seal  Purdue News

August 8, 2003

Weed whackers: Purdue experts suggest herbicides for home use

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University weed scientists have complied a convenient list of home-use herbicide products on the Web that are readily available to Hoosier homeowners.

Glenn Nice, weed specialist at Purdue, recently took an inventory of home-use products at a local retail garden center. In a table format, Nice offers a list of available weed-control products with a summary of their components at

The components are the ingredients in home-use weed control products that actually kill the unwanted weeds. Some of the most common components in control products include 2, 4-D, which is a low-cost, extensively used broad-leaf killer herbicide; Dicamba, which is a benzoic acid that is active on many weeds; and Dicholorprop and Mecoprop, which are ingredients that are often used in brush control.

"This table is beneficial for homeowners to quickly identify which herbicide may be used to control specific weed or brush problems in the lawn or garden," Nice said.

The products identified in the table are offered in several different concentrations and container sizes. Nice said that, in addition to the products listed in the table, there are many more products on the market available to homeowners.

"In many instances homeowners are just looking for something to squirt on unwanted weeds quickly and efficiently," Nice said.

There are several herbicides specifically labeled for lawn use, he said. Among those available for lawn weed control are All-In-One Weed Killer for Lawns, Green Sweep, Weed-B-Gon RTU ready to use formula mix and Weed Stop Weed Killer for Lawns.

There also are many weed control products labeled specifically for killing grass or weed vegetation growth. Eliminator Weed and Grass Killer RTU, Preen 'n Green and Systemic Grass and Weed Killer can all be used to kill unwanted grass or weeds in gardens and/or flower beds.

For controlling brush infestation problems, Nice recommends using herbicides such as Brush-B-Gone RTU; Weed-B-Gon Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Brush Killer; and Roundup Weed and Grass Killer RTU.

Nice said that mowing, mulches and plastic liners also work to inhibit or stop weed growth, but sometimes a herbicide is the only solution to kill unwanted weeds. In addition to these suggestions, Nice said that certain ornamentals with dense canopies also can be selected to shade out emerging weeds. In a more severe case, a weed management plan, including the use of herbicides should be selected to control weed problems.

Nice recommends that homeowners always read and follow label directions when using herbicides.

"Herbicides are not all labeled the same way, or control the same plants, so one may easily get mixed up during the application process," he said.

Improper application can in many cases injure desired plants. If the injury is extensive enough, herbicides can kill your favorite ornamental or your lawn, said Bill Johnson, weed specialist at Purdue.

Writer: Meggie Issler, (765) 494-8402

Source: Glen Nice, (765) 496-2121,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

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