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Broadleaf Weed Control for Homeowners

Broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion, clover, and creeping Charlie, are undesirable in turf because of the obvious differences in leaf shape, growth habit, and flower shape and color. Chemical control of these weeds is most often accomplished with post-emergence herbicides, which are systemic (that is, the herbicides are absorbed by plant organs and translocated throughout the weed). Thus, weeds must be actively growing for these materials to be effective.

Postemergence broadleaf weed herbicides found in garden centers typically include mecoprop (MCPP), dicamba, and 2,4-D. Two- and three-way combinations are available. Additional herbicides are available to commercial landscape services for use on lawns.

When using any chemical pest control, be sure to read, understand, and follow the label directions for proper use. If mishandled or misapplied, post-emergence broadleaf herbicides may damage or kill many desirable ornamental or edible plants in the landscape.

Keep in mind the following general guidelines for using broadleaf herbicides on lawns.
  • Avoid use on windy days because these herbicides can damage many landscape and garden plants if they drift.
  • Do not apply them on hot days (over 85F) or during periods when weeds are stressed by heat or drought.
  • Its best to have adequate soil moisture, but no rain for 24 hours after application.
  • Do not mow turf for a few days before and after application.
  • Consider spot treating weeds rather than broadcasting weed killer over the entire area.
  • Use caution on newly seeded areas; wait four mowings before treating a newly seeded lawn and wait 30 days before seeding an area treated with broadleaf herbicides.
  • Refer to the label for information about any potential hazards when using weed control products (such as dicamba) on lawns over tree and shrub roots.

Author: Tom Voigt


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