Weedkillers are chemicals specifically designed to control common garden weeds. They are manufactured according to very strict rules and regulations, and each will differ depending on their purpose and the weed they are intended to control. Use plant protection products safely and always read the label and product information before use.
When to use weedkillers
Weeds can generally be killed at any time of the year. But the best time is when they are growing strongly because they absorb weedkiller more quickly. This is particularly the case with systemic and selective weedkillers which rely on activity within the plant for their effectiveness.
Apply liquid weedkillers in calm conditions to minimise the drift of the solution onto wanted plants. Application to the leaves results in weedkiller moving up to the growing points and down to the root tips.
How to use weedkillers
Read and follow the detailed instructions that are clearly printed on every weedkiller pack.
Applying weedkiller with a watering can
With a fine rose or a weedkiller sprinkle bar that will give you effective control over where you apply the weedkiller. Remember a separate watering can is advisable if accidental damage to other plants during normal watering is to be avoided.
Applying weedkiller with a pressure sprayer
Protect the plants you want to keep by using a sheet of card to screen them from the application. Always read the label to find out which application method (watering can or sprayer) is suitable for the product you want to use. Do not walk across treated areas until dry, to avoid transfer of products onto desired plants.
Sensible precautions while spraying weedkiller
- Always read the product label before choosing and using. Following these instructions will protect you and the environment from any harm.
- Never use a weedkiller carelessly.
- Check that the product can be used in the way you want to use it and at the time of year you want to use it.
- Mix the product according to the instructions. Do not add any extra for ‘luck’.
- Apply thoroughly and evenly, but without under-treating or over-treating.
- Avoid spraying in bright sunlight as the water droplets can cause scorch.
- Spraying in the evening in summer, when it is cooler, may be more effective.
- Wash out the sprayer thoroughly after use with a few drops of detergent, then rinse well and spray clean water through the nozzle. Treat the washings as you did the original product and only spray on areas such as wasteland or target plants. NEVER put rinsings down the drain.
- When spraying, keep children and pets away until the application has dried.
- Some weeds are naturally poisonous, e.g. ragwort. They do not lose their toxicity even when killed. For specific advice on poisonous weeds, contact us directly.
Storing and disposing of weedkiller
- It is important to keep all household and garden chemicals in their original containers and out of the reach of children (especially under-fives) and pets.
- Old or unwanted chemical products can be disposed of through your local waste authority (County Council or Unitary Council). Your local council can advise on household waste sites that will accept garden chemicals. A list of local council facilities that will accept garden care chemicals can be found at the Pesticide Disposal Directory.
- Never dispose of unwanted product down household sinks, lavatories or drains.
Further advice on the on the safe disposal of garden chemicals can be found on the Crop Protection Association’s Garden Website.