Which weed killer for flower beds is best?

Weeds in your flower beds are not only unsightly, but they also steal water, nutrients and sunlight from your flowers. If you pull weeds out or cut them down, they only grow back, which is why you need a weed killer, also known as an herbicide. 

The ideal weed killer would be easily applied to the entire bed, killing every type of weed without harming a single flower. It hasn’t yet been invented yet, so look for the one that best meets your needs. If you are looking for a weed killer gel that applies like a stick deodorant, take a look at the Roundup Precision Gel Weed and Grass Killer.

What to know before you buy a weed killer for flower beds

How do weed killers work?

Potent chemicals in weed killers are absorbed by plants through their leaves, roots or both. Once inside the weed, the roots die first, then the leaves and stems. You can see the leaves show spots, turn brown and droop soon after the weed killer is applied. Most weeds take anywhere from three to seven days to shrivel up and die. Once they have dried out, they can easily be removed from your flower bed, along with their dead roots.

Form

  • Liquids are the most effective weed killers.
  • Gels have the advantage of sticking to weeds’ leaves and stems better than liquids but are much more costly.
  • Powders are used to coat plants with a layer of dust and are best for treating large areas. Their big disadvantage is that they’re easily blown onto nearby flowers. 
  • Granules are also used mostly for covering large areas. They can be shaken from a container or used in a device that scatters them.

Type of application

  • Spray: Spraying lets you apply weed killer directly to your targets with a minimum of fuss and without harming nearby flowers. 
  • Spreader: Powdered and granular weed killers are spread across large areas with the same devices used to broadcast seeds and fertilizers. Avoid weed killers that are applied this way because they will kill your flowers, too.
  • Direct: Gels are applied directly to the weeds without coming in contact with your flowers. As with spraying, direct application lets you coat leaves and stems thoroughly.  

Glyphosate

This is the most common chemical used in weed killers. If you use herbicides containing glyphosate, you will need to apply the poison with great care so you do not harm your flowers. Glyphosate works only on the leaves of living plants and cannot stop weed seeds from germinating and growing. When used according to directions on product labels, glyphosate does not pose any risk to adults. 

What to look for in a quality weed killer for flower beds

What weeds is your weed killer best at killing?

Most gardeners don’t know as much about weeds as they do about flowers. Those who do can choose weed killers designed to target the specific weeds that invade their flower beds. Those who want to protect against all invasive weeds should choose general-purpose herbicides made to kill a wide variety of weeds.

How long will an application of weed killer last?

Look for weed killers formulated to continue to kill weeds for weeks and months. They generally cost more, but the need for less-frequent reapplication will pay off in the long run.s

Rain resistance

Sometimes rain comes right after you’ve applied weed killer. If yours  is not rainproof, it will wash away before it can do its job. Look for promotional and packaging information that tells you how well the weed killer stands up to rain.

Dedicated sprayers

Many weed killers come in gallon jugs with built-in sprayers. Weeds are a never-ending menace, so serious gardeners buy separate sprayers and fill them with concentrate.

How much you can expect to spend on a weed killer for flower beds

Prices are determined mostly by the size of the container. Quart-size bottles of concentrate cost $10-$20. Gallon jugs with spray mechanisms cost $10-$30. The exception is gels, where 5-ounce sticks cost $25-$30.

Weed killer for flower beds FAQ

Can I use any kind of weed killer on my flower beds?

A. It is best to use only weed killers that say they are safe to use in close proximity to flowers and other vegetation.

Can a product that kills weeds be safe for humans?

A. You will be safe if you follow all the directions printed on the label. Wearing gloves and a mask is always a good idea around any kind of poison or harsh chemicals.

What’s the best weed killer to buy for flower beds?

Top weed killer for flower beds

Roundup Precision Gel Weed and Grass Killer

Roundup Precision Gel Weed and Grass Killer

What you need to know: This precision gel is used to treat weeds one by one.

What you’ll love: You can use it much as you would a gel-stick deodorant. It only kills what it touches, not nearby plants. This makes it easy to use in places that are hard to reach and safe to use in your flower beds.

What you should consider: Applying gels to individual plants is the most labor-intensive method of weed control and the most expensive, too.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Top weed killer for flower beds for the money

Spectracide 96451 Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate

Spectracide 96451 Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate

What you need to know: This highly concentrated solution focuses on weeds and grasses while ignoring flowers. 

What you’ll love: The product becomes rainproof within 15 minutes of application and visible results happen in as little as three hours. Within only one day, the targeted area is capable of supporting fresh plant growth. Make sure this weed killer is undisturbed for a week so it can do its job.

What you should consider: Results come quickly, but weeds will grow back every few weeks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Green Gobbler Natural and Organic 20% Vinegar Glyphosate-Free Herbicide

Green Gobbler Natural and Organic 20% Vinegar Glyphosate-Free Herbicide

What you need to know: This spray uses acetic acid made from ethanol to kill crabgrass, dandelions, clover, moss and more.

What you’ll love: It’s certified for organic use and has no toxic or cancer-causing chemicals. Use the built-in sprayer to kill annual and perennial weeds within a few hours. You can buy it in quart bottles, gallon jugs and 5-gallon tubs.

What you should consider: The sprayer produces a mist and does not adjust to deliver a stream.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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David Van Allan writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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