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When to Apply Weed Killer?

When to apply weed killer

Weeds still come back, no matter how much you pursue them. Weeds are a challenge for gardeners all over the world, and while we have the choice of using proper fertilization and drainage, many people choose to use a weed killer.

As a result, you must consider when the best time to spray is. What about specific weather conditions or times of the day? There’re also safety concerns and emergence weed killers to consider around your home.

Before we spray, it’s necessary to learn how herbicides work. What causes a sprayed weed killer to kill weeds but not grass or other plants? Weed killers stop weeds from growing by inhibiting protein synthesis or ruining root formation. Herbicides aren’t as harmful to humans as chemicals, but you do need to use care while applying a weed killer.

Seasons to consider when applying a weed killer

While weeds will threaten you at any time of year, you must plan ahead of time to spray weed killer for the best results. Consider different seasons when you can apply a weed killer: 

Spring

Spring is the perfect season to apply weed killer since it is warm, and you may use a pre-emergent to keep weeds from germinating in the early spring. And, eight weeks later, you should add the post-emergent product to kill the tougher weeds when they’re still young.

Summer

If you’re going to spray in summer, make sure it’s at the end of the season. You may experience some issues during the next spring by controlling weeds at the end of the season. You can add a herbicide in the late morning/early afternoon that destroys a number of weeds. In the direct sunlight, the spray can evaporate.

Fall

Since weeds are most susceptible during this season, it’s a perfect time to spray weed killer. Weeds can fail to endure the winter if you spray post-emergent. In October, you could apply 2 treatments, two weeks apart. If they don’t wilt right away, you’ll have to wait until spring to see if the rest of them have gone.

Winter

Weed killers perform well in warm weather, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have them in the winter. Then you should spray during the middle of the day, while the sun is shining. If the chemicals are left to freeze overnight, they can lose their effectiveness.

Temperature to consider when applying a weed killer

Weeds are not only more prevalent during those seasons, but they also have prime hours during the day where they thrive if you don’t keep them under control. How to treat them during: 

Warm climate

When the overnight temperature range is in the low 70’s to 60’s degrees Fahrenheit, it’s safest to use a herbicide. Temperatures could be in the mid-80s F throughout the day.

Cold climate

Spraying weed killer on plants with dew on them is futile since the spray would turn too diluted to be useful. If the earth is frozen or shrouded with snow, harsh winters are often useless. Whether there isn’t any snow and the field isn’t frozen, the perfect moment is in the middle of the day while the sun is shining.

Moderate climate

Since plants are least productive from dusk to sunrise the next morning, spraying in a temperate environment is best done in the late morning/early afternoon.

Weather conditions to consider when applying a weed killer: 

  1. Rain

Spraying a plant after it has rained will dilute the herbicide and reduce its effectiveness, so you should wait at least 24 hours for the plants to dry before spraying. The products that are rainfast after 2-4 hours of spraying should be used if the area receives a lot of rain.

  1. Wind

Spray drift, which occurs when herbicide spreads to other parts of the yard during windy weather and destroys unwanted plants, must be avoided. We can’t spray because the wind is too high, so we have to wait for it to die down, which typically occurs in the morning and evening.

  1. Severe cold or extreme heat

Very hot or cold environments will not work since liquid solutions disappear before applying in high temperatures and freeze in extremely cold temperatures.

Types of different weed killers: how to apply them at the proper time?

Herbicides are recognized either as pre-emergent or post-emergent. Post-emergent herbicides, which may be systemic or non-systemic, are used to control existing weeds. Herbicides that pass through vegetation to the roots are known as systemic herbicides, and they’re most successful while the plants are actively developing.

Plant tissues are damaged by non-systemic herbicides, which can be spread at any time of day. Pre-emergent herbicides may be used at any time of day and are still effective. This herbicide works by forming a chemical membrane in the topsoil that keeps weeds out.

1) When to apply a systemic herbicide

Systemic weed killers are most effective throughout the planting season, and they are ineffective after the weeds have finished growing and gone dormant. The efficacy of systemic herbicides is increased when they are applied at peak plant growth periods during the day. Plant development speeds up and reduces during the day, based on the amount of sun, temperature, and environment.

In warmer climates, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 and higher, the safest hours to apply systemic herbicides in the summer are early morning and late afternoon. In the season, avoid using herbicides during midday or early afternoon. Plant development slows during the midday sun, and herbicides soon dry out on the plants, decreases the quantity of herbicide that weeds absorb.

Weeds also begin to thrive in warm zones throughout the winter. The safest time to administer systemic herbicides during this time of year is in the midst of the day when temperatures are at their maximum.

In moderate or cold climates, systemic herbicides perform well when added late in the morning, midday, or late in the afternoon. Plant development decreases at night and only picks up when the sun rises the next day. Herbicides may run off in strong early morning dew, so add them after the dew has evaporated.

