A total vegetation killer is a liquid designed to eliminate all of the plants growing in a specific region, including grass, crabgrass, dandelions, and other weeds. This product is primarily used on areas where plants are not supposed to grow, such as sidewalks and driveways. Because of their highly toxic and often acidic nature, individuals need to be careful when choosing a product and handling this liquid.
However, not all total vegetation killers are the same. Some rely on tough chemicals, while more and more manufacturers are trying to switch to more organic ingredients like vinegar to eliminate plants. Others will prevent future growth for up to a year, while some can only promise six months of freedom.
To help you identify the best total vegetation killer available for residential use, this guide takes a look at the ingredients, efficiency, affordability, and longevity. Take a look at these top four picks of 2020. We’re sure you will find one that suits your needs.
What to Know When Picking Vegetation Killer
Vegetation killers are herbicides, or pesticides designed to kill plants. Herbicides come in numerous shapes and sizes and are not effective on all weeds, grasses, and flowers, so it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients of your product of choice. You should also determine how you want to spread the herbicide, and how long you want the vegetation killer to last.
Most herbicides contain the same central ingredients unless they are meant to be organic, in which case chemicals are avoided in favor of vinegar. The most common ingredients are acetic acid, clethodim, fluazifop-p-butyl, glyphosate, metam sodium, pelargonic acid, sethoxydim. Acetic acid is just the more professional name for vinegar, but the others are compounds that are more toxic and targeted towards a variety of different grasses and weeds. When picking your total vegetation killer, it’s best to know what vegetation you are trying to eliminate and what ingredients will work well.
Spreading method refers to how you intend to use the total vegetation killer. The most common way to apply the herbicide is through a spray, but most chemicals are not sold with a sprayer attached. You then need to determine whether or not you want to use a hand sprayer like a bottle, or an actual machine with a wand that allows you to direct the herbicide to targeted areas. When covering a large area, it is recommended to use a larger backpack sprayer for better coverage.
The majority of total vegetation killers claim to last between six and twelve months, but this number varies considerably in practice. Organic killers tend to have the shortest lifespan because they are not as effective at killing the roots, so they need to be applied more often. Most gardeners can expect these to last between three and four months with frequent reapplications.
If you use a toxic chemical killer, the weeds will often be gone for the maximum year before they sprout again. This is because the ingredients seep underneath concrete and similar substances and can attack the roots directly. In many cases, vegetation will be gone for good. For this reason, a chemical total vegetation killer tends to be the most effective choice, but not the best for the environment.
In terms of longevity, you also want to consider when the product will become rain-ready. When a vegetation killer becomes rain ready, it means the formula won’t be washed away from exposure to moisture. Products vary tremendously, with some being rain-ready in as little as half an hour, while others can take up to 48 hours to be fully integrated into the roots of weeds and brush. Always read the instructions before applying.
Take a Glance at These Optimal Options
The Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate is a powerful herbicide that takes its job seriously. It is capable of eliminating all types of plants, including weeds, grasses, brush, flowers, and shrubs. It is quick-acting, and users can see visible results in as little as 6 hours after the initial application. The package claims to be rain-ready after an hour, but results vary. Instead, users should plan to apply this total vegetation killer at least 24 hours before the rain.
The primary ingredient in Ortho GroundClear is glyphosate, which is proven to be effective against almost all plants in moderate, arid, and tropical climates. Unlike some other herbicides, this package also has a ready to use sprinkler cap, so you don’t have to worry about transferring the liquid to another container.
Each package has about one gallon of liquid that is designed to be mixed with water for maximum efficiency.
- Can prevent weeds for 12 months
- Visible results in 6 hours
- Kills everything
- Ready to use sprinkler cap
- Is not rain-ready after an hour
- Highly toxic
The RM43 43-Percent Glyphosate Plus Weed Preventer Total Vegetation Control is a powerful herbicide that primarily uses glyphosate as its killing agent. This toxic yet effective total vegetation killer is capable of eliminating grass, weeds, shrubs, brush, and other plants that are affecting your walk and driveways. A single gallon of liquid is capable of treating 17,297 sq. ft. and even works well along fence lines.
This herbicide needs to be mixed with water for the most effectiveness. It does not come with an application method, so individuals will need to invest in an additional sprayer or system. However, RM43 is worth the investment as this is one of the only total vegetation killers that work well on the thick brush found in rural regions like farms. Results can be seen in a single week and last for twelve months.
- Results can be seen in one week
- Lasts for twelve months
- Works on farms and fence lines
- Treats a massive area
- No additional application method
- Slightly expensive
The Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer with Extended Control Concentrate is a more affordable total vegetation killer for residential areas. The primary ingredient is glyphosate yet again, which means the Spectracide works well on weeds, grass, shrubs, and brush. This product is available in smaller containers with the standard model being 32 oz. It does need to be mixed with water and can then make ten gallons of herbicide capable of covering around 5,000 sq. ft.
Spectracide Weed and Grass Killer is effective for up to five months and results can be seen in as little as a week after the first application. One benefit of this total vegetation killer is that it is rain-ready in as little as fifteen minutes, meaning a quick application can be added to the walk or driveway right before it starts to sprinkle. The product does not come with its own application method but is still excellent for individuals on a budget.
- Rain ready in a short period of time
- Covers a reasonable area
- Works along fence lines
- Only lasts for five months
The Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer stands out from the rest of the total vegetation killers on this list because it uses vinegar instead of harsher herbicides to eliminate grass, weeds, brush, and shrubs. It claims to eliminate weeds in as little as a couple of hours and comes with a sprayer attachment so users don’t have to worry about transferring the liquid to another container. A 30-day money-back guarantee ensures individuals who are unsatisfied with the product that they did not waste their funds.
Each container of Green Gobbler contains a gallon of herbicide capable of covering around 3,000 sq. ft. It does not need to be mixed with water and is surprisingly made of corn and similar organic ingredients. The vinegar that forms the main ingredient is four times more powerful than regular kitchen vinegar and is rain-ready in an hour.
Unlike more toxic total vegetation killers, the Green Gobbler is relatively safe and also affordable, making it ideal for most homeowners who worry about using chemicals on their lawns.
- Uses acetic acid
- 30-day money-back guarantee included
- Does not need mixing
- Comes with a sprayer
- Results only last for five months
It was difficult to identify the best total vegetation killer because all four of these products are effective and useful in a variety of situations. However, the one product the majority of people will be satisfied with is Ortho GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate. This vegetation killer is highly effective and comes with its own application method, meaning buyers don’t need to invest in more equipment to clear up their driveways and walkways. However, as a good second choice, the Green Gobbler also stands out for being organic and ideal for the environmentally friendly approach.
Now go out there and show those weeds who is boss!