The Strongest and Best Weed Killer For Your Garden
Before we get into this guide let’s just get something cleared up, there are no such things as “Weeds” a weed is just a name for a plant that is growing somewhere that you don’t want it to grow.
Weed Killers are therefore designed to kill plants, knowing which weeds you want to eliminate will determine which is the best weed killer for you.
It’s important to keep on top of weeds in your garden as they compete with other plants for both space and nutrients.
Up until 2009 Sodium Chlorate was used as a weed killer by gardeners up and down the UK until EU legislation banned it. So what are the ingredients in weed killers available in the UK and what are they used for:
- 2,4-D is an organic compound good for large areas and big lawns.
- Acetic acid is a moss and algae killer (not for use on lawns) also used in garden cleaners
- Boric acid is the safest and mildest of all.
- Clopyralid is a commonly used weed killer for lawn weeds.
- Dichlobenil is a highly-selective weed killer, which is why you can use it for garden beds.
- Ferrous Sulphate plus N works on lawn moss.
- Fluroxypyr works against broadleaf weeds and woody brush.
- Glyphosate is a heavy-duty weed killer, works great on deep rooted perennial weeds. Its a non-selective weed killer.
- Triclopyr is an organic compound that kills woody weeds, fungi and vines such as poison ivy. Its really effective against any broadleaf weeds.
Lets have a look at our top picks for the best weed killer on the market, we have chosen 5 products for you to have a look at.
How To Use Weed Killer Safely
- The use of weed killers should be a last resort, you should aim for good cultivation techniques to keep weeds at bay. Techniques such as mulching, digging and hoeing.
- Choose the right weedkiller for the desired use, some weed killers have been formulated to target specific weeds.
- Always read the label and follow the instructions on Weed killers.
- You should wear protective clothing including protective gloves such as disposable rubber gloves when handling weed killers. Some weed killers can be irritants and cause reactions, avoid contact with eyes and any exposed skin.
- Avoid breathing in sprays.
- Weed Killers should only be used on dry days when no rain is expected for at least the next 6 hours after application.
- Avoid using weed killers on windy days as this will help minimise the effect of wind drift of the spray .
- Children and Pets should be removed from the areas to be sprayed and only allowed to return a few hours after the sprayed area has dried.
- When spraying weeds, you should spray enough that the weed is wet, wet the underneath, stems, buds and upper surface of the leaves without excessive run-off.
- Always thoroughly clean any equipment used after use.
- Only make up enough weed killer that your going in that spraying session.
- All weed killer should be stored safely away from children and pets in their original packaging.
How To Use A Non Selective Weed Killer
How Do Weed Killers Work ?
When we look at household weed killers (herbicides) they work in either one of 3 ways or in a combination of 3 ways which are Hormone Disruption, Stopping Protein Production or Stopping Photosynthesis
Hormone Disruption: Yes, plants do have hormones, and these hormones regulate several functions within plants such as protein synthesis, cell division, respiration and cell enlargement. Hormone Weed Killers such as those containing 2 4-D and triclopyr work by disrupting the normal hormones, basically confusing the plant’s growth system, which in turn will deform and die. Triclopyr is man made and found in
Stopping Photosynthesis: Photosynthesis is the process that all green plants use to convert light into sugars via nutrients from water and carbon dioxide. Weed Killers that have been formulated to work this way basically cause a plant to starve to death, depriving it of its food source.
Stopping Protein Production: The most common method is by the weed killer affecting a plants ability of amino acid synthesis. This is amino acid synthesis is a vital element in a plant’s growth and health, without it, it will die. Glyphosate the chemical found in Gallup and RoundUp works in this way.
Different Types Of Weed Killer Explained
Lawn Weed Killer: Sometimes known as Selective Lawn weed killer, this weed killer has been specifically designed to kill any plant other than Lawns. With these types of weed killers you usually leave the first mowed clippings on the lawn after application. The second and third mowed clippings should be thoroughly composted for a period of no less than 9 months.
Residual Weed Killer: Residual weed killers are also known as soil-acting weed killers, in essence they work by poisoning the ground where the weed killer is applied. Many of these weed killers have been banned from sale due to there potency and time they remain in the soil. They can linger in the soil for months or even years. These types of weed killers are a last resort.
