9 Best Weed Killers for Lawn Maintenance Made Easy

Updated: May 14, 2024

Get golf course-like grass with these best weed killers and weed preventers for lawns

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10 Best Weed Killers For LawnVIA MERCHANT

Choosing the best weed killers for lawn is a tricky business, especially if you care about safety for pets, people, local wildlife and waterways. Chemical leaching, run-off and overspray can damage nearby plants you didn’t want to kill and even aquatic life miles away. Following package directions is paramount to safety and effectiveness. Regardless of the product you choose—conventional chemical or natural—take caution when applying any weed killer or preventer, including wearing protective clothing

The Best Weed Killers for Your Lawn

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Ortho Weed B Gon
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Best Weed Killer for Lawn Overall

Ortho Weed B Gon

Pros:

  • Effectively kills unwanted lawn weeds
  • Easy to apply with a hose sprayer
  • Rainproof after six hours

Cons:

  • Overspray could damage favored plants
  • Not a weed preventer

Ortho Weed B Gon concentrate is our top lawn weed killer for its affordability and effectiveness. It contains triclopyr, an active ingredient that works wonders on eradicating broadleaf weeds like chickweed, clover, oxalis, ground ivy, speedwell and more.

Use Weed B Gon with your own tank sprayer or the Ortho Dial N Spray attached to your hose, to ensure you get the right dilution of the product. When applied to actively growing weeds, it becomes rainproof after six hours. One 16-ounce container treats up to 3,200 square feet of lawn.

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Southern Ag Amine 2,4 D Weed Killer Concentrate
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Best Value Weed Killer for Lawns

Southern Ag Amine 2,4-D Weed Killer

Pros:

  • Good value weed killer
  • Kills broadleaf weeds in lawns, pastures
  • Won't harm grass

Cons:

  • Must be mixed in a sprayer
  • Won't kill crabgrass

For selective, post-emergent broadleaf weed control on a budget, this 2,4-D weed killer concentrate is an excellent option and a great value. A little goes a long way: Just two to three tablespoons mixed in three to five gallons of water and dispensed from a sprayer covers a 1,000-square-foot area. That means you’ll get 21,000 to 32,000 square feet of coverage from one quart-sized container!

This product is recommended not only for lawns but in pastures, rangelands, golf courses and other ornamental turfs. To note: The active ingredient is ineffective against crabgrass.

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Dimension 2ew Dithiopyr Pre Emergent Herbicide
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Best Weed Preventer for Lawns

Dimension 2EW Herbicide

Pros:

  • Effective weed prevention
  • Easy to mix and apply with sprayer
  • Can be used from early to mid-season
  • Can kill crabgrass post-germination

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn't come with sprayer

Sometimes prevention is the best cure. In that case, you’ll want a pre-emergent weed killer for lawn—i.e., a weed preventer. For best results, choose one containing dithiopyr, like Dimension 2EW herbicide, says senior turf specialist Joe Churchill at Reinders Inc., a Wisconsin-based supplier of turf equipment.

It’s pricey but highly effective at suppressing crabgrass and broadleaf weeds when applied early, and is even effective through mid-season as it can even kill crabgrass after it’s germinated. It mixes easily in spray tanks and a little goes a long way compared to other concentrates. For best results, use only on well-established lawns.

Amazon reviewer Sandra R. is a convert. “This product stops hard-to-kill weeds, such as dallisgrass and poa annua from germinating in my Bermudagrass lawn,” she writes.

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Natural Armor’s 30% Home & Garden Vinegar
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Best Natural Weed Killer

Natural Armor 30% Home & Garden Vinegar

Pros:

  • Natural vinegar formula
  • Kills weeds but may not destroy the root
  • Easy-to-use trigger dispenser
  • Can be used for cleaning projects, too

Cons:

  • Non-selective herbicide kills any plant it contacts

You may have heard of the DIY solution to use vinegar as a natural weed killer. Those bloggers got it half right: Vinegar’s active ingredient, acetic acid, can kill weeds—but you’ll need it in much stronger concentration than what you use in salad dressing. Natural Armor 30% Home and Garden Vinegar is six times as potent, with its main drawback being that it’s a non-selective herbicide. That means it will destroy anything it comes in contact with, including your turfgrass. It also may not kill down to the root like some other herbicides.

Still, it’s great option for eliminating stubborn weeds and unwanted grasses in driveways, cracks in the sidewalks and along gravel paths, and the included sprayer makes quick work of application. It can also be used as a cleaner on patio pavers, pool decks, outdoor furniture and more. Just wear gloves, goggles and a mask while handling this, as you would with any other household chemical.

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Preen Natural Weed Preventer
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Best Natural Weed Preventer

Preen Natural Weed Preventer

Pros:

  • Natural weed prevention
  • Prevents germination of common weeds
  • Safe to use around vegetables and fruit trees
  • Easy to apply

Cons:

  • Must be reapplied every four to six weeks
  • Can also prevent the germination of desired plants

Protect your flower beds, shrubs, fruit trees and garden from a weed invasion with Preen Natural. Made from 100% corn gluten, it can be safely used around vegetable gardens. It doesn’t kill existing weeds, but instead works to stop weed seeds from germinating. As a pre-emergent product, it’s effective on dandelions, clover, redroot pigweed, black medic, foxtail and more. That said, it will also stop your vegetable seeds from germinating, so must be used around established plans only, after seedlings have sprouted their second set of leaves.

