5 Best Broadleaf Weed Killers and Herbicides

Broadleaf weeds are a common sight in lawns and gardens, but you must treat them as soon as possible. Not only do they look bad and take up a lot of space, but they also ruin your lawn or garden by consuming essential nutrients, water, and air meant for your grasses or other plants. 

I’ve selected some of the best broadleaf weed killers available for home use, so you that can stay on top of things and prevent a mass explosion of broadleaf weeds. Let’s get familiar with what we’re dealing with…

It’s best to remove broadleaf weeds before they get a chance to germinate and spread. However, a lot of the time, you will be dealing with existing broadleaf weeds. To ensure they don’t spread further, you will need a suitable herbicide or broadleaf weed killer that kills broadleaf weeds specifically. Today, I will be showing you the best broadleaf weed killers for any type of broadleaf weed. 

Broadleaf Herbicide Types

As mentioned, there are a few types of broadleaf weed killers. Here, I will go over the main types of herbicides and what they do. 

Post emergent Broadleaf Herbicides 

Postemergence broadleaf herbicides work to combat weeds after they have already emerged. While it might be best to fight weeds before they take over your garden in theory, that is not always possible. If it is after the fact, a postemergence broadleaf herbicide will help you kill the weeds that have grown and spread in your yard. Post Emergent sprays are also the best weed killer for flower beds, where you’re looking to target established weeds.

There are two types of postemergence broadleaf weed killers. As I mentioned before, there are both annual and perennial weeds. Annual weeds pop up once a year. Summer annuals appear during the summer, while winter annuals appear during the winter. 

For annuals, contact herbicide, which only kills the part of the weed it comes into contact with, is often enough. You will not be killing the roots of the weeds. While this type of herbicide is not as effective as systemic herbicide, which attacks the roots, it can be sufficient for smaller weeds, especially annuals, as killing them once per season can prevent them from coming back the entire season. 

Systemic herbicide seeps down to the root of the weeds and kills it all. It is best for larger broadleaf weeds and perennial broadleaves, which spread too easily through vegetation to allow any part of them to live. I recommend using systemic herbicide for broadleaf weed control when possible, especially if you’re dealing with larger weeds, perennials, or weeds that cover a larger surface area. 

Pre-Emergent Broadleaf Weed Control 

Pre-emergent broadleaf weed killers, contrary to common belief, do not actually kill seeds. Instead, they target the weeds during a crucial stage of the germination process to prevent them from getting any further in that process. In other words, instead of stopping the growing process from happening altogether, you interrupt it at a very early stage, which is why timing is crucial. Of course, the exact timing will depend on the weed you are targeting. 

With broadleaf weeds like chickweeds, which is a winter annual, applying pre-emergent broadleaf weed herbicide during the fall or early winter can target the chickweed at a crucial stage and prevent it from growing any further. 

Non-Selective vs. Selective Herbicide 

Before purchasing a broadleaf weed killer, it is crucial to understand the difference between non-selective and selective herbicides. Buying the wrong one can ruin your garden or lawn. 

The main difference is simple. A selective herbicide is selective in what it targets. Usually, it will target specific weeds you don’t like while aiming to keep the rest of your grasses or plants intact without harming them. 

Non-selective herbicide, on the other hand, does not discriminate. Instead, it targets everything in its path. It will kill any grass it comes in contact with. 

Selective and non-selective herbicides work in different ways. Non-selective herbicides are often potent and toxic. While not usually harmful to humans or animals, they are so strong that they kill everything in their paths. That is why some people prefer them for perennial weeds or other weeds that spread quickly and are hard to eliminate. 

Non-selective weed killers use certain ingredients and chemicals that target specific weed types. For example, it may use 2-4-D, which targets the growth regulator of plants. These types of weed killers are typically used in lawn weed and feed products when you need to eradicate weeds and spruce up the appearance of your lawn in one hit.

Which one is right for you? If you want to preserve the grass or plants surrounding your weeds, avoid using a non-selective herbicide. When you use a selective herbicide, make sure you use one that targets the weeds in your garden. 

Broadleaf Spray vs. Granules 

Broadleaf weed killers can come either in a liquid form, as a spray, or in granule form. If it comes in a liquid concentrate form, you will need to dilute it and spray it. The sprayer will allow you to target the exact area you want the herbicide to go on, but you may need to mix it with water, and you will need a sprayer. Granular herbicides require you to have a spreader, which is a simple and cheap tool, to apply it. You may need to water the weeds after application. 

Which one is best? Both are very effective. However, some people may prefer one over the other. A spray can be easier to apply if you have trouble bending down, for example. On the flip side, it can be easier to get some of the chemicals on other plants when using a sprayer. 