Contact Weed Killer: As the name suggests these types of weed killers only kills the plants or plant parts that it comes into contact with, however they don’t usually kill the root systems of plants, 70% of the time they do actually kill the plant by having weakened it so much.
Systemic Weed Killer: These weed killers are slower to act than the 2 mentioned above, they work by inhibiting hormones or hormone disruption. There taken up by the foliage of plants and then work there way into a plants root system. It can take a couple of weeks before plants are killed off with this type of weed killer.
Which Weed Killer Should You Buy ?
The weed killer you buy for your garden will depend on a number of factors such as:
Types of weeds – What are you trying to eradicate, some weeds are tougher than others, and some have different growth patterns
Location of weeds – Are you trying to rid your lawn of clover? Are you targeting a patch right next to a fence right out of the way? Is it near some lovely beautiful ornamental plants? This will determine your approach.
How big a problem? – Does it need intensive spraying to begin with
Any future plans? – Are you looking to replant or sow the area as soon as possible or in a few weeks or months.
How To Get Rid Of Garden Weeds?
No one likes weeds, we spend so much time tending to our gardens, the last thing we want is some weeds ruining the aesthetics of the beautiful gardens that we passionately create.
Weed Killer is a solution but its now the best solution, believe it or not the best solution is in the prevention of weeds, and how not to allow them to establish themselves in first place.
Prevention is the best cure in this case, its exhausting having to deal with weeds.
Use thick weed control fabric – Thick weed control fabric stops weeds growing by blocking light and not allowing dormant seeds to germinate, whilst still allowing water and air to pass through. Its perfect for use under patio’s, decking, artificial grass and paths.
Mulch – Similar principle control fabric in that by mulching what your doing is blocking out sunlight that would otherwise help seeds to germinate and weeds to grow. The other benefit of mulching is that it actually helps to retain moisture and also provides nutrients back to the soil as it decomposes.
Don’t leave bare soil – You’re just asking for weeds to move in and establish themselves, consider that space a new vegetable garden or a new flower bed instead.
Apply fertiliser regularly – By regularly fertilising your lawn, your helping your lawn to establish a stronger root system and therefore choking out the weeds whilst also improving the condition and look of your lawn. As the grass takes up all the space, there’s no space left for the weeds.
In terms of wildlife protection, there seems to be a pretty similar consensus. There isn’t a lot of concern for mammals and birds – Glyphosate levels won’t rise the level to cause problems for these two groups of animals, but this may not be the case for some other species:
It is very important that you take great precautions not to allow this weed killer to make its way into your pond if you have one or a nearby stream. You could end up killing your fish. It is scientifically proven to prevent aquatic life from developing their embryos. Consequently, you need to be careful not to allow weed killers to enter water sources.
Additionally, these weed killers are poisonous to bees as well; they perturb their guts. For this reason, the use of weed killer in the Winter has its advantages, if you can find a period of dry weather as there are very few bees around. Consider a weed burner, a weed puller, or a hoe first before actually using a weed killer in your garden during spring and summer months first.
Lets move onto some more detailed best weed killers reviews of the above listed products.
The best weed killers available on the UK market:
Read our reviews below on sour selected weed killer below.
Gallop Biograde claims to be one of the strongest weed killers on the market available for home application. The active ingredient in this weed killer is glyphosate and it’s a non-selective, systemic herbicide which means that it will try and kill any weed / plant that it comes into contact with. It’s a systemic weed killer that will get right down to the roots.
This is our pick for the best weed killer, it’s highly concentrated containing Glyphosate 360g per Litre, the strongest that you can buy. You only need to mix 24ml of it with a Litre of water, that means that this 2L product is enough to treat 3332sqm. Useful if you looking to clear a large area of unwanted vegetation.
If your fed up with pulling the weeds out time and time again you’ll be glad to hear that most weeds will be killed off after one single application, there are however some tougher weeds that will require a second application. Some weeds can take up to 4 weeks to show signs of die back, so just wait a few weeks before giving it a second application.
On the bright side children and pets can return to the treated area a couple of hours after it has dried and you can replant or sow seeds on the area that this weed killer was applied to, just 7 days afterwards.
