By Nicole Short, Store Manager

A frequently asked question at Karsten’s Ace is “How do I control the weeds and grasses in my yard?“

Here are a few tips to help you select the proper herbicide and get the best results when managing those pesky weeds in your desert landscaping.

Herbicides can be selective or non-selective. A selective herbicide is designed to kill specific types of plants, usually grasses and broad leaf weeds. Conversely, non-selective herbicides kill most all plants they come in contact with. When using non-selective herbicides, be careful not to allow contact with plants you want to keep.

Additionally, when looking at products for weed control, be aware that there are two types of products available: pre-emergent herbicides and post-emergent herbicides, both of which can be a selective or non-selective herbicide. Understanding the differences between the two will make a huge difference in how effective you are in killing and controlling your weed problem.

A pre-emergent herbicide creates a protective barrier around the plant seed which prevents the seed from germinating. Pre-emergents are used early in the growing season and best applied in temperatures below 60 degrees. It is also important to note that these products will prevent germination of all seeds, not just weeds. So, don’t use these products in flower beds or gardens where you will be planting seeds.

The second type of weed control is a post-emergent herbicide. This type of weed killer is used at the beginning of the growing season on weeds that have already begun growing. Once a weed has started growing it is too late to utilize the pre-emergent, so move directly to a post-emergent.

Post-emergent herbicides work by penetrating the plant leaves, stalk and root system. A post-emergent should be applied directly to the weed. If possible, it is best to apply the spray after the base of the plant or weed has been cut away. This way, the weed structure will be open which will allow the herbicide to more quickly penetrate the weed’s root system. Post-emergents will be used several times during the growing season. Unlike pre-emergents, this product likes temperatures above 60 degrees. You will be able to see the results of your work in one to two weeks, although some wilting of the leaves may happen much sooner.

As a natural alternative, there is another product available in retail packaging. The brand “Pulverize” is a fast-acting herbicidal soap that eliminates unwanted vegetation, quickly. This product contains no glyphosate and can be used to control your weeds and grasses. It is sprayed directly on the weed. Pulverize is available in a premixed spray for your convenience.

Many of these products are available in concentrates as well as a premixed spray. The shopping list below lists some of the products readily available at Karsten’s Ace Hardware Stores.
Shopping List:
Pre-Emergent: non-selective (prevents seed germination)
Weed Impede Concentrate by Monterey
1 qt., Item #7208182 – $49.99
1 pt., Item #7208184 – $27.99
Post-Emergent: selective (kills weeds selectively)
Ace Ready to Use Weed and Grass Killer
1 gallon, Item #7587199 – $7.59
Round Up Ready-to-Use Weed and Grass Killer
1 gallon, Item #75305 – $12.99
Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent combinations: non-selective (kills and prevents future growth)
Round Up – Concentrate Plus
1 pint, Item #73637 – $14.99
½ gallon, Item #73638 – $44.99
Round Up Extended Control
24 oz., Item #7226814 – $6.99
32 oz., Item #7160443 – $33.99
Round Up 365 Concentrate
32 oz., Item #7369028 – $44.99
Round Up 365 Premixed Spray
1.33 gallon, Item #7369010 – $36.99
Ortho Ground Clear
1 gallon, Item #7640394 – $22.99
Natural Alternative: selective (kills selectively)
Pulverize Weed and Grass Killer
1.33 gallon, Item #7572845 – $26.99
Additional helpful tools:
Garden Sprayer by ACE (used to mix and apply concentrates)
1 gallon, Item #7437650 – $14.99
2 gallon, Item #7437668 – $17.99
Pyrex Measuring Cup
8 oz., Item #6141 – $4.59
Mark It Blue Concentrate by Monterey
This product provides a temporary, highly visible evidence of the spray application of your herbicide. This product can be added to your herbicide prior to application.
1 pint, Item #7163603 – $9.99