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Understanding Selective Weed Control and Herbicides


When it comes to your lawn no one wants unsightly weeds to mar their hard work. That being said, why put weed killer on your lawn for weeds that are not present or put on weed killer that has the potential to kill other plants? This is where selective weed killers or selective herbicides come into play.

What is a Selective Herbicide?

Put quite simply, a selective herbicide is an herbicide that is specially formulated to attack only certain plants. A selective herbicide is often going to be classified as a post emergent herbicide that is formulated to kill only a specific subset of plants. Instead of something like Roundup that is going to kill all vegetation, these weed killers often target things like grasses and broad leaf weeds, keeping your beautiful lawn safe. 



What Are Non-Selective Herbicides?

Though this is not the focus of this article, it is helpful to know what a non-selective herbicide is as well to be sure you are getting the right herbicide for your needs. A non-selective herbicide is often referred to as broad spectrum. This means that it is going to kill a wide range of plants and is not limited to certain invasive species. Luckily for those that are looking for a particular type of herbicide, these are often labelled as non-selective and are clearly marked.  Some examples would be Glyphosates, Diquats and Triclopyr’s.

Types of Selective Herbicides

There are several different types of selective herbicides that are available for purchase. The first are those that are added to the soil prior to planting. These are called pre-emergent herbicides. These work to prevent unwanted growth of all plants that will germinate from seeds. This type of herbicide is typically used in gardening or in planting crops or food for personal consumption. These are often used several days after planting and it should stop unwanted vegetation from growing, best when also used with a mulch for gardens and flower beds, these are usually applied in spring and fall.  These are any herbicide that is used before weeds appear. This is going to help keep the seedlings from growing and will help keep the soil free of unwanted weeds all together. Already established plants are likely to be safe from this type of herbicide.

Still another type to consider are post-emergence herbicides, which indicate that control is after the weed is already established. These are going to be those that attack plants after they have already sprouted. This is going to be the most common type of herbicide, selective or nonselective, that you will find on the market. These are only effective after the seedlings have already popped up through the soil and begun to grow.

The last type of herbicide to discuss is going to be established stand herbicides. These are used to selectively kill off certain plants that have already developed root systems. This type of herbicide is going to be applied after the seedling has taken root and completely kills the plant. This is perhaps the most selective type of herbicide as the plant must have already taken root for it to be effective.  But can be dangerous if not applied properly because you can kill desirable trees very easily with improper application.

What Makes an Herbicide Selective or Non-Selective?

There are a few different factors that affect the selectiveness of a herbicide. The main factor is of course what ingredients are being used and in what amounts. Some chemicals are more effective at killing certain plants than others and some chemicals kill most plants. When a selective herbicide is formulated the company will add ingredients that target or that are more deadly to a certain subset of plants.


So for example Certainty, this is used in certain types of lawns to kill certain types of broadleaf weeds, and will not harm the lawn when used according to the label and on recommended grass types. 

A great example of this are those weed killers that are meant to kill broad leaf weeds like dandelions but that do not harm grass. These weed killers have higher concentrations of chemicals that target broad leaf weeds than they do other substances. While a selective weed killer is going to have chemicals added in specific ratios to attack specific plants, a broad spectrum or non-selective killer is going to have every compound possible to kill all vegetation.  But even still some of these will work only when they come in contact with the plant leaves so with a little care you can kill the unwanted weeds and not kill the desirables.

No matter what type of weed killer you settle on, it is important to follow manufacturer’s guidelines when applying. This will make sure your application is both safe and effective.  We can assist you in making your yard, and lawn the desire of the entire neighborhood.  With our full line of professional herbicides, selective and non-selective weed  killer, you can be assured the best solution for your weed problems.




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    4.3 7
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