isopropylamine salt and imazapyr. Triox is usually mixed with water and poured or sprayed on weeds. Areas of application will be safe to use in 48 hours (faster if it is hot out). However, Triox does not distinguish between weed, lawns and flowers, so take proper care in application. Trim the weeds first to avoid overspraying. The resulting kill will be thorough and long lasting. This product is best unused in areas where you want zero vegetation (driveways, walkways, patios). While poisonous, Triox is noncarcinogenic. Children and pets should not play in or around treated vegetation for at least 48 hours.
While there are organic and nontoxic brands available, the quickest results without any dangerous chemicals is good old-fashioned elbow grease. Pulling weeds by hand or using a hoe or shovel can often yield the best results. However, be sure to remove the pulled weeds from the soil and do not bury them as compost or they will sprout and create a new generation of weeds.