Best weed killers for a tidy garden
Weed killers are an essential part of gardening. Whether you opt for a chemical systemic weed killer or like to roll up your sleeves and dig up those weeds yourself, it’s an important task. Without a weed killer, your carefully nurtured chosen garden plants will suffer.
At Gardeners Dream, our horticulturalists have tried a great number of weed killer products, from lawn weed killers to organic weed killers. We have rounded up our favourite and most powerful weed killer products into one list, so you can take care of your garden just like the experts do. Learn more about how to select and apply weed killer in our guide below, and reach out to us for further advice.
5 Best weed killer products at Gardeners Dream
These are the selective weed killers that our professionals personally use. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like some personal advice on how to deal with a weed infestation.
- Active ingredient: Glyphosate
- Best for: Most garden-variety weeds
This weed killer by Gallup is a best-seller at Gardeners Dream! As a professional product, it’s intended for use by qualified gardeners, enabling them to power through weeds in any garden setting.
This is a fast-acting and non-selective weed killer that is effective on grass-like weeds and broadleaf weeds. It works by killing weeds through the root system. It’s a very effective weed killer once absorbed.
Gallup Weed Killer will kill grass as well as annual and perennial weeds, as it’s very potent. Use glyphosate-based weed killers for clearing mass amounts of garden weeds and make sure the weed killer stays within that area. If it is blown or seeps away into your lawn or flowerbeds, it will kill plants indiscriminately!
- Active ingredient: Glyphosate
- Best for: Pesky weeds in their growth period
Our second best-seller is one of the strongest weed killers… yet it’s actually a non-hazardous formula! It’s one of our glyphosate non-selective weed killers that is from a trusted brand – Rosate. This formula contains 360g of glyphosate per litre, and might most other weed killers it needs to be diluted for use. That’s part of why it’s so important to carefully follow the directions for the use of each product.
The Rosate 360 TF formula is recommended for use between March and September when any weeds will be in their growth period. Again, it won’t target specific weeds, so be careful where you spray this solution as it may kill other plants in its path.
It works very effectively on tougher weeds – just let the solution get to work and don’t be tempted to increase the concentration or re-spray the pesky plants.
- Active ingredient: Glyphosate
- Best for: Tough weeds and hardier plants
For getting rid of the toughest unwanted vegetation, we recommend Monsanto’s Roundup ProActive 360. This is the best weed killer for those deep-rooted weeds that a natural weed killer cannot reach.
It’s another glyphosate formula that targets all weed types, including broadleaf varieties of lawn weeds and grasses too. It will eliminate weeds from your garden, so long as they have germinated and are growing. Absorbed through the roots, it attacks the plant’s growth system to kill the plant’s life.
The 5-litre bottle of this concentrated weed killer will cover a total of 10,000m² if used at the minimum requirements.
This is hands-down the best weed killer for any persistent weeds that grow near an aquatic body (e.g. a garden pond) or a forest area. Gallup Biograde Amenity is designed to attack weeds without damaging aquatic life or tree stumps. The formula biodegrades in the soil microorganisms, so the weed killer won’t linger to kill brambles or harm wildlife, for example.
- Active ingredient: Glyphosate
- Best for: Weeds near aquatic areas and forests
Applied to bare soil, it will be absorbed by the roots of the plant like all glyphosate-based weed killers. Approximately 2 weeks after applying this weed killer, you’ll notice the weeds wilting before ultimately dying. It’s one of the strongest weed-killer solutions that can control weeds without harming the environment.
Once the weed killer has finished killing plants, it will biodegrade in the soil to become harmless natural substances that won’t be harmful to any new vegetables, flowers or other plants that are grown in that area.
- Active ingredient: Glyphosate
- Best for: Weeds across your garden and flower beds
Like most weed killers at Gardeners Dream, this is a glyphosate-based weed killer that’s “clean label” meaning that it is free of hazardous symbols that trigger HAZMAT standards. It is our last best weed killer for grasses and large-leaf weeds.
It’s best for use on solo weeds in a large area. For example, between patio stones or across a large vegetable patch. Using it as a lawn weed killer may damage your grass a little before it degrades into harmless substances in the soil.
Apply it directly to woody weeds for targeted weed killing, or use a spray nozzle and pressure sprayer to apply it to a larger area covered with unwanted plants.
Gardeners Dream guide to weed killers
If you are new to using professional weed killers and want to learn more about them, don’t hesitate to get in touch. From finding a moss killer to preventing damage to artificial grass, our gardening experts know the top weed killers that will help.
Types of weed killers
There are multiple types of weed killers. Most weeds can be removed with any weed killer, but more persistent weeds will need the best weed killer from our list above.
Chemical weed killers
A chemical weed killer, as the name suggests, is made with chemicals. This refers to commercial chemicals rather than standard household chemicals. For example, NaCl is a chemical formula and a substance that can be effective at killing weeds. But you probably know it better than table salt and wouldn’t call it a chemical in day-to-day conversation.
Common commercial chemicals used in weed killer solutions include:
- Glyphosate – heavy duty and highly effective, it’s in every best weed killer product at Gardeners Dream.
- Fluroxypyr – used as a selective weed killer for lawns. It’s a key ingredient in Weedol lawn weed killer.
- Clopyralid – also used for lawns, but not as frequently as fluroxypyr.
- Dichlobenil is highly selective and great for flowerbeds and densely planted areas, but it’s not the most effective.
You can also find organic compounds in numerous weed killers, such as triclopyr which is excellent for vines and even fungus weeds. You may also have heard of acetic acid which is ideal for moss, and 2,4-D for clearing large areas.