This granular weed stopper is easily applied and controlled, unlike using sprays and spreaders. Every four to six weeks, simply sprinkle, rake and water it in, following the package instructions.

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Ortho Groundclear Weed & Grass Killer
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Best Fast-Acting Weed Killer for Lawns

Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer

Pros:

  • Kills weeds and grasses within 15 minutes
  • Can be used to spot-treat
  • Can be used any time of year
  • OMRI-listed for organic gardening

Cons:

  • Non-selective herbicide kills any plant it contacts

In lawn areas overrun with weeds, you may prefer to start from scratch with the fast-acting Ortho GroundClear. This scorched-Earth solution works on contact with full results in just 15 minutes, making it one of the best weed killers for lawn when you plan to reseed the grass. Its non-selective herbicide works on all types of weeds and grasses and the handy wand allows you to spot-treat weeds and control overspray. If you have weeds or grass growing in the cracks of your patio or driveway, Ortho GroundClear is a highly effective way to kill it fast. It’s also safe to use in vegetable gardens when applied directly to weeds. Just remember: This stuff kills everything, so be careful.

“Lawn owners wouldn’t want to use this as a true herbicide,” Churchill says. “But it does have a place if they’re trying to totally kill off a stubborn grass within their grass lawn, such as removing bentgrass or Poa trivialis from their bluegrass lawn.”

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Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed
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Best Lawn Weed Killer and Fertilizer Combo

Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed

Pros:

  • Weed killer and fertilizer in one
  • Effectively kills broadleaf weeds
  • Encourages lush lawn growth
  • Convenient granular application
  • Money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Works best when used in spring
  • Won't kill crabgrass

Scotts Turf Builder is a double-duty solution combining one of the best weed killers for lawn with grass fertilizer to eradicate unwanted broadleaf plants while thickening the lawn to crowd out future interlopers. When applied in the spring, it gives your lawn the head start it needs to stay weed-free and lush all season.

This granular formula works on most grass types and comes with a money-back guarantee. Apply it to your Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, bluegrass, centipedegrass, fescue, ryegrass and zoysiagrass to eliminate more than 50 lawn weeds, including dandelion, clover, plantain, morning glory, chicory, evening primrose and purslane. To note: Its active herbicide ingredient, 2,4-D, it not effective on crabgrass.  

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Quinclorac 75 Df Herbicide
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Best Weed Killer for Crabgrass

Quali-Pro Quinclorac 75 DF

Pros:

  • Effective against crabgrass and broadleaf weeds
  • Quick results
  • Won't harm lawn

Cons:

  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a product that controls crabgrass and broadleaf weeds like clover—even in their mature stages—quinclorac 75 DF herbicide should be in your arsenal of the best weed killers for lawn. When the 75% concentration of herbicide quinclorac becomes absorbed by roots and foliage, it disrupts plant growth and causes the annoying weeds to die, often within 10 days of application. Rest assured, it won’t harm the lawn itself.

“I can’t imagine a more effective product,” writes 5-star Amazon reviewer N. Miller. “This stuff should be called Crabgrass Kryptonite.”

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Sedgehammer Plus Turf Herbicide
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Best Lawn Weed Killer for Nutsedge

Sedgehammer+ Turf Herbicide

Pros:

  • Targeted herbicide for nutsedge weeds
  • Convenient pre-measured packet
  • Won’t harm grass

Cons:

  • Repeat applications may be needed

Whether you know it as nutsedge, nutgrass or water grass, this persistent turfgrass weed is a formidable adversary that requires a special battle plan. Sedgehammer+ Turf Herbicide contains 5% halosulfuron-methyl, a selective herbicide that zeros in on those yellow and purple sedges and wipes them out. Each packet covers 1,000 square feet.

Apply to established lawns and ornamental turfgrass as well as landscaped and non-crop areas. When sprayed weekly, it purges your lawn of nutsedge in about a month, with no negative impact on the grass.

How Weed Killers Work

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to lawn weeds, but it helps if you understand a little about how to target them and how the best weed killers for lawn work. First off, you have to decide whether you want to prevent weeds from growing in the first place with a “pre-emergent” weed product that prevents seed germination, or you need kill weeds that have already sprouted with a “post-emergent” weed killer. 

Your timing also matters. Typically, a weed preventer is best applied in early spring before weeds have settled in for the warm season. For best results, follow the instructions on your product of choice and take your region and climate into account.

“A pre-emergent herbicide intended for use to control crabgrass will be applied at a different time than a post-emergent herbicide intended to be used to kill clover or dandelions,” Churchill says. “What’s more, even the timing of a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide will vary by weeks depending on regional climate.”

When it comes to weed killing, you may be better off with a “selective” herbicide specific to the type of lawn you have, as well for the kind of weeds you want to kill. How that works “can get pretty involved and complicated,” Churchill says. In the simplest terms, “the active ingredient in many of them literally accelerate growth, and the weeds grow themselves to death.”

What to Look for When Buying Weed Killers

When deciding which are the best weed killers for lawn, it’s imperative you understand how these products work. If buying online or from big-box stores, be sure to check that the products are suited to your climate, grass and weeds. Keep in mind that “non-selective” herbicides will kill everything in their wake, including your grass. Local nurseries will only sell products intended for use in your region, so when in doubt, pay them a visit.

How We Found the Best Weed Killers for Lawn

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.