Complete Guide To 2, 4-D Weed Killer And How To Use It

Complete Guide to 2, 4-D Weed Killer And How To Use It

Anyone who has the pleasure of owning a garden knows the importance of weed killer.

You need something strong enough to kill those pesky weeds, but that is still gentle enough not to take your lawn down with them. 

2, 4-D weed killer is a popular type of weed killer for gardens as it is powerful enough to kill any plant within just one use. 

With something that strong, you should know the risks before using it for the first time.

Luckily, that is exactly what we are going to be looking at today – how to use 2, 4-D weed killer safely, any risks that come along with it, and more. 

Let’s get weeding, shall we? 

2, 4-D Weed Killer – What Is It? 

Like other weed killers, 2, 4-D weed killer is a herbicide. It kills leafy weeds by altering the growth of the plant’s cells.

The weed killer forces the cells to grow at an exponential rate so that the plant cannot keep up and therefore will die. 

2, 4-D weed killer is classed as an auxin type of synthetic herbicide, meaning that it makes the cells grow and multiply at such a quick rate. 

This type of weed killer was first created in the 1940s United States, and since then has been created in a number of different ways.

The chemical makeup of the herbicide will determine the toxicity of it, which could be a danger to the environment. 

It’s up to you whether you purchase 2, 4-D weed killer as a ready-mixed form or  concentrated form.

It comes in granules, liquid, or dust, so you’ll need to choose the best for your situation.

There are so many different 2, 4-D weed killers on the market, so you’ll be spoilt for choice! 

Will 2, 4-D Weed Killer Work In Your Garden?

The great thing about 2, 4-D weed killer is that it is an effective killer of the majority of weeds found in the garden.

It can also be used almost everywhere, so you don’t have to worry about only using it in a select number of places. 

You can use it on grass, as this herbicide does not harm lawns, as well as on driveways, fences, ditches, patios, and more.

Below is a list of the most common weeds that 2, 4-D weed killers can help you with: 

  • Alder
  • Tumbleweed
  • Goldenrod
  • Canada thistle 
  • Nettle
  • Sweet clover
  • Pennycress
  • Pepperweed
  • Purslane
  • Toadflax
  • Velvet leaf
  • Wild parsnip
  • Sagebrush
  • Red clover
  • Virginia creeper
  • Coffeeweed
  • Jewelweed
  • Ragweed
  • Wild carrot

Bear in mind that these are not the only weeds that 2, 4-D weed killers can destroy.

There are many more – in fact, it will kill almost every kind of weed there is. 

To make this herbicide even more appealing, the only grass that 2, 4-D weed killer will damage is nutgrass.

Luckily, this isn’t the usual type of grass that you’d have in your lawn, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally killing your grass as well. 

What Will 2, 4-D Weed Killer Not Work On?

While this herbicide will work on the majority of weeds, there are a couple of exceptions.

The first is crabgrass. Crabgrass is a unique type of weed that is often mistaken for real grass.

This is because it is essentially a species of grass, and therefore 2, 4-D weed killers will not try to kill it.

You will need a specific crabgrass killer to get rid of this weed. 

Another weed that might fight against 2, 4-D weed killer is clover. While the herbicide will work on clover and kill it, you will see better results using a 3-way herbicide instead. This is because clover is a clever weed that can fight against the 2, 4-D weed killer method, making it much tougher to get rid of. Using a 3-way herbicide can attack from all angles. 

Using 2, 4-D Weed Killer On Lawns

2, 4-D weed killer can be used on the majority of lawns, which is what makes it so popular among gardeners. However, not all grass is necessarily safe.

Turf grass, such as St. Augustine, tends to be more delicate than other types of grass and therefore can be damaged with 2, 4-D weed killer.

So, you might want to avoid using 2, 4-D weed killer on turf grass, unless you’re willing to take the risk of damaging it. 

Another grass that you should be wary of using this herbicide on is dormant grass, such as Bermuda grass. 2, 4-D weed killer can damage the blades while grass is dormant during the winter and spring months. 

Best 2, 4-D Weed Killers On The Market

Now let’s look at six of the best 2, 4-D weed killers on the market that you can purchase today. All of these have been tested by plenty of gardeners and have been declared 2, 4-D weed killer fan favorites among them. 

Hi-Yield (21416) 2,4-D Selective Weed Killer

Hi-Yield (21416) 2,4-D Selective Weed Killer (1 gal)

One of the most recommended 2, 4-D weed killers on the market, this option from Hi-Yield is a post-emergent herbicide.

