Every homeowner will, at some point, battle weeds growing on their lawn or in their garden beds. Weeds are particularly troublesome because they multiply and rapidly take over your lawn. Weeds are unsightly and, in some cases, can deprive your lawn of the nutrients it needs and end up killing your grass. You can pull weeds out by hand if you have a small weed problem, but anything more significant requires a weed killer or professional lawn care service.
Our experts put a ton of time and effort into finding the top lawn care services, and we’ve determined that TruGreen is the best. TruGreen can apply a fertilizer that promotes grass growth while starving weeds of nutrients, and it can use targeted weed killers to eradicate even the worst weed infestation.
Types of Weeds
Most homeowners will find three primary types of weeds on their properties. We’ll discuss each of these below and include some examples to help you identify which weed you’re up against.
1. Broadleaf Weeds
As the name implies, broadleaf weeds have wide leaves, making them easily distinguishable from the grass around them. Some of the more prevalent broadleaf weeds flower and can sometimes be mistaken for non-invasive wildflower species. Most broadleaf weeds thrive in nutrient-deprived soil, so a lack of proper fertilization often leads to these weeds taking up home on your lawn.
Examples of broadleaf weeds you’re likely to encounter on your property include dandelions, oxalis, white clover, ground ivy, thistle, chickweed, henbit, poison ivy, poison oak, and dollarweed.
2. Grassy Weeds
Grassy weeds look like grass blades in that they have long, thin leaves that grow individually. Many homeowners fail to notice grassy weed infestation until the weed has taken over a large portion of their lawns. Grassy weeds often take root on your property because of overwatering or compacted soil, but mowing your grass too low can also invite them in.
Some examples of prevalent grassy weed species include crabgrass, foxtail, quackgrass, and goosegrass.
3. Grass-Like Weeds
Grass-like weeds are similar in appearance to some grass species, but each leaf forms a tube-like structure rather than a flat blade. Grass-like weeds often stick out more than grassy weeds, so you’re more likely to be able to stop an infestation before it gets out of hand. Grass-like weeds thrive in compacted soil, cut too short grass, and overwatered lawns.
Some grass-like weeds you might be familiar with are wild onion, garlic, and nutsedge or nutgrass.
Applying Weed Killer
Most homeowners can apply weed killer themselves and save money on labor costs if they know how to use it properly. First, choosing a weed killer is crucial, as different products work for various weeds and situations. Aim to use pre-emergent herbicides only to prevent sprouting and post-emergent products on established weeds. Use selective weed killers for weeds surrounded by grass and non-selective options for weeds on patios, stoops, sidewalks, or driveways.
Once you choose the right weed killer, you’ll need to apply it to your lawn at the right time. Try to avoid applying weed killer to freshly cut grass, as this can add undue stress to your lawn and end up damaging it. You’ll also need to time weed killer application with the weather. Ideally, you want relatively dry conditions for a day or two after using it to prevent it from washing away. You’ll also want to avoid applying it in the blazing sun, or excessive heat can burn your grass.
If you’re using a liquid weed killer, make sure to read the container and dilute it according to the instructions before spraying it on your lawn with a garden sprayer. Granular weed killers will require a garden spreader, so make sure to purchase one alongside your product if you don’t already have one.
Best Weed Killers of 2023
Finding the best weed killer for the job is crucial, as the wrong one could destroy your lawn, be a waste of time and money, or be harmful to the environment. Below are some of the best weed killers available for residential use.
1. RoundUp Ready-to-Use Weed & Grass Killer III
Weed and feed is a fast-acting, ready-to-spray weed killer that comes in a no-mix formula and in a container with a motorized sprayer for easy, straightforward application. It works rapidly on established weeds and grass, so you should only plan to use it where you don’t want it to grow. It contains glyphosate and pelargonic acid, designed to kill the entire weed, including the root. This is best for spot treatments on patios, driveways, sidewalks, or flower beds.
2. The Andersons Barricade Professional-Grade Granular Pre-Emergent Weed Control
This is a granular, pre-emergent weed preventer, meaning it should solely be used as a preventative measure and not to treat existing weeds. It’s a popular option for a crabgrass preventer. This product contains prodiamine, which prevents more than 30 broadleaf and grassy weed species. It’s best to use early spring to prevent weed growth throughout the spring and summer. You can spread the granules with a garden spreader for optimal coverage.
3. Compare-N-Save Concentrate Grass & Weed Killer
This is a liquid weed killer that needs to be diluted before use. The container delivers an impressive 85 gallons of weed killer, but it’s crucial to mix properly for the correct formulation. This product contains glyphosate, which is best used as a spot treatment for established weeds. This product will kill over 175 species of weeds, but it also destroys grass. Make sure only to use this on sidewalks, patios, or other areas where you want to impede all plant growth. This solution becomes rainproof in about two hours, so it’s convenient to use in rainy regions.
4. Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed
This is a popular option for crabgrass control that also thickens your lawn with fertilizer, further preventing weed growth. It contains two herbicides: 2,4-D and Mecoprop-p. This weed killer is best used on your entire yard to kill weeds and help prevent future infestations. Many homeowners love this crabgrass killer because it’s a one-step approach to getting rid of weeds and making your grass more beautiful.
