What Are the Types of Weed Killer?

Weeds are one of the most annoying aspects of gardening. Some gardeners hang up the hoe and trowel for the spray bottle filled with herbicide. Weed killer refers to the variety of herbicides available for use around the home landscape. Weed killers exist to treat nuisance plants in both the lawn and garden area. Weed killers are divided into categories based on application method and the absorption method of the plant.

Nonselective Herbicide

This type of herbicide kills most plants on contact, so careful application is necessary. Nonselective herbicides are sprayed or poured on weeds to kill above ground foliage by contact with harsh chemicals in the solution. Nonselective herbicides are also used to kill large areas of lawn for garden installation. This type of weed killer doesn't discriminate between ornamental and nuisance plants. Every leaf that comes in contact with the spray will die.

Selective Herbicide

Some nuisance weeds appear in lawn and garden areas with incredible regularity. The dandelions or creeping Charlie vine that destroys the look of the perfect lawn can be treated with a selective herbicide. This type of weed killer attacks a species of plant by absorption through the leaves and disruption of the plant's growth system. Selective weed killer requires careful determination of the type of nuisance plant to choose the correct herbicide for the task.

Systemic Herbicide

This type of herbicide attacks the plant's vascular system and disrupts the entire growth system of the plant. The plant dies over the course of a few days. Systemic herbicides affect both the foliage and roots of the plant for effective weed treatment.

Soil Herbicides

Soil treatment affects everything in the vicinity of the application. Soil herbicides treat weeds at the post-emergent stage and also attack the root of nuisance plants. Soil herbicides should be considered in areas where foliage isn't desired at all. Soil-applied weed killers remain in the soil for extended periods of time based on information provided by the Washington State University Extension Service.

Manual Weed Removal

Digging up weeds using cultivation tools such as a hoe and shovel offer a viable option to chemical weed killers. Manual removal eliminates the possibility of damage to ornamental plants. This form of weed removal also reduces the chance of chemicals or other herbicide mix ingredients remaining in the soil for long periods of time.

Keywords: weed killer types, herbicides usage, types of herbicides

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.