Conventional weed killers can work in three different ways (residual, contact, systemic) and be either selective or non-selective.
Residual weed killers
Residual is the best weed killer for areas where no other plants should ever grow, for example between the slabs, stones or bricks of a walkway. This is because residual weed killer operates by soaking into the soil and effectively poisoning it.
Any plant that attempts to grow in the area where you’ve applied the residual weed killer will not have much success! Residual weed killers often work by preventing photosynthesis or germination.
As residual-type weed killers are so potent and will target any plant they come across, you should take extreme caution before using them near flower beds or other garden plants. The effects can remain in the soil for months.
Contact weed killers
Contact types are the best weed killer for hardy perennials and target a single weed in an area that’s otherwise weed-free. These weed killer work by only affecting the plant they are applied to, above the soil. Instead of being absorbed by the root, you could spray this killer onto the weeds directly. Resolva Weed Killer is a good example of a contact weed killer.
If you have weeds in very close proximity to other plants, contact weed killers allow you to be more precise with weed removal. Furthermore, many contact-type weed killers are selective – learn more about this below.
If you need to clear a larger area of weeds, a non-selective contact weed killer enables you to remove the weeds without contaminating the soil. We still recommend thoroughly removing all the weeds and any trace of herbicide before planting anything new in that spot, however.
Systemic weed killer
Systemic weed killers leave bare soil ready for planting in just a few weeks! This is because these formulas are absorbed by the leaves of the plant and prevent growth by altering hormones. The weed dies in a matter of weeks.
All you need to do once the systemic weed killer has worked is remove the dead weed and get ready to plant something new here!
You can use systemic-type weed killers in wet or dry weather. You can also use it on lawns, as it shouldn’t spread or damage your grass lawn.
Selective weed killers
Selective is fairly self-explanatory – it means that the weed killer is selective about the type of plant it will kill. Most lawn weed killers are selective, as they will remove weeds such as dandelion without damaging the grass at all… even if a little is accidentally applied to the grass.
Non-selective weed killers are sometimes more effective, but harder to control. We wouldn’t recommend applying non-selective formulas to areas where many carefully selected plants are grown.
Physical weed remover
If you want to avoid chemicals altogether, you can always choose a manual weed remover! The simplest method is to pick up your trowel and a bucket, and then get to work. This is effective for weeding small areas. As long as you remove the entirety of the plant, including the root network, it will solve your weed problem.
You may also be able to find devices for removing weeds, almost like litter pickers, that enable you to remove weeds without sacrificing your back in the process.
At Gardeners Dream, we recommend using an effective chemical weed killer for the best results but mulching can be very effective, for example. Explore our Gardening Tools next.
Weed preventive care
There are also ways that you can prevent weeds from emerging. Chemical herbicides can undoubtedly be used, especially if you want to keep an area free of plant life entirely. Other physical barriers that can be used include applying woodchips to the soil around your plants – this could prevent seeds from drifting in and taking hold.
For flowerbeds, it may also be worth hedging the beds with a wall or barrier to literally stop weeds from creeping in from other areas of your garden.
How to use weed killers effectively
To use weed killers effectively, you should:
- Follow our tips below to choose the right weed killer,
- Wait until the weeds are in a growing phase (starting in springtime),
- Wait for a dry day with minimal wind, so the weather won’t instantly wash away or displace the weed killer,
- Read the instructions from beginning to end, including all the warnings on the bottle,
- Wear protective gear, including goggles, a face mask, and gloves before touching the product,
- Keep pets and children away from the area while you apply the product and afterwards,
- Remove and thoroughly clean your clothes and protective gear after use,
- Store the weed killer somewhere safe and dry where it won’t be tampered with.
Tips for choosing the right weed killer
When you are deciding which weed killer you need, think carefully about the number of weeds, the area that needs weeding, and other plants that are in the general vicinity. Choose a weed killer that will definitely kill the weeds you’ve identified, whether they’re broad leaves, grasses, or very woody and hardy weeds.
You should also think carefully about the area where the weed killer will be applied. Choosing a selective weed killer or bio weed killer that won’t harm the environment and wildlife around the area may be advantageous.
What is the strongest thing to kill weeds?
The strongest and fastest way to remove a weed is simply to pull it up from the earth manually. For larger areas, the strongest substance would be a non-selective residual or systemic weed killer that kills all plants in the vicinity within a few weeks. Glyphosate is a good choice.
What kills weeds permanently?
To kill a weed permanently, you need to kill and remove all parts of the plant including the roots. A residual weed killer will also linger in the soil, preventing the weed from re-growing or new weeds from emerging.
What is the most effective weedkiller?
At Gardeners Dream, we recommend a glyphosate-based weed killer. To be highly effective, weed killers need to be applied correctly to the plant and/or the soil. Read our tips above to learn how to correctly use a chemical weed killer for the best results.
How do residual weed killers work?
Residual weed killers soak into the soil and make it uninhabitable for weeds and other plants too. Residual formulas poison the soil unselectively, so any plant that tries to grow there in the future will be unsuccessful. This is a good choice for areas where plants are undesirable, like on your gravel drive or between the slabs of a pathway.
How do I use lawn weed killers?
Lawn weed killers are nearly always selective, which means that they will target weeds without harming your grass. Nonetheless, the best way to use this weed killer is to spray it directly on weeds rather than your entire lawn! It will kill the weeds over a number of weeks so they can be removed for a spotless property.