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  • Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Killer

  • Bonide BurnOut Fomula II

  • Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer

  • Syngenta Tenacity Herbicide

  • Roundup Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer

  • Bonide Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Weed Killer Concentrate

  • A Word on Weed Prevention

Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Killer

Spectracide’s Weed Stop for Lawns is one of the most useful weed killers available because it’s selective—meaning it doesn’t kill most turfgrass plants that make up your lawn—so you can spray it on weeds and not damage your grass.

It features a wide variety of herbicides that target weeds, including 2,4-D, quinclorac, dicamba, and sulfentrazone. Those are all relatively non-toxic to bees, kids, and pets, though you’ll want to follow the label to the letter and try to apply to non-flowering plants and apply between sunset and midnight.

Like other selective weed killers, it may take multiple applications to work properly, and you’ll want to make sure it won’t harm your particular grass type, so be mindful of that. If you have a very large lawn, we’d opt for the concentrated version, though you’ll want to add a surfactant. And you’ll need a garden sprayer to mix it all in.

Pros

  • Kills wide range of weeds

  • Easy to apply

  • Doesn’t kill grass

Cons

  • May take multiple doses

  • Less effective on mature weeds

Bonide BurnOut Fomula II

Bonide’s Burnout II Organic Weed Killer is a safe, effective weed killer that is great if you’re treating a sensitive area and you’re concerned about potentially leaving a residue for your pets or kids—it’s even considered safe for use in primary-school playgrounds in some states.

It uses clove oil and citric acid as the active ingredient, which at this concentration will wipe out most weeds and grass that it comes in contact with. Both of those ingredients are non-toxic to bees and most other animals, and it dries quickly enough that it shouldn’t pose any problems when applied using proper safety equipment and clothing and following the label exactly.

Pros

  • Organic active ingredients

  • Safe for kids and pets

  • Works fast

Cons

  • Also kills grass

  • May require multiple applications

Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer

Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer is a non-selective weed killer that will harm both weeds and turfgrass (your lawn). But if you’ve got weeds in a patio, walkway, driveway, deck, or just a particularly bad area you want to wipe out and start over, it’s a great option.

GroundClear’s active ingredient is Ammonium Nononoate, which is considered relatively non-toxic to bees and local animals and should be perfectly safe for kids and pets when applied according to the label. It’s also effective, quickly causing plants to wither, though it may take time or multiple applications to wipe out mature weeds.

Pros

  • Kills nearly all weeds

  • Easy to apply

  • Low toxicity to bees

Cons

  • Kills grass also

  • May take multiple applications

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Syngenta Tenacity Herbicide

Tenacity is an herbicide you’ll see recommended in lots of places, especially for crabgrass control or for use as a “pre-emergent” that will prevent weeds from growing. What makes it unique is that it’s one of the few weed preventers that will not harm new grass seed, so you can spray it and seed right away.

The active ingredient mesotrione is also found in some other products, like some starter fertilizers that prevent weeds, though in this version it’s concentrated and ready to be mixed in a tank sprayer. In this form, you can also use it as a post-emergent weed killer, though it still works best on young, growing weeds.

It’s less effective at that than the other weed killers we’ve used, usually taking several weeks and multiple applications. But if you’re planning on seeding in the next few days or weeks, it’s your best bet for not harming your new grass—just follow the label exactly.

Pros

  • Works as a pre- and post-emergent

  • Effective on crabgrass

  • Won’t harm most grass

Cons

  • Takes time to work

  • Bleaches grass briefly

  • Tricky to apply

Roundup Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer

Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate is certainly controversial, but it’s still widely used as an effective weed killer that will wipe out most hardy, mature weeds and turfgrass when used properly. You’ll absolutely need to follow the label to the letter and make sure you don’t use it near trees, flowering plants, or anywhere it may get into the local ecosystem where you don’t want it to be.

If used safely and properly, it’s an effective non-selective weed and grass killer that can quickly wipe out vegetation in an area and leave it ready to re-seed in just a couple of weeks. Just be aware that like other non-selective herbicides it can damage nearly any plant that you spray it on, so only use it where it's appropriate and follow the label exactly.

Pros

  • Kills grass and weeds effectively

  • Easy to apply without extra gear

Cons

  • Must be extremely careful when applying

  • Unclear if it will harm bees

Bonide Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Weed Killer Concentrate

Bonide’s Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Weed Killer is—you’ll never guess—great at controlling chickweed, oxalis, and clover. It’s relatively non-toxic and safe to birds, bees, kids, pets, and local fauna, but it will put a dent in those three types of weeds as well as some other tricky buggers like wild violet.

In my experience it will work, but since it’s meant to target some of the most annoying, persistent weeds in your lawn you need to give it time and two applications. The active ingredient here is a mix of Dicamba, dimethylamine salt MCPA, dimethylamine salt Triclopyr, and triethylamine salt, which are all generally considered safe but not always in other weed killers. It’s a unique choice for unique situations—just use it carefully.

Pros

  • Excellent at controlling clover

  • Easy to apply

  • Works with time

Cons

  • Takes multiple applications

A Word on Weed Prevention

What even is a weed? Do you need to get rid of it? These are important questions to consider when crafting a weed-control plan for your lawn. While having a picture-perfect lawn full of a single, uniform type of grass may appeal to some, others may be fine with a mix of grass and weed types as long as things don't get out of hand.

Nearly every state has what's known as an "Extension School" that studies your local plant life and can give specific, regional recommendations on how to maintain your lawn and garden. They're also the best resource when it comes to local regulations, which can vary from state to state and restrict what types of weed killers are available to you.

No matter what, the best way to control weeds in your lawn is to help feed and maintain a healthy lawn of desirable grasses that grow well in your particular climate zone. You can see the USDA's "Plant Hardiness" map for specifics about what zone your home is in. That'll determine the types of grass you should cultivate, the types of weeds you're likely to encounter, and how to best time your lawncare routine so that your lawn is as healthy as possible.

Even the best, healthiest lawn is likely to have some weeds that sprout. Some weeds will come and go without bothering your lawn, and flowering types can be important for local pollinators such as bees. For other types of invasive weeds, such as crabgrass, you'll need to be both aggressive and proactive to keep them from taking over your lawn. In these cases, you'll want to use a weed preventer. Though most of the weed killers we've used advertise the ability to "prevent weeds," in most cases you'll want to investigate a "pre-emergent" herbicide that you apply in the spring and early summer before weeds start to sprout. This prevents weeds from germinating, so you don't have ugly weeds to begin with. It can also prevent new grass seed from germinating, so you'll need to time your efforts so you don't interfere with your ability to re-seed thin or dead patches in your lawn later.

If all else fails, you can always just dig the weed out by the root. Otherwise, weed killers like those featured above are your best bet. They're more specifically designed to kill weeds that have already begun to sprout, when pre-emergents are no longer effective. Keep your lawn healthy, apply pre-emergent at the right time, and use weed killer sparingly to control invasive species, and your lawn will be in tip-top shape in no time.

Meet the tester

TJ Donegan

TJ Donegan

Executive Editor

@TJDonegan

TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.

See all of TJ Donegan's reviews

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