5. Southern Ag 2, 4D Amine Weed Killer
This selective weed killer is explicitly designed to provide broadleaf weed control. The active ingredient is 2,4-D, which won’t kill grass and is formulated to protect St. Augustine grass. As such, you can spray this liquid weed killer over your entire lawn with a garden sprayer to kill existing weeds. The bottle contains enough liquid to treat about an acre of property, but you will need to dilute this before applying. This product only kills clover, dandelions, and other broadleaf weeds as a selective weed killer.
Best Professional Lawn Care: TruGreen
If you instead want to opt for professional lawn care to make your weed killing truly effortless and highly effective, TruGreen is one of the best companies you can choose. TruGreen has many different service plans available, including targeted weed killer applications, fertilization, pest control applications, and additional services to beautify your property further.
TruGreen’s technicians are highly trained and knowledgeable, and they use soil tests and science to determine the best products for your property. The company has a massive service area spanning all continental states, and it provides weeding services at a very affordable rate, especially for the quality. Check out TruGreen’s plans today to see which is right for you and your home.
To learn more: TruGreen Review
Best DIY Lawn Care Service: Sunday Lawn Care
Sunday Lawn Care offers a customized blend of professional services and affordable DIY solutions. Rather than completing the work for you, they ask for a soil sample to complete a test and then recommend and send you natural lawn care products tailored to your exact needs. The products include fertilizers, weed killers, pest control applications, and more, depending on your property, and they’re all kid- and pet-safe.
Sunday Lawn Care requires you to put in the work to keep weeds off of your property and your lawn looking lush and green, but you’ll also save on labor costs by choosing this DIY and professional service hybrid. Take a look at Sunday Lawn Care’s plans to see if they appeal more to your needs.
To Learn More: Sunday Lawn Care Review
Best Ways to Prevent Weeds
While treating weeds might be necessary from time to time, it’s much more cost-effective and safer for the environment to prevent them altogether. Weeds thrive in specific environments, so the tips below will help naturally keep weeds at bay.
Opt for Infrequent and Deep Watering
Many weed species pop up when you overwater your lawn, which most homeowners end up doing because they only do shallow watering. When only the surface of the soil stays moist or wet, your deeply-rooted grass might not have the water it needs to thrive, but shallow weeds have all they need to start popping up. Instead, water your lawn once a week or so, and make sure to run the sprinkler long enough to get moisture deep into the earth.
Mow at a Higher Setting
Weeds thrive when they have minimal competition, which is why setting your mower to a higher blade height can help prevent weeds. Leaving your grass at two to three inches at all times will make it healthier, thereby making it harder for weeds to settle in and take over.
Regularly Feed Your Lawn
For a similar reason, fertilizing your lawn and maintaining a proper pH balance with amendments can help prevent weeds. First, fertilizing and balancing will keep your grass strong and healthy, creating immense competition for weeds. Second, many weeds grow in nutrient-deprived soil, so simple fertilization can make the soil sterile for many species.
Weeds are the bane of many homeowners’ existence. They can be ultimately frustrating when they pop up and downright depressing when they overtake your lawn and start killing your otherwise beautiful grass. Many homeowners opt for weed killers to eradicate established weeds and prevent new ones from growing. Choosing the right weed killer and applying it appropriately can once again return natural beauty to your property and provide you with some peace of mind.
If you’d prefer to hand over the reins to a professional lawn care company, TruGreen is one of the best options. It takes the stress away from you so that you don’t have to worry about damaging your lawn or harming the environment, and it’s an affordable solution for visible results. The technicians are well-trained and knowledgeable, so they’ll very likely be able to solve your problem and make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is weed killer natural/organic?
Some weed killers are natural and organic, while others contain synthetic chemicals and compounds. If you’re concerned about the environment but still want to eradicate weeds on your property, you can infrequently add natural fertilizer and water to keep weeds at bay.
Is weed killer pet safe?
Some — but not all — weed killers are safe to use on lawns or in areas frequented by children or pets. Other toxic options should never be used where kids or pets might play. It’s crucial to understand the safety information for any weed killer you use and only use natural, organic, and kid- and pet-safe products when needed.
Is weed killer safe for my garden?
Some weed killers are safe for your garden, while others will kill any plant they are applied to. You’ll want to look at the product container to see if it is labeled as safe to use in garden beds. Alternatively, choose a selective weed killer that only targets certain weed species rather than a non-selective herbicide — like dicamba — that will eradicate any plant species.
Can I apply weed killer myself?
Yes, absolutely. Many weed killers are available to homeowners. Provided you follow the instructions and choose the correct one for your species, you should be able to kill off weeds without damaging your lawn or other plants.
Beware that some weed killers will also kill bluegrass, fescue, bentgrass, bermudagrass, ryegrass, or other individual species.
Many homeowners opt for professional lawn care services — like TruGreen — for an easier and safer solution to weed infestation.
Today's Homeowner Rating & Methodology
At Today's Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
- Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
- Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
- Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
- Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
- Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
- Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
- Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.