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Lawn Weed Control… Liquid vs. Granular (Dry) – Which is Better?

When shopping for a lawn care service or to Do-It-Yourself, you’ll likely notice two options for weed control – liquid and dry (or “granular”) formulations. Home & Garden stores often sell D.I.Y. granular weed control products. So which is better?

First – Some information about liquid and granular weed control and how they are applied.

Liquid weed control is just that – the herbicide is mixed in water and is then sprayed with equipment designed for this purpose. The equipment can be as sophisticated as a riding machine that is calibrated to apply extremely precise amounts of the weed control or as simple as a hand-help pump-up can or back-pack sprayer.

The more sophisticated equipment allows the user to apply just the right amount of weed control needed – not too much (which would be wasteful and could damage the grass) or too little (which might not control the weeds).

On the other hand, a pump-up or back-pack sprayer is inexpensive and readily available. These are less accurate but can still be effective when used properly.

Granular (or dry) weed control, on the other hand, looks similar to granular fertilizers. The granules are small pellets coated with herbicide. These products are applied with push spreaders, hand-held ‘whirly-bird” spreaders or, the more accurate, powered spreading equipment.

While some lawn weed control products are designed to stop weeds before they start to grow (for example, crabgrass preventer) this article will compare “post-emergent” lawn weed control formulations – which are intended to eliminate actively growing weeds – like the clover and dandelions you see growing in lawns. Post-emergent weed control must contact, stick to, and be absorbed through the leaf of the weed to be effective. It is worth noting, more resilient weeds may require particular products to be effective.

So what are the Pros & Cons of Granular Weed Control?

Getting Started:

  • Liquid Weed Control typically needs to be mixed with water. This means measuring the concentrate and mixing it with the appropriate amount of water.
  • Granular Weed Control just needs to be put in the spreader and it’s ready to use.
    • Winner: Granular Weed Control

Application Process:

  • After the mixing is done with the liquid weed control, the application process has a similar level of difficulty. With both materials, you need to be attentive and use the right amount in the right areas.
    • Winner: TIE

Best Results:

Both Granular and Liquid Weed Control can be very effective however, remember that the material must stick to the leaf of the weed in order for it to be absorbed into the plant and translocate down to the plant’s root system. These materials are ‘foliar’ weed controls. This means they have to be absorbed into the plant through the foliage (leaves) of the weed.

  • The downside to granular weed control is getting it to stick to the weed. These materials work best when applied to wet weeds. Without the surface moisture, the granules mostly roll off the leaf reducing potential control. Rain doesn’t always fall when we would like it to and irrigating the lawn isn’t exactly quick and easy.
  • Liquid weed control can be applied when the weeds are wet or dry which makes it a much more versatile option.
    • Winner: Liquid Weed Control

Note: Neither product should be applied while it is raining

Conclusion:

Both liquid and granular weed control products are readily available to both professionals and homeowners. While there can be a difference between professional products and home-use products, most granular and liquid weed control products have the potential to control the entire plant, including the roots.

If you’re looking for a quick D.I.Y. method to gain some control of the weeds in your lawn and don’t mind waiting to do the applications until the lawn is wet – granular weed control may be the answer.

Liquid weed control is the go-to product for most professional lawn care service providers. It controls a variety of weeds – quickly and effectively.

According to Purdue University Turfgrass Science, liquid sprays tend to be more successful than their granular counterparts, simply because the liquid formulation is sprayed across the weed’s leaf surface and does not rely on additional moisture to stick to the leaf. Once dried, these liquid products stay on the leaf surface even if rainfall occurs.

If you’re considering a professional lawn care service or looking to eliminate difficult weeds yourself – liquid weed control is generally the best option. The characteristics of the liquid weed control formulations provide more consistent results, especially on the stubborn weeds we often experience in lawns.

Overall Winner: Liquid Weed Control

If you are interested in Green Giant’s services, we would like to answer any questions you have!

Lawn Care

Green Giant Home & Commercial’s Lawn Care services control weeds, build the thickness and density of your lawn and protect it from being damaged by insects and disease, providing you with a great-looking, healthy lawn. We offer fertilization, weed control, liming, insect control, and aeration and overseeding. Visit our Lawn Care page for more information.