Synthetic vs. Organic Broadleaf Herbicide

Should you use a synthetic or organic herbicide? Both have their proponents. Synthetic weed killers may be more potent, but they can also be more toxic. Both can contain chemical compounds, but synthetic herbicides use chemicals created in a lab instead of those sourced naturally. 

2-4-D Broadleaf Weed Control 

2-4-D appears in many herbicides. It stands for 2-4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, which is a synthetic auxin that is highly effective. It is a systemic herbicide, meaning it will kill the entire root of the weed, not just the part it comes into contact with. However, it is a selective chemical, and it will not ruin the rest of your grass. 

Organic Broadleaf Weed Killer 

Organic broadleaf weed killers stay away from synthetic chemicals and stick with organic compounds, such as: 

  • Corn Meal
  • Acetic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Clove oil
  • Cinnamon oil

The efficacy of organic herbicides has gotten better over the years. It does work, but not always as good as synthetic herbicides. For example, organic herbicides are better for smaller weeds that are not perennials. They are also better for annuals. 

The upside of using organic herbicides is that they contain fewer toxins and can be healthier for you and the environment overall. You can always try an organic herbicide and switch to a synthetic herbicide later if the organic one is not working. 


Best Broadleaf Weed Killers 

To help you decide which is the best broadleaf weed killer for your needs I’ve taken a deep dive into the product market to come up with my top five picks here below. My selection includes details of each herbicide’s compounds, its performance, value for money, and the level of customer satisfaction, taking into account thousands of user reviews across major online platforms.


1. Ortho BroadLeaf Weed Killer Ready-to-Use Spray

Ortho BroadLeaf WeedClear Ready-To-Use

This herbicide targets common types of broadleaf weeds, such as chickweed, dandelions, and clover. I like that it comes with a magic wand sprayer, which will help you spray and apply the herbicide directly onto the weeds you are targeting without buying an extra sprayer. 

Since it is a selective herbicide, it won’t harm the rest of your lawn, but you do need to follow directions and apply it correctly. It also is a systemic weed killer, so it will go down to the roots of your broadleaf weeds and kill them all, so they never come back. Ortho BroadLeaf is available here.

How To Use

Ortho BroadLeaf is an easy ready-to-use product. You can easily connect the spray nozzle to your garden hose and spray your lawn as necessary. Start from the furthest point in your lawn, and work your way back for the best results. 

Pros      

  • Kills stubborn weeds at the base
  • Shows results in just hours
  • Useful for several lawn varieties

Cons

  • Doesn’t include irrigation pump
  • Can damage lawn if not used correctly 

2. Spectracide Broadleaf Weed Stop for Lawns

Spectracide Broadleaf Weed Stop For Lawns

This product targets around 200 species of weeds, including some of the most common broadleaf weed species, such as dandelion, clover, and chickweed. It is a systemic herbicide, so it will go down and kill the root of the broadleaf weeds so that they do not come back later. Nevertheless, it is selective, so it will not ruin the rest of your lawn. 

This herbicide provides results quickly which is a good thing, if, like me, you enjoy a perfectly manicured lawn and get triggered by the merest hint of a buttercup. I get results with this in less than 24 hours, and it is water-resistant within six hours. Meaning I don’t have to worry about the rain reducing its effectiveness.

The bottle is small, but it is a concentrate, meaning the entire contents can treat up to 20,000 square feet. Spectracide Broadleaf Weed Stop For Lawns is available from Amazon.com

How To Use

Spectracide can be applied to your yard by applying 4 oz to 1000 square feet of space. Dilute the product with the instructed amount of water and depending on the weeds you’re looking to treat. It is best to apply this product between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Pros      

  • Product is rainproof
  • Kills the roots as well as the weed
  • Kills more than 200 types of weeds

Cons

  • May need to be reapplied if you don’t see results
  • May require more reading to figure out how much water to mix

3. RM18 Fast-Acting Broadleaf Weed & Grass Killer

RM18 Fast-Acting Broadleaf Weed & Grass Killer

This product is a good choice if you need a fast-acting herbicide to clear large areas of weeds and grass. This 2.5 gallon of concentrated herbicide formula can make up to 106 gallons which means it will cover a very large area (nearly 32,000 sq feet) or last you a really long time!