It comes in a concentrated form which can be mixed with water and sprayed directly onto wherever the weeds are sprouting from.

You should apply this herbicide in the summer and autumn months as the weeds are actively growing.

It will take care of almost any weed such as nettles, alder, honeysuckle, poison ivy, sumac, and others. 

While it kills almost every weed, you might need to use this 2, 4-D weed killer more than once on some stubborn perennial weeds, such as bindweed. 

Standout Features: 

  • Can treat up to 5450 square feet of lawn. 
  • Usable anywhere, such as lawns, ponds, rangelands and more.
  • Concentrated liquid needs to be mixed with water before use. 

Pros: 

  • Waterproof for up to six hours after application, so don’t worry about the rain. 
  • Easy to apply thanks to liquid form. 
  • Can kill almost every type of weed there is. 

Cons:

  • Could take four weeks to see effective results. 

Hi-Yield (21416) 2,4-D Selective Weed Killer (1 gal)
  • This selective weed killer kills or controls many Broadleaf Weeds and plants susceptible to 2, 4-D.
  • Works on Dandelion, Arrowhead, Buckhorn, Aster, Goatsbeard and more. See label for full list.
  • Pairs great with Hi-Yield Spreader Sticker (31063) for increased effectiveness.
  • Product can be used on Lawns, Ponds, Drainage Ditches, Pastures and Rangelands.
  • See product label for application rates and instruction

Tordon RTU Specialty Herbicide

Brush Killer, Ready to Use

This 2, 4-D weed killer from Tordon is effective at killing over 20 species of woody plants.

This can prevent cut trees from sprouting weeds in areas where no edible crops are being grown.

This weed killer is best used along roads, fences, forests, and more. 

This 2, 4-D weed killer is not recommended for residential lawns but still works well in most environments.

This 2, 4-D weed killer is best used in colder months. 

Standout Features: 

  • Requires no mixing before use. 
  • Can be used around pets safely. 
  • Contains triisopropanolamine salt as well as 2, 4-D  for added effectiveness. 

Pros

  • Excellent for use on cut trees. 
  • Quick visible results
  • Contains blue dye so that you can see which areas you have used it on.  

Cons:

  • Can be toxic for aquatic life so shouldn’t be used around water. 

Brush Killer, Ready to Use
  • We may ship you green label one depends on availability. They are same product.

Trimec® 992 Broadleaf Herbicide

Trimec® 992 Broadleaf Herbicide, 2.5 Gallons, 9921126

This weed killer from Trimeccomes with a slightly higher percentage of 2, 4-D than other weed killers.

This allows it to offer visible results in a shorter amount of time.

The higher percentage also means that you won’t have to use as much to mix into water, allowing the bottle to last longer and therefore reducing costs. 

This 2, 4-D weed killer is effective on all broadleaf weeds, and you can use it on both warm and cold season grasses. 

Standout Features: 

  • Mixture between 2, 4-D and dimethylamine salt, DMA salt, MCPP-P and dicamba
  • Safe to use around pets when used correctly as directed. 

Pros

  • Can kill almost all types of broadleaf weeds. 
  • Usable on most types of grass. 
  • Works well with all spray equipment. 

Cons:

  • Shouldn’t be sprayed on St. Augustine lawns. 

ITS Supply Crossbow Herbicide 

ITS Supply Crossbow Herbicide 1qt

This following 2, 4-D weed killer is a non-selective and post emergent herbicide, meaning that it kills various different weeds such as perennial broadleaves as well as woody plants, like poison oak.

Use this with any sprayer as it is safe to use around animals, even those who graze on the grass. 

The formula is waterproof for up to two hours after application, which gives you peace of mind about the weather.

It has not been designed for residential lawns, but it is one of the best options out there for woodlands and rangelands. 

Standout Features: 

  • Contains butoxyethyl ester as well as 2, 4-D. 
  • For best results it needs to be reapplied twice a year. 

Pros: 

  • Rainproof for two hours. 
  • Usable with any type of sprayer. 
  • Can be used around grazing animals. 

Cons:

  • Not designed for residential lawns. 

ITS Supply Crossbow Herbicide 1qt
  • Active Ingredient:2,4-D, butoxyethyl ester 34.4% Triclopyr, butoxyethyl ester 16.5%
  • Concentrated weed killer formula
  • Excellent for brush and weed control
  • Manufactured by Helena

Q4 Plus Turf Herbicide for Grassy & Broadleaf Weed

Next up is the Q4 Plus 2, 4-D weed killer.

