Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Weeds grow even with good garden care and can hardly be prevented. Although conventional weeding temporarily eliminates the weeds, many residues remain in the soil that are not always visible. As a result, it constantly comes back, especially in larger lawns. All the time spent and the physical strain sometimes steal one's nerves.

As an alternative to ploughing, weed killers or also called herbicides have proved successful for many gardeners. But be careful: If you want to use weed killers, you should inform yourself well about the mode of action, ingredients and approval beforehand. For a product comparison, we have compared different weed killers and worked out the most important criteria.




Summary

  • Vinegar and salt as weed killers are inadmissible
  • Important purchase criteria for use are the areas of application, the application time, the approval as well as the effectiveness time.
  • Weed killers are available in different price ranges. High-quality weed killers are mainly found in the middle price range and above.

The Best Weed Killer: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for weed killers

In order to find the optimal weed killer for use, we have worked out some buying criteria.

So that you know exactly what to look for when buying a weed killer, we have listed the most important buying criteria below:

Areas of application

The areas of application of weed killers differ only slightly. The most common application is in the garden. It is also important that you always pay attention to the environment of your garden. For example, if your garden is close to a body of water or a river, the active ingredients of the weed killer could be transferred to it.

It is also important to know how much garden or lawn area is to be treated with the weed killer. In general, weed killer is mostly used on lawns in addition to garden plants. On the whole, weed killer is used on agricultural and forestry areas as well as gardens.

Active ingredient or time of action

There are differences in the mode and time of action of weed killers. Basically, lawn weed killers can be divided into three variants. These include chemical, mechanical and biological weed killers.

Some weed killers only work on weeds. Others, however, destroy everything they come into contact with.

The active ingredient is absorbed through the leaves and spreads to the roots. Thus the weeds slowly die out. However, the active ingredient should not be applied in the same place for years, as the soil may show certain resistance. This makes the weed killer ineffective.

The effect after application should start about 120 minutes. Weedkiller is most successful when it sticks to the weeds for 1-2 days. The weeds should then stay away for at least several weeks to several months.

Application time

With weed killers it is important that you pay attention to the application time. The months in which the individual products should be used are usually listed here. Application can begin as early as spring and continue into autumn, i.e. from March to October.

The weed killer should not be used at temperatures below 15 degrees. However, there are weed killers that can be used below 15 degrees. To achieve success in the garden, the application should not be carried out in the rain; the active ingredient is diluted by rain.

Approval

In general, the use of weed killers in the garden is prohibited according to the public plant protection ordinance. Nevertheless, some weed killers may be used that have a permit.

But there is a clear ban on treatment around paving stones and paving stone joints. Regardless of the active ingredient, the application of weed killers on sealed surfaces, paved paths, terraces, pavements and garage driveways is prohibited.

Furthermore, this also applies to embankments, green strips in front of the garden fence and gravel areas. Anyone who demonstrably violates the ban, usually by taking soil samples, will be fined. According to the law, the full penalty amounts to 50,000 euros.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about weed killers answered in detail

We have then worked out the most frequently asked questions on the subject of weed killers for you and answered them in detail.

What should I bear in mind when using weed killers?

When using weed killers, make sure that only the weeds come into direct contact with them. Before use, most weed killers should be diluted with plenty of water, as they are concentrates. Such information should be taken from the instruction manual, as there are differences depending on the weed killer.

Unkrautvernichter

Weeds are often considered a nuisance and an undesirable side effect in the home garden. (Image source: Kristina Paukshtite/ Pexels)

If possible, the skin or eyes should not come into contact with the weed killer, as otherwise irritation can occur. In general, it is important to be careful when using weed killers. It is also advisable to wear gloves and protective goggles when using the product.

Most weed killers are labelled with symbols to indicate prohibitions and prohibitions. You should always follow these instructions.

What are the different weed killers?

There are weed killers on the market as concentrates or ready-mixes as well as those that work with gas or electricity. The ingredient is responsible for the treatment of the specific weeds. The most common weed killers contain dicamba and mecoprop or pelargonic acid as active ingredients.

There are also weed killers that are biodegradable, but most are not. This is rather bad for our environment, as the active ingredients change the soil properties.

Nowadays, many weed killers are harmless to bees. But this is not true for all of them. The weed killers that are now illegal or can only be purchased with a certificate of competence are indeed easy to buy, but should not be used under any circumstances. You can usually recognise them by the presence of the ingredient glyphosate.

How much does a weed killer cost?

The price of a weed killer is mainly determined by the quantity and the areas of application. The prices can range from low to high. The following table will give you an overview.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (4 - 15 €) Mostly small quantities, few functions
Medium-priced (15 - 25 €) Usually larger quantities (concentrate), predominantly application on the lawn
High-priced (from 25 €) Mostly a large quantity, for special applications

How can I make weed killer myself?

A very common method: If you want to remove the annoying green stuff, you often resort to an old household remedy, such as vinegar and salt. But you should know that these remedies, despite their successful effect against weeds, must not be used. On the one hand, it is not good for the soil and can damage it. On the other hand, the use of vinegar and/or salt as plant protection products is not permitted, as both are considered foodstuffs.

A somewhat more elaborate way to make a weed killer is nettle liquid manure. To make it, you need to collect a sack full of nettles. Then put these nettles in a larger container (bucket) and fill it up with water. Place this mixture in a place with a lot of sunlight. After about two weeks, the fermentation process is finished. In the meantime, you should stir the mixture.

Now you have to pour off the resulting slurry. For use, you should mix the highly concentrated mixture with water. This corresponds to about ½ litre of mixture to 5 litres of water.

Conclusion

If you do not want to do a lot of work and are still looking for an effective method against weeds, you can fall back on the popular weed killer. However, you should always keep in mind the purchase criteria such as application time, effectiveness time, areas of application and approval. You can find high-quality and effective weed killers from a medium price range.

The term "weed" sounds very negative, but not everything that is included has to be destroyed. The term also includes plants that are healthy and useful. Example: If you want to try something new, you can make a delicious salad from dandelion leaves.

Other healthy and edible weeds are: Yarrow, buttonwort, ribwort, goutweed, sorrel. Maybe there is one or the other for you.

(Cover photo: Dmitry Trubitsyn / 123rf)

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