Tree Care

Green Giant performs: Proper Diagnosis and Treatment of Tree & Shrub Problems, Insect & Disease Control (including Spotted Lanternfly), and Nutrient Management via Deep Root Fertilization to keep your plants healthy and thriving. Visit our Tree Care page for more information.

Vegetation Management

Green Giant’s Non-Lawn Weed Control services eliminate unwanted vegetation in a wide variety of locations for both residential and large commercial/municipal properties. Areas include fence lines, around obstacles to reduce weed eating, stone/gravel driveways & parking lots, swales, roadside/curbside vegetation management and more. Find more information, visit our Vegetation Management page.

Pest Control

Our full service pest control division provides both Year-Round Service Programs that cover the vast majority of pests that you will encounter and also One-Time Corrective Services for pests such as bees, ants, termites or mice. For more information, visit our Pest Control page.

When shopping for a lawn care service or to Do-It-Yourself, you'll notice two options for weed control – liquid & dry. So which is better?

Aquacide Pellets

Aquacide Pellets with 2,4-D are a selective, root killing, systemic herbicide. Controls submersed, emersed, and floating weeds. For use in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, bayous, drainage ditches, non-irrigation canals, rivers and streams that are quiescent or slow moving. Great around docks, boat hoists, swimming beaches and shorelines.

Easy to Apply.

Marble-size Aquacide Pellets sink directly into the weed bed, visibly expand over a period of several hours to a day, and stratify a layer of herbicide where the weeds grow. Herbicide is released slowly in controlled amounts. As weeds grow herbicide is absorbed through leaves, stems and roots. Herbicide absorption is quite rapid, just a few hours under good growing conditions. Once absorbed, the herbicide moves throughout the weed to the growing parts of leaves and roots. Growth at these parts is halted and the weed dies. Kills the entire weed roots and all. Initial effects occur in 7 to 10 days. Initial effects include brittle stems and curling leaf tips. Under optimum conditions full weed kill occurs in 3 to 5 weeks. Dead weeds sink to the bottom and decompose.

Effective on many common weeds.

Aquacide Pellets are effective anytime susceptible weeds are actively growing. When applied in spring and early summer, less material is required, less dead weeds occur and a longer weed free period will result. Successful applications can be made in late summer and fall to actively growing weeds. The full effect of late season applications may not be fully evident until the following season.

Early season applications to perennial weeds, such as Cattails or Water Lilies, while growing below the surface, may require 3 to 4 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. at a 4 foot depth. A second application, at the appropriate rate, may be necessary in 3 to 5 weeks if weeds show signs of recovery. Heavy clay, mud, or silt build up may reduce root absorption by effectively sealing the roots. Early season application or more than one application may overcome this problem. Water movement in the form of currents or bottom springs may wash the herbicide from the treatment site, reducing effectiveness.

The most comprehensive up to date review of 2,4-D is contained in the EPA re-registration eligibility decision for 2,4-D. This document states; “2,4-D has a reputation as a selective and economical means to remove invasive plants, enhance the growth and recovery of desirable native vegetation, restore water quality and improve fish and wildlife habitat.”

As a rule of thumb Aquacide Pellets will be effective on weeds with leaves that have a laced or branched vein structure. Aquacide Pellets will usually not be effective on weeds with leaves having parallel veins such as Grasses.

Aquacide Pellets are easy to apply. Nothing to mix or spray. Simply broadcast pellets uniformly over water surface with a fanning motion of the hand. Similar to sowing grass seed. Effective at any depth.

Tried and True.