This glyphosate weed killer can get rid of most annual or perennial weeds, including those with a deep, extended root system. If you have Japanese Knotweed then this is the one to get to eradicate it. You can even use it on broadleaf weeds. Its the most effective weed killer you can buy without a professional licence.
This powerful weed killer does have its drawbacks and that is that you can’t use it in low temperatures below 8°C and less effective if being used in temperatures of below 16°C. You will also need to get a separate spray bottle or pressure sprayer so that you can mix up a batch of this weed killer. Don’t use it neat from the container.
Vitax SBK has been formulated specifically not to kill grass whilst other weed killers will, but don’t let that put you off this a heavy duty weedkiller based on Triclopyr as its main ingredient.
This weedkiller will kill tree stumps, nettles, Woodland weeds, hardwood saplings, brambles, thistles and Ivy amongst others. Very effective weed killer against those woody weeds.
It will take a few weeks to see the results but it is highly effective, so you will rarely ever need to apply second application, Vitax is classified as a systemic weed killer.
If you’re looking for a weed killer that gets rid of brush this is it, look no further. If you’re up against the tricky patch of weeds then it is well worth investing in Vitax SBK.
Also tried SBK on a tree stump that I wanted to remove, firstly I drilled some holes into the tree stump that I wanted removing. Once I had drilled all the holes I poured the SBK weedkiller all over the stump ensuring that it soaks into the wholes.
No visible results were seen straight away, after about 2 weeks I noticed that the stump started to change colour and the suckers stared dying back.
After 2 months of applying the SBK, all the suckers had died and no new suckers had started to grow, the stump had changed colour even more and was drying out. So it certainly works when it comes to killing off a tree stump .
This product is supplied in Liquid form and 1L will treat up to 332Am²
We couldn’t compile this list of the best weedkillers without including a weedkiller for all the gardeners out there with lawns.
This is the product if you want to kill those pesky weeds on your lawn, this lawn weed killer will kill dandelions, daisies and clover to name a few.
This weedkiller has been specially formulated not to kill your lawn, it contains Clopyralid and Fluroxypyr as the main ingredients.
Only use this weedkiller on your lawn as it may be ineffective get rid of weeds in your flower beds or elsewhere.
This weedkiller comes in liquid form and 1L will do 667m², it’s not ready to be used straight out of the bottle. You need to mix with water in a sprayer at the correct dilution ratio. This was a pretty straight forward task.
So here we have roundup fast action weed killer, this one’s in our list because it’s a ready to use weed killer based on glyphosate which is what our best choice Gallup Biograde product is based on. However, saying that Roundup is a slightly weaker formulation.
You will see visible results within 1 to 2 days however some weeds can take a few weeks to show any signs of dieback. Therefore, it’s best to wait a few weeks before re-spraying. As with other products on this this RoundUp is a powerful weed killer that can be used on both annual and perennial weeds
This product will allow children and pets to return to the treated areas a couple of hours after it has dried and you can replant flowers or sow seeds seven days after spraying.
Roundup fast action comes in 5 L container which will give you 10 minutes of continuous spraying. How much of an area will this cover? Well we found you do roughly 130m2 to 150m2 depending on how you apply it. One or two bottles will be more than enough for most gardeners out there.
In my opinion the spray nozzle on this one is more for spot aiming weeds rather than a blanket sprayer for large patches. This comes in handy if your looking to target weeds on a driveway or even block paving.
Finally, on our list we have Neudofff Weedfree Plus, if you haven’t had this company don’t worry not many have it’s a German company, however this weed killer does the job and does it well.
You can expect to see results within a couple of hours, this weedkiller worked its magic on algae, mosses, horsetail and ground elder, to name a few.
This weed killer can be applied low temperatures and is hundred percent biodegradable you can use it in your gardens and even on your allotment.
This is an eco-friendly way in killing weeds, this company’s ethos is to create environmentally friendly products which are fully biodegradable using raw sustainable materials. You even call it a natural weed killer, 100% natural ingredients and it won’t harm soil microorganisms.
If your looking for the pet friendly weed killer then this is a great option to choose.
That was the last product in our best weed killer review, if you are looking for an alternative to a commercial weed killer, then why not have a look at our guide on creating DIY Homemade Weed Killer.