It contains more than one herbicide and contains other chemicals such as dicamba.

This makes it all the more effective at killing weeds, although you will have to consider the extra precautions when dealing with more than one weed killer. 

You can choose to use this 2, 4-D weed killer as a complete lawn coverage treatment or just a spot treatment.

It is best used in the late summer to early autumn months when the weeds are just thinking about starting to grow.

Simply mix 3 fluid ounces with one gallon of water to treat up to 1000 square feet! 

Standout Features: 

  • Features more than just one herbicide: 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt 11.81%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 1.49%, Quinclorac 8.43%, Sulfentrazone 0.69%
  • Safe to use around pets as long as you follow the instructions. 

Pros: 

  • Waterproof for up to six hours after application.
  • Effective on a number of different grasses, such as bluegrass and ryegrass. 
  • Can be used four weeks after reseeding has been done. 

Cons:

  • Might cause some lawns to temporarily yellow after application.

Endrun Herbicide With Trimec 

Finally, Endrun is another 2, 4-D weed killer that can kill the majority of all weeds, which includes over 80 species of broadleaf weeds.

These might be henbit, aster, chickweed, or even more.

This formula contains more  than just 2, 4-D for added effectiveness. 

With the pre-loaded surfactant system, this herbicide is able to improve your plant uptake and spread over the lawn better, improving the effectiveness once again.

This system also prevents bounce back, so that your other plants are better protected against the 2, 4-D weed killer. 

Standout Features: 

  • Safe to use around pets. 
  • Can kill over 80 species of weeds.  
  • Can cover 2.5 acres of land. 

Pros: 

  • An excellent option for many types of grass such as perennial ryegrass, fescue, bluegrass, bentgrass, and more. 
  • Surfactant system makes spreading easier and protects other plants. 
  • You don’t need to use as much over large areas of land, saving you money. 

Cons:

  • Shouldn’t be used on more delicate grasses like St. Augustine.

How To Use 2, 4-D Weed Killer

Whenever you get a new weed killer, it is always best to read the manufacturing instructions on the packet.

This is because, while most weed killers are mixed the same, some manufacturers might have different instructions that you need to follow in order to remain safe. 

Most herbicides will ask you to mix 2.5 ounces of 2, 4-D weed killer with one gallon of water. 2.5 ounces equates to around five tablespoons if you would rather do it this way.

Mix the herbicide up well before using it on the weeds. This amount of mixture should cover around 400 square feet. 

If you have a larger yard, you can double the quantities and mix this up. Alternatively, you could half the quantities if you had a smaller yard. 

With that being said, this is a rough guide on how to mix your herbicide together.

You might find that the instructions are telling you to do something completely different.

Always follow the instructions on the back of the herbicide packet, just in case. 

Once you have mixed up your 2, 4-D weed killer, it is now time to use it on the weeds.

Again, this will be explained on the back of your 2, 4-D weed killer packaging, so follow these instructions.

The majority of weed killers, however, will simply need to be sprayed onto the weeds leaves, so make sure that you have a spray bottle handy. 2, 4-D weed killer often only needs to be sprayed on the leaves, so you won’t have to worry about getting dirty looking for the roots to spray it on. 

When To Use 2, 4-D Weed Killer?

Again, the best way of knowing when to use 2, 4-D weed killer is to check the packaging as this should tell you when the herbicide will be most effective.

The packaging will often tell you to use the weed killer either during the early summer months or late fall.

This is when most of the weeds will have begun sprouting and therefore be the best time to catch them early. 

However, other 2, 4-D weed killers such as Hi-Yield 2, 4-D calls for the herbicide to be used when the weeds have grown a little bit, so in early springtime. 

If you have sodded your lawn recently, then you might be required to wait for six weeks before using a 2, 4-D weed killer so as to not stunt the growth of your new grass. 

While you have to consider the time of year that you’re going to use your 2, 4-D weed killer, that isn’t the only timing that you have to get right.

You should also consider the time of day that you use the herbicide.

This is so that the herbicide can work to the maximum of its ability, preventing you from having to use it again too soon. 

For the best results, you’re going to want to use the herbicide on the soil once it has a temperature of lower than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Applying 2, 4-D weed killer when the soil is too hot can damage your lawn, which is the opposite of what we want to do! 

Another thing to consider is the wind.

If you’re using 2, 4-D weed killer on a particularly windy day, there is a chance that the wind could blow the herbicide onto other nearby flowers and plants that you didn’t want to kill.