For submersed weeds use Aquacide Pellets at a rate of 1.0 to 4.0 ppm active ingredient. This is equivalent to 15 to 60 pounds of Aquacide Pellets per acre-foot of weed volume, or 5.6 to 22.4 pounds of Aquacide Pellets over 4,000 sq. ft. at a 4 foot average depth.
For spring to early summer application to new weeds use 1.0 to 2.0 ppm.
For mid-summer to fall applications to mature weeds use 3.0 to 4.0 ppm.
To determine pounds of Aquacide Pellets to use per 1,000 sq. ft.:
(application rate in ppm) x (average depth in feet) x (0.35)
To use 2.0 ppm at an average depth of 4.0 feet:
2.0 x 4.0 x 0.35 = 2.8 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Avoid churning water in treatment site for 72 hours following application. This will help insure maximum herbicide is available for absorption by the weeds.

Water in areas treated with Aquacide Pellets should not be used for irrigation for 21 days. See Water Use Restrictions (Days)

Easy to Apply.

Marble-size Aquacide Pellets sink directly into the weed bed, visibly expand over a period of several hours to a day, and stratify a layer of herbicide where the weeds grow. Herbicide is released slowly in controlled amounts. As weeds grow herbicide is absorbed through leaves, stems and roots. Herbicide absorption is quite rapid, just a few hours under good growing conditions. Once absorbed, the herbicide moves throughout the weed to the growing parts of leaves and roots. Growth at these parts is halted and the weed dies. Kills the entire weed roots and all. Initial effects occur in 7 to 10 days. Initial effects include brittle stems and curling leaf tips. Under optimum conditions full weed kill occurs in 3 to 5 weeks. Dead weeds sink to the bottom and decompose.

Effective on many common weeds.

Aquacide Pellets are effective anytime susceptible weeds are actively growing. When applied in spring and early summer, less material is required, less dead weeds occur and a longer weed free period will result. Successful applications can be made in late summer and fall to actively growing weeds. The full effect of late season applications may not be fully evident until the following season.

Early season applications to perennial weeds, such as Cattails or Water Lilies, while growing below the surface, may require 3 to 4 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. at a 4 foot depth. A second application, at the appropriate rate, may be necessary in 3 to 5 weeks if weeds show signs of recovery. Heavy clay, mud, or silt build up may reduce root absorption by effectively sealing the roots. Early season application or more than one application may overcome this problem. Water movement in the form of currents or bottom springs may wash the herbicide from the treatment site, reducing effectiveness.

The most comprehensive up to date review of 2,4-D is contained in the EPA re-registration eligibility decision for 2,4-D. This document states; “2,4-D has a reputation as a selective and economical means to remove invasive plants, enhance the growth and recovery of desirable native vegetation, restore water quality and improve fish and wildlife habitat.”

As a rule of thumb Aquacide Pellets will be effective on weeds with leaves that have a laced or branched vein structure. Aquacide Pellets will usually not be effective on weeds with leaves having parallel veins such as Grasses.

Aquacide Pellets are easy to apply. Nothing to mix or spray. Simply broadcast pellets uniformly over water surface with a fanning motion of the hand. Similar to sowing grass seed. Effective at any depth.

Tried and True.

For submersed weeds use Aquacide Pellets at a rate of 1.0 to 4.0 ppm active ingredient. This is equivalent to 15 to 60 pounds of Aquacide Pellets per acre-foot of weed volume, or 5.6 to 22.4 pounds of Aquacide Pellets over 4,000 sq. ft. at a 4 foot average depth.
For spring to early summer application to new weeds use 1.0 to 2.0 ppm.
For mid-summer to fall applications to mature weeds use 3.0 to 4.0 ppm.
To determine pounds of Aquacide Pellets to use per 1,000 sq. ft.:
(application rate in ppm) x (average depth in feet) x (0.35)
To use 2.0 ppm at an average depth of 4.0 feet:
2.0 x 4.0 x 0.35 = 2.8 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Avoid churning water in treatment site for 72 hours following application. This will help insure maximum herbicide is available for absorption by the weeds.

Water in areas treated with Aquacide Pellets should not be used for irrigation for 21 days. See Water Use Restrictions (Days)

Aquacide Pellets with 2,4-D are a selective, root killing, systemic herbicide. Controls submersed, emersed, and floating weeds. For use in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, bayous, drainage ditches, non-irrigation canals, rivers and streams that are quiescent or slow moving. Great around docks, boat hoists, swimming beaches a