Herbicides – Which is Right for Your Lawn?

Weeds are a bane to most Florida homeowners. They’re persistent and can take a lot of your time and effort to eliminate. Some choose to deadhead them before they go to seed with a weed whacker, while others pull them up by hand. Both of these methods, while they can be effective, are time-consuming and not guaranteed to get rid of all the weeds. Your third option to fight back against unwanted plants in your landscape are herbicides, which can effectively control weeds while saving you time and energy.

However, when you look for herbicides, you’re met with a seemingly endless amount of choices. Learn about what differentiates various herbicides to choose the one that’s best for your lawn.

Application Time

An herbicide will either be made for pre-emergent or post-emergent weeds. Pre-emergent weed-killers are applied as a preventative weed control, reaching and killing the seeds of unwanted species before they become visible aboveground. This type of herbicide will deter your lawn or garden from getting weeds in the first place, before they establish root systems. Alternatively, post-emergent herbicides are applied to the foliage of weeds that are already grown.


Some herbicides are created to be selective, so that they only treat specific weeds while preserving beneficial plants that you don’t want harmed. This type of herbicide is perfect for application over your lawn or in densely-planted gardens where it’s difficult to avoid hitting your plants. Non-selective herbicides, as you may guess, will affect whatever plants you apply them to. Be careful and direct when you use these herbicides. They’re best applied in areas where you have multiple species of weeds that you can easily target, like in a mulched area or spread-out garden bed.

Control Method

Herbicides are either contact killers or systemic killers. Like their name implies, contact herbicides affect the plant wherever they touch it. They will cause the vegetation to burn and shrivel within the next hours to days of application. Most annual weeds such as crabgrass and nettle are effectively controlled with contact herbicides. Systemic herbicides are applied to the foliage of weeds, then absorbed and translocated within the plant to the stem and roots. This will kill the weeds via dehydration and lack of nutrients over the span of a couple weeks. Systemic herbicides work well for weeds that have extensive, pervasive root systems, or ones that easily bounce back when their foliage is harmed.

Persistence in Soil

The persistence of an herbicide refers to how long it remains in the soil. Long-lasting herbicides allow you to only need to apply them once in a while. These types are usually non-selective, and will prevent the germination and growth of any vegetation; thus, they’re ideal for treating the areas in-between pavers or along fence lines. However, avoid applying them in garden beds where you frequently are growing new plants. For gardens, short-term herbicides work much better. Though they need to be applied more often, they’ll leave the system quickly enough that they won’t hinder the germination of new crop seeds.

Browse our large selection of herbicides here at Big Earth Landscape Supply to find the perfect treatment for your lawn and garden.