The exact amount of water to mix in with the concentrate will depend on how large your weeds are and how many weeds you have. The instructions come with the product, so just follow the instructions, and you will be fine. Make sure you have an herbicide sprayer so you can apply the herbicide to your lawn and be careful how you decant the concentrate from the bottle as some reviewers found the bottle to be leaky. Click here for RM18 Fast-Acting Broadleaf Weed & Grass Killer

I gave this a go on a 20 sq foot plot that I needed shifting in my yard. I wanted to move the grass and all the weeds it attracted annually to make way for a new patio and shed. I stuck to the recommended dosage as the weeds on the plot weren’t particularly out of control and the grass was patchy in areas. I’d recommend doubling the dose for areas with heavy weed coverage or thick grass. This stuff really does get to work quickly. The weeds and lawn were wilting and brown within 12 hours. Boom!

How To Use

Mix 6 oz of product in 1 gallon of water. Evenly spray the mixture over your yard as either a spot treatment or overall treatment. Skip one mowing before spraying to increase visibility.

Pros      

  • Makes up to 106 gallons of solution
  • Results in as little as 12 hours
  • Can kill up to 100 different types of weeds

Cons

  • May need to use higher recommended oz 
  • Bottle may leak

4. Monterey Vegetables Pre-Emergent Weed Controller

Monterey Vegetables Pre-Emergent Weed Controller

This herbicide from Monterey is just what you need to prevent weeds and grass from appearing in your vegetable garden for the entire growing season. This is a pre-emergent weed killer, that I use for controlling summer annual broadleaf weeds, including chickweed and prostrate knotweed as well as unwanted grass in my veg patch.

I apply this in late fall to early winter to prevent chickweed and then in spring to catch the knotweed. Not only does it prevent weeds from appearing it also stops the whole germination process too. Using this means that I don’t have to worry about summer annuals for the entire summer growing season. Click here for Monterey Vegetables Pre-Emergent Weed Controller

How To Use

I diluted 3 fluid ounces of concentrate with 2 gallons of water to cover an area of 1000 square feet. You’ll need to use a sprayer to cover the entire vegetable garden area and then follow this up after 24 hours with either some decent rainfall or giving the area a hose with water.

Pros      

  • Stops weeds from germinating
  • Results last for up to five months
  • Easy application

Cons

  • May have a strong odor
  • Coloration may stain surfaces

5. Trimec Southern Broadleaf Herbicide

Trimec Southern Broadleaf Herbicide Quart

This product uses unique ingredients for post-emergent broadleaf weed control. It kills weeds like clover, chickweed, and other broadleaf weeds after they have already emerged. Formulated with less 2,4-D, it works very well in sensitive warm-season turfgrasses, making it an excellent choice for controlling weeds on lawns, golf courses, parks, and other areas. 

It is a potent herbicide, higher in MCPP, so make sure you follow instructions as to where to apply it. The manufacturer’s recommendation is to avoid using this weed killer on Floratam St Augustinegrass. Check prices for Trimec Southern Broadleaf Herbicide here.

How To Use

To use, mix up to 0.55 oz per gallon and apply the solution uniformly over the area. The product must be diluted by water prior to use.

Pros      

  • Offers high tolerance in warmer climates
  • Has the best amine Trimec complex, which helps control clover and chickweed
  • Can also be used on cool-season grasses

Cons

  • Takes time for formula to work and may be slow to rid stubborn weeds

What Are Broadleaf Weeds?

Broadleaf weeds are weeds with wide, broad leaves, as the name suggests. However, there are many types of broadleaf weeds, and there are also a few types of herbicides you can use to control and kill broadleaf weeds. 

Fighting broadleaf weeds is important. Weeds consume nutrients and water a lot faster than other grasses. As a result, they weaken those grasses by depriving them of nutrients, thus inviting pests and disease. 

Examples of Broadleaf Weeds

Here are some common broadleaf weed types to look out for. 

Chickweed

Stellaria media, or the common chickweed, is a type of broadleaf weed that usually pops up during the winter and dies when summer comes around (it is a winter annual). The chickweed usually grows between 4-12 inches tall, and the leaves have a shape like small eggs. Chickweed is actually edible, but that doesn’t mean it is good for your lawn. It will often take over empty spots on your property and grow in big clumps. 

Clover

Clover is a problematic broadleaf weed that is hard to combat because it is a perennial weed, meaning it can spread through seeds and vegetation.

In other words, a small part of the stem or root can cause new weed growth in other parts of your lawn. Clover weeds like moist ground and have shallow roots. 

Dandelion

To some dandelions are pretty and almost flower-like in appearance. They are of course actually weeds with long roots. Other weeds also have flowers, such as the chickweed, which has small white flowers. Since they are perennial weeds, they can be tough to remove, which is why you need the best broadleaf weed killer you can find to get the job done. When removing dandelions, you need to be sure you remove the entire root of the dandelion, not just the flower, or else it will grow back right away. 