2) When to apply herbicides for broadleaf weeds

Systemic herbicides work their best in specific temperature ranges. Herbicides for broadleaf weeds may affect a wide range of lawn weeds while rarely harming the grass. Such a herbicide will not be useful if the temperature is too cold. Temperatures that are too high can harm turf grass. Pause until the daytime temperature is inside the right range before administering lawn herbicides for broadleaf weeds during cold or hot seasons.

The solutions for broadleaf weeds include dicamba, mecoprop (MCPP), and 2,4-D. The temperature range between 50 and 85 F is ideal. Sit tight until the warmest part of the day to use them in cool/cold climates in the spring or fall. Avoid adding herbicides in the middle of the day in hot weather in the heat, and do it in the early morning or late afternoon.

3) When to apply a pre-emergence herbicide

Pre-emergence herbicides, particularly for summer weeds, may be used on an existing lawn to interrupt the weed life cycle. Benefin and dithiopyr are two forms of pre-emergence herbicides. A weed killer can be sprayed until the weeds sprout, which is typically in the early season. And, 8 weeks after the first spraying, you may reapply the solution.

Use these on existing lawns to try to interrupt the (summer) weeds’ life cycle. You can use them until weeds get a chance to germinate, such as in the early spring, and then repeat the process eight weeks later.

4) When to apply a post-emergence herbicide

Glyphosate is used, and the plant tissues consume it. This weed control method works well on weeds that are still new.

We may use glyphosate as a post-emergence herbicide to kill weeds by accumulating it into plant tissue. When used on young weeds, glyphosate-based products provide the strongest performance.

5) When to apply a lawn weed killer

Weeds may only be killed if they are actively rising. This suggests that the project would begin in April and end in late September/early October.

Many specialists warn against utilizing a lawn weed killer over the lawn in the early spring since there will be numerous plants that won’t appear until later. You just need to find or hand weed in the early spring. Begin weeding your lawn in May for a successful weed kill through a large variety of weeds. If the procedure is to be repeated, there is always time until the harsh weather renders it impossible. Check the weed killer’s mark and see if frequent treatments are permitted.

You’ll get the best out of the weed killer if your grass is well-fertilized. In the spring, fertilizer should be applied in April, and weeds should be eradicated by the end of May or the beginning of June. Wait 7-10 days till weed spraying in the fall.

Most specialists advocate using two separate weed killers with specific active compounds with a period of two drugs per year. Furthermore, to get rid of existing weeds, you are to treat this frequently only in the first and probably the second year.

FAQ

Why do most people prefer applying a weed killer in late August or early September?

Late August or September, while there is still some warmth around, is one of the gardener’s favorite times for full lawn weed control. If you only need one application per year, this is the time period to consider.

Why and how to apply a weed killer in late August: 

  • Most weeds are already grown completely;
  • The spring seeds in the lawn are already germinated by this time;
  • Easier to kill than winter-hardened weeds in early spring;
  • The lawn should be fertilized (one or two weeks prior to the use) before the application to improve its effect;
  • When there is moisture in the topsoil. Otherwise, you may harm the grass;
  • When it is going to rain for 6 hours;
  • Wet grass may dilute the weed killer, so apply only on dry grass;
  • It is recommended to apply only in calm weather. Otherwise, wind may blow the substance away;
  • Do not spread the weed killer in freezing conditions;
  • Avoid extreme heat and strong sunshine;
  • During the late summer, it is better to use a weed killer in the cooler evenings;
  • Consider applying a weed killer after mowing. You should wait for 2 days if you intend to apply a liquid herbicide. After the application, do not mow for the next 3 days;

How to determine the best conditions when using a new weed killer?

Weed killers’ efficacy is affected by the season as well as shifting environmental factors.

When using a weed killer, keep in mind the varying seasons and the quantity of water in the soil.

It’s safer to use a herbicide when there’s a reasonable risk of rain for at least 6 hours.

The herbicide should not be diluted by rain. When the herbicide is picked up by the plant, it would be less successful.

How to apply a weed killer in calm and mild weather?

The spray may be blown away from the targeted location by a gust of wind. It is better to work on a calmer day so you can focus on a certain region. Mild weather is preferable to harsh sunlight, snow, or low temperatures.

How to apply a weed killer in extreme hot and cold weather conditions?

Weed killers are more effective in hot weather than in cold weather, but all are challenging. Weed toughness and growth are encouraged by hot, dry weather, which limits herbicide movement through and across the plant. Herbicide-based products would be less successful in hot weather, which is why you may target weeds in the spring or autumn.

Cold weather is also inconvenient because the herbicides are broken down by plants’ metabolism. Plant metabolism, on the other side, slows down in cold weather. As a result, the period it requires the plant to respond to the herbicide and be destroyed is prolonged.

Final thoughts

Spring and fall are the best times to apply a weed killer. The explanation for this is that we can do so in mild climates rather than very hot or cold temperatures so the substance dissolves or freezes. Early in the spring, spray a weed killer, and repeat 8 weeks later. It’s even possible to do it in the autumn, with October being the perfect month for preventing weeds from surviving the winter. In that month, 2 treatments spaced two weeks apart would provide the best results.