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Blog: What's The Active Ingredient In Weed Control? [Full Breakdown]

For avid gardeners and those who love their lawns, finding the right weed killers and other solutions could prove to be a bit of a challenge. Plenty of people like to rely on a product known as 2, 4-D weed killer because it offers impressive results against all kinds of unwanted plants and weeds.

Of course, as with anything, you need to get to know this product and how to use it safely, especially if you have a family and pets. There may be potential risks to some lawn chemicals, too, so that will be a consideration. In this guide, we’ll cover everything that you need to know about 2, 4-D weed killer and whether it’s the right solution for your needs.

 

What is 2, 4-D?

This is an herbicide, or a product designed to kill broadleaf weeds and other plants by changing the way that they grow. Instead of just outright killing the plant, this herbicide actually makes plants grow so uncontrollably that they can’t keep up, causing their ultimate and untimely death.

For science lovers, there is a chemical in this product known as dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, which is much easier called “2, 4-D” for most people. This product has received some bad publicity over the years related to pollution issues, but that’s generally only in cases of over-application when people use too much and it seeps into the ground or nearby water.

First used in the 1940s in the United States, this formula comes in many chemical forms. There are salts, acids, esters, and other products that contain this as a main ingredient to control weeds. Technically, it’s classified as an auxin-type synthetic herbicide and is known as amine 2, 4-D weed killer in most cases.

This weed killer can be used on yards, pastures, gardens, and even on turf and anywhere else that you want to get rid of weeds. It may not work on certain types of “weed” grass-like crabgrass, because that’s technically a grass, but it does a lot for all of the most common weeds that will get in your way. It’s easy to use in any form and is best applied with a fan-type spray via low pressure to provide a full and thorough coating of all the weeds.

This product can be purchased in several forms, including a ready-to-use liquid or concentrated liquids, granules, or dust. For the most part, it will eliminate all the pesky weeds that you’re fighting without worrying about killing the grass. The team at Yard Dawgs Lawn Care will provide expert application of this weed killer for you, saving you the trouble and delivering the weed killing solutions that you need.

 

 

 

What Does It Kill?

2, 4-D weed killer can take care of a variety of plants and weeds that are cluttering up your yard or garden. The list would take quite a bit of space if we were to list everything, but here are some of the most common weeds that will be eliminated by this particular weed killer:


  • Sweet clover
  • Velvetleaf
  • Nettle
  • Virginia creeper
  • Jewelweed
  • Wild parsnip
  • Tumbleweed
  • Red clover
  • Sagebrush
  • Ragweed
  • Wild carrot
  • Pepperweed
  • Coffeeweed
  • Goldenrod
  • Alder
  • Purslane
  • Canada thistle
  • Dandelion
  • Ivy (including poison ivy)

The only grass listed as being able to be killed here is nutgrass, but most people won’t even be dealing with that in their yards and gardens. The best thing that you can do is look at the options when you go to buy weed killer and make sure that you get one that covers a broad spectrum of weeds and plants so that you don’t have to use more than one product.

 

What Doesn’t 2, 4-D Kill?

Some things will not be affected by the use of 2, 4-D weed killer. Along with crabgrass, most grassy weeds will also be immune to this type of weed killer. It’s best to use a post-emergent herbicide to eliminate these weeds for good. This weed killer will not work on things like:

  • Dog fennel
  • Crabgrass
  • Bluegrass
  • Goosegrass
  • Mullein
  • Milkweed
  • Poison oak
  • Wild barleys
  • Watergrass
  • Pineapple weed

Again, you will find the full list of what these products will and won’t work on when you look at the product packaging or the specific manufacturer’s website. Even though these formulas are all similar, some manufacturers have different lists of weeds that will get killed than others. When you choose to work with Yard Dawgs, we’ll make sure that we handle all of your weed killing needs, including those that need something other than 2, 4-D.

 

Which Lawns Can Use This Weed Killer?

While 2, 4-D is safe for most lawns, you do need to make sure that you’re using it in the right ratio so you don’t accidentally cause additional damage. It’s a great product because it’s not toxic to bees and other insects, and it can work anywhere to kill hundreds of different weeds in any space where you want them gone.

Turf lawns like St. Augustine grass are better suited for a different type of product. The chemicals in 2, 4-D have been known to cause damage to these types of grasses, so find one that is safe for the type of lawn that you have first and foremost.

Another caution here is to avoid using this product on dormant grass. That’s because due to the way the weed killer works, it can still cause damage to the grass blades when they’re dormant during the winter and early spring. Make sure that the grass is alive and well, and ready to defend itself before you apply this or any other weed killer.

 

Application, Use, and Other Tips and Insight

This weed killer is best applied in the early spring or fall, as is the case with most herbicides. It can be applied in several ways, but spraying seems to offer the most effective application with the least amount of work. You’ll also want to make sure that your weed killer addresses the types of needs that you have and delivers the results that you want.

As far as the actual application goes, you should always follow the instructions on the container of weed killer that you have purchased. They will typically have plenty of instructions, cautions, and hints readily available to ensure that you get an even application of this herbicide.

This is one of the top three herbicides that are used today and it’s probably one of the most preferred weed killers out there for all the perks that it offers, as well as its one-and-done ability to kill so many types of weeds and pesky ground cover.

You should also wear gloves whenever you’re applying this or other herbicides and chemicals to your lawn and garden. Consider protective clothing and even some safety glasses so that you don’t risk getting the chemicals on your skin or in your eyes.

You’ll want to allow the yard to dry for 6-12 hours once you’ve applied the herbicide. This will give the weed killer time to work and ensure that it soaks in well enough that it doesn’t make your pets or children sick.

And, of course, above all else, you might just want to leave the application of 2, 4-D and other lawn chemicals to the pros, like the team at Yard Dawgs Lawn Care, who know how to do it properly and safely.

 

The Bottom Line

So, despite the risk of potential pollution with overuse, it seems that this particular weed killer is still a popular choice for people today, and rightfully so. 2, 4-D can be applied in the early spring or the late fall and comes in several strengths and forms so that people can get exactly what they need for their lawn. Although it can be applied by anyone, it might be best to leave weed killing and herbicide application to the professionals.

The team at Yard Dawgs Lawn Care is ready to assist with all of your weed killing and other lawncare needs. We will help you determine the best solution for eliminating your weeds for good, and if that’s 2, 4-D, we’ll apply the product safely and effectively to start killing weeds within a matter of hours. To learn more or to get your lawncare project started, contact the pros at Yard Dawgs today.

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