Prostrate Spurge

The scientific name for the prostrate spurge is the euphorbia maculata. It is also commonly known as the spotted spurge. Whatever you end up calling it, this kind of weed often takes up entire parts of your lawn, covering it with wide mats of weeds. 

The leaves of the prostrate spurge are shaped like an oval and have a red stem in the center. This red stem looks like a red spot; hence the name spotted spurge. Spotted spurge proliferates out of the center point and isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing plant. It also irritates the skin when you touch it. 

Prostrate Knotweed

Prostrate knotweed, or polygonum aviculare, has a lot of names, including: 

  • Common knotgrass
  • Lowgrass
  • Birdweed
  • Pigweed

It is a summer annual, meaning it will pop up in the summer, usually towards the beginning of the summer season, and last until October. It can creep across your entire garden, thus necessitating early removal as soon as you spot it. 

Broadleaf Weed Control

Here are some essential things to keep in mind when applying broadleaf herbicides. It can be frustrating trying to control broadleaf weeds if you don’t understand the basic principles of which type of herbicide to use and when to apply it. 

When to Apply Broadleaf Weed Killer

When you should apply broadleaf weed killers depends on whether the weeds have already emerged and the type of weed growing in your garden. If the weeds have not yet emerged, you have to use pre-emergent herbicides and target them at the right time. 

If the weeds have already emerged, you need to apply herbicide as soon as possible. That will help prevent the weeds from spreading even further and taking up even more space. Many weed species are highly invasive. That means the longer you let them stick around, the more they will spread. Once they have emerged, it can be harder to control them, so keep spraying whenever you see new weeds pop up. 

So, when should you apply pre-emergent weed herbicide? That depends on the weed you are targeting. For clover, for example, springtime would be best. That is usually April to May, but it can vary slightly based on your location and weather patterns that particular year. It would be late fall or early winter for chickweed, but that can also vary based on geographical location and annual weather patterns. 

The best thing to do is figure out what weed you are targeting and learn when it emerges. Most annuals are either summer annuals or winter annuals, so they will appear during the summer or winter. Therefore, you’ll want to target winter annuals during the fall and summer annuals during the spring. 

There are many other types of broadleaf annuals, such as the black medic weed or black clover, a summer annual, but it can act like a perennial in certain climates. 

Best Time to Apply 2-4-D

The 2-4-D application should follow what I talked about in the previous section. Apply it when the weeds are small and before they emerge, which will vary depending on whether they are summer or winter annuals. You should also apply them during these conditions:  

  • Make sure it is not hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It should also be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Aim for a day with no winds. If there are winds, they should not exceed a speed of 5 mph.
  • Don’t apply right after mowing your lawn. Wait at least two days.
  • Do not apply right after rain. Please wait until it is dry. Do not apply when your lawn is wet from morning dew either.
  • Do not apply right before rain is forecasted. 

The reason to avoid spraying 2-4-D on wet weeds is that the water will automatically dilute the herbicide and thus decrease its effectiveness. That is why it is essential to wait until it is dry. In addition, water and dew can protect the weeds and prevent the 2-4-D from actually reaching the weeds.  

Also, if it is going to rain after you apply it, the rain can wash away the herbicide before it gets a chance to work. There should not be any rain in the forecast for 24 hours after you apply the herbicide. If it rains more than 24 hours after you use it, it won’t decrease its effectiveness much. 

If it is too windy when you apply 2-4-D, the wind can cause some of the 2-4-D to blow off the weeds or evaporate quickly, not giving it enough time to be effective. You also don’t want the chemicals getting blown all over the place. If it is too hot or sunny, it can also evaporate quickly, which is why you should avoid applying it when it is over 90 degrees outside. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Broadleaf Weed Killers

Weeds can be annoying, but you don’t have to accept them. By using the right herbicides, you can either stop them from emerging or kill them in a matter of days. Select your broadleaf weed killer based on what you need to treat. Will it be Ortho WeedClear Lawn Weed Killer that’s a specially designed selective broadleaf killer that will quickly kill weeds and leave your lawn intact? It is ready to use and comes with a sprayer wand to spot treat specific areas or can be attached to your yard hose for coverage of larger areas.

Or, do you need RM18 Fast-Acting Broadleaf Weed & Grass Killer? This is a non-selective weed killer that comes in a 2.5-gallon container and will cover an area of nearly 32,000 square feet. It needs diluting but it’s a fast way to clear larger areas of weeds and grass.

Best Broadleaf Weed Killers FAQ’s