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Do My Own Lawn Care - Non-selective v Selective Herbicides

By DoMyOwn staff

We get a lot of phone calls asking what to some seems like an easy question to answer...what is the difference between non-selective and selective herbicides? That is what this video is all about! In a nut shell, Non-selective herbicides kill all vegetation, because the product cannot differentiate between the plants you want and the plants you don't. This means, if you use a non-selective herbicide on your turf, you have to be very careful not to get the product in contact with your grass. Sele

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Video Transcript

Shop Herbicides

Selective Herbicides
Non-Selective Herbicides

Another beautiful day to fly. Another beautiful day to get in the lawn.

It really is a gorgeous day. The humidity is still kind of in the air, so we've still kind of got that going on. But fall temperatures are starting to creep in. It is right around the corner.

So I hope you're busting out the pre emergents and getting that application put down in the yard to give your lawn a nice protective barrier through the fall and winter time.

But before we get into today's topic, I wanted to show you something really quick. I can't believe I haven't shown this before. But when I was outside playing with my kids, I noticed this. I pointed out to my wife, and she said, "Wow! That's a very big difference." So, let me show you this.

So this is my neighbors yard on the other side of my Bradford Pears. We've got a lot of bare spots, lots of moss, a lot of weeds popping up all over the place. Not really a whole lot of grass to speak of. Now, in their defense, they haven't really done anything with this side of the yard. Haven't really put any kind of maintenance into it or tender love and care. But compare this, to my side where I have been putting forth the effort. Now I know there's still bare spots here and there. We've got clusters of weeds throughout, but I just wanted to show you what it looks like when you put forth the effort, put in the hard work, and try to maintain the yard to make it look good.

You've got this, compared to that. Big, big difference. So, awesome!

As far as the side yard and my back yard, things are still looking fairly good. Now, this is beating a dead horse but there are still tons of weeds back here. Again, not going to tackle that this year. But the fescue really is starting to take off and grow in nicely. As a matter of fact, got to water it some more.

While that's going on, wanted to cover something that quit honestly I'm a little surprised about. People call in asking this question a lot actually, so we figured we make a video of it in the series to try and help everybody out. Let's talk about non-selective versus selective herbicides.

So when it comes to herbicides there are a ton of options out there but they're not all created equal. They all do different things.

So when you go to buy herbicides, it's important to know the difference between all of them so that you're not wasting time, money and you're making the absolute best choice for your lawn and for your needs.

Let's first talk about non-selective herbicides. Now, these types of herbicides are going to kill all actively growing vegetation, either by contact or systemic modes of action. And I'm going to get into that a little bit later in the video. The whole contact versus systemic.

But again, know, non-selective means it will kill actively growing vegetation.

A great example of this, is any kind of product that contains a lot of glyphosate. And you would use this in places that you don't want vegetation actively growing.

These kind of herbicides are typically used to clear out any unwanted vegetation in poorly landscaped areas, or areas where you want to put down a desirable seed or a mature plant shortly after the application.

One thing to consider when you're thinking about choosing a non-selective herbicide is if it has any kind of residual weed control. In other words, can it act as a pre emergent?

Which brings up a good point. Non-selective herbicides can be a pre or a post emergent.

Now let's talk about selective herbicides. These kind of herbicides are only going to kill selected or targeted plants that are listed on their label.

They tend to leave all other plants virtually unscathed. Now side note, your dosage and your timing of application are going to play a role in leaving those plants unscathed.

And most selective herbicides that are used in the turf are usually systemic in nature.

Those are the main differences between non-selective and selective herbicides. Non-selective, just like the name implies, it's going to wipe out everything in a given area. Where as selective, it's only going to target certain plants.

So, when you're trying to decide between these two the decision needs to be made, if you're only trying to target select broad leaf and grassy weeds or if your trying to eliminate all of them in a specific area. Now before we get into the whole systemic versus contact conversation, I've got to move my old school sprinkler.

Now that we know the difference between on-selective and selective herbicides, let's talk about the mode of action that you'll find in either one of those, which is either contact or systemic.

We've already kind of touched on this subject in our fungicides video. It's a good one to go and reference. I'll link that in the description box below or you can click that little "i" icon at the top of the screen.

So contact versus systemic. Contact herbicides are only going to kill the parts of the plant that they come in contact with.

And on the other side of that, systemic herbicides are going to be absorbed by the entire plant and carried down to the root system. So, yes the root system will be killed if you use a systemic herbicide.

All of that being said, it's extremely important that you read the label. Remember, label is law!

But if you are having a hard time understanding all of that, yous till can't grasp it, you can always leave your questions in the comments section below this video. You can email them over to our customer service staff, or you can pick up the phone, give them a call.

That's really it for this one. Just wanted to throw these terms out there. Define them for you so you get a better understanding of what they mean, so when you hear non-selective or selective, or contact versus systemic, you're empowered to know what they mean when you see them or you hear them, and you can select the best products for your needs to take care of your own lawn.

Hope you find this video helpful. Hope we threw out some good information for you. Hit the thumbs up if you agree. And like I said before, leave any questions or comments in the comments section below, email our customer service staff, pick up the phone, give us a call.

If you're not already, you can click this button to subscribe to the channel. You can click this playlist to see all the videos in the Do My Own Lawn Care series, and click this playlist to see all the videos in the Do My Own Gardening series.

And as always, thanks for watching!