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 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.
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