However, if the herbicide touches them, then there’s a very good chance that you won’t be able to save them.

So, use 2, 4-D weed killer on a day with minimal wind wherever possible. 

One thing you don’t have to worry about, though, is the rain forecast. 2, 4-D weed killer is waterproof for up to an hour after the application.

You can apply it on dry days without an issue as well. 

Finally, you should always wait at least two days before mowing your lawn once you have applied 2, 4-D weed killer to it. 

Precautions When Using 2, 4-D Weed Killer

Now let’s take a look at some precautions that you should consider before using 2, 4-D weed killer.

Despite it being an effective weed killer for the majority of lawns, you should be cautious when applying it to your lawn. Here’s a few reasons why. 

2, 4-D Weed Killer Can Be Toxic If Used Incorrectly 

If you do not use the 2, 4-D weed killer correctly by following the instructions on the back of the packaging, there is a much higher risk of the herbicide being toxic and dangerous to your yard, pets, and even you.

You need to apply it carefully to keep the risk of danger low. 

With that being said, when the herbicide is used correctly, 2, 4-D weed killer is relatively low in toxicity.

Out of any 2, 4-D weed killer that comes into contact with your body, around 75% of it will leave the body within four days. 

Potential Side Effects From Contact With 2, 4-D Weed Killer

If you were to get 2, 4-D weed killer onto your skin or eyes, there should be no major side effects apart from some irritation.

Nevertheless, you should still rinse it immediately and contact your doctor if you are concerned. 

Acid and salt forms of 2, 4-D weed killer are slightly more dangerous, however, as they are more likely to be ingested.

If ingested, 2, 4-D weed killer can cause severe digestive irritation.

It is also harsher on eyes should it come into contact with them. 

What’s more, breathing in the vapors of 2, 4-D weed killer can cause respiratory distress, as well as neurological distress in extreme cases. 

Keep Pets And Children Away From The Herbicide

As we have mentioned, 2, 4-D weed killer can be irritating to the body – especially when digested.

Small children will be even more sensitive to the herbicide than adults, so it is important to keep them away from it when spraying. 

Similarly, pets are also likely to be more sensitive to the herbicide.

They are also more likely to eat or lick the plants that have been sprayed with 2, 4-D weed killer, or at least put their noses in it and get it all over their faces.

As pets also have thinner skin on their paws, they might be impacted by the 2, 4-D weed killer more than the rest of their skin. 

So, while you’re spraying the 2, 4-D weed killer, and for a decent amount of time afterwards, make sure that you don’t let your children or pets play in the grass. 

Is 2, 4-D Weed Killer Safe For The Environment?

2, 4-D weed killer is actually considered one of the safer herbicides to use when it comes to the environment, although this will depend on the type of 2, 4-D weed killer that you use.

Ester 2, 4-D weed killers are quite toxic to aquatic life such as fish, but salt alternatives are much lower in toxicity. 

All forms of 2, 4-D weed killer are safe for bees and other pollinators, as well as beneficial insects found in the garden.

So, this is a great option if you’re looking for something more environmentally friendly to kill only the weeds in your garden. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t use it around bodies of water, just in case it is toxic to anything living underneath the surface. 

Be Mindful Of Yourself When Using 2, 4-D Weed Killer

It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t be using 2, 4-D weed killer on plants that are intended to be eaten by you or your family.

For these plants you should only ever use a herbicide that has been created specifically for edible crops. 

When applying the 2, 4-D weed killer to your lawn, you should always wear gloves and eye protection, and perhaps a mask as well. 

Correct Storage Is Key

When storing leftover 2, 4-D weed killer, make sure that you keep it in its original packaging.

This packaging has been created specifically for the herbicide and therefore is the safest way to store it. 

If you have finished a container, make sure that you dispose of it correctly and as soon as possible.

Summary

We hope that this article has shared some valuable information on how to use 2, 4-D weed killer properly.

When used correctly, this weed killer can be an excellent option for almost any weed as it doesn’t harm grass around them. 

However, there are some risks that come with using 2, 4-D weed killer.

As it is such a powerful herbicide, if it accidentally reaches your other plants, it will work to kill those as well.

As 2, 4-D weed killer works by multiplying cells so rapidly that the plants can’t keep up, the damage will almost always be irreversible. 

Some weed killers use 2, 4-D along with other herbicides to make them more effective.

While this is a good idea, make sure that you know the risks of the other herbicides as well before using it. 

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