How to Kill Weeds That Grow in Your Yard

Identify the Weeds

The first step is identifying the types of weeds invading your yard. Some common yard weeds include:

  • Dandelions – These bright yellow flowering weeds have taproots that dig deep into the soil.
  • Crabgrass – This fast-spreading grassy weed thrives in hot weather.
  • Creeping Charlie – The creeping stems of this weed can quickly take over areas of your lawn.
  • Broadleaf plantains – These weeds have wide oval leaves and are very stubborn.
  • Clover – While sometimes used in lawns, clover can become a weed when it spreads.

Knowing what you’re dealing with helps choose the right removal methods. You can bring samples to your local nursery for identification if needed.

Hand Pull Small Infestations

For small weed infestations, hand pulling may be an effective solution. Use a hoe, shovel or weed pulling tool to dig down and remove the entire root system. This works best after rain has moistened the soil. Be sure to pull before the weeds flower and spread seeds. Hand pulling is useful for spot treating scattered weeds.

Apply Herbicides

Using chemical weed killers or herbicides is a common approach for larger weed problems. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating. Post-emergent products kill existing weeds. Selective herbicides target specific weeds while leaving your lawn unharmed. Non-selective herbicides kill all plant material. Always follow label directions carefully when using any herbicide product.

Many weed and feed fertilizer products combine weed control with lawn feeding. These are often used in early spring to prevent and kill weeds as the lawn greens up from winter dormancy. Liquid fertilizer mixes can also include herbicides.

Maintain a Healthy Lawn

A lush, thick lawn is your best defense against weeds. Weeds often invade thin, damaged areas. Fertilizing, aerating, overseeding, proper mowing height and watering all help your lawn outcompete weeds. Fill in bare spots where weeds can gain a foothold. Overseeding crowded lawns with additional grass seed thickens up the turf.

Use Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is an organic pre-emergent weed control derived from corn. Applying it in early spring before seeds germinate prevents many annual weeds. It does not kill existing weeds. But preventing successive generations can reduce infestations over time. Remember corn gluten meal may also inhibit grass seed germination if planning to overseed.

Cover With Mulch

Laying down mulch in flower beds, trees rings and landscaped areas provides weed control. Newspaper or landscape fabric under the mulch blocks light further suppressing weeds. Maintain a 2-3 inch mulch layer replenishing as needed. Keep mulch from directly touching tree trunks and stems to prevent rot.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water directly on weeds is an alternative organic method. Boiling water kills many weed varieties without chemicals. However, it usually requires repeated applications to fully finish off the weeds. Take safety precautions when boiling large quantities of water. Target weeds growing in sidewalk cracks, driveways and patios with this technique.

Physical Removal

For gravel areas, digging up weeds by hand or hoeing provides weed control. Place fresh gravel down again after removing the roots. Landscape fabric under decorative rocks and gravel inhibits weed growth while still allowing drainage.

Paving over weedy areas with concrete, bricks or heavy-duty landscape material is another permanent solution. Physical removal gives long-term control but requires elbow grease.

Stay Vigilant

Diligence and persistence are key when battling backyard weeds. Start control measures as soon as you spot new weed growth. It takes continued effort to keep your yard weed-free over time. Combine multiple techniques like hand pulling, herbicides, lawn care and mulching for the best defense. With consistent practice, you can kill weeds that grow in your yard before they take over.

Frequently Asked Questions About Killing Weeds in Your Yard

What is the quickest way to get rid of weeds in your yard?

Using a non-selective herbicide is often the quickest way to kill existing weeds in the yard. However, hand pulling can also provide rapid removal for small infestations.

What kills yard weeds permanently?

Laying paving materials, gravel or mulch provides permanent weed control by blocking light. Herbicides alone will not permanently kill all weeds since new seeds can still blow into the yard.

When should I apply weed killer to my lawn?

The best times are early spring before weeds become established and in fall to eliminate end of season growth. Avoid using herbicides in summertime heat or just before rainfall.

What is the best homemade weed killer?

Mixing vinegar, salt and dish soap makes an effective DIY weed killing spray for driveway and sidewalk weeds. Boiling water is also a homemade approach. But these may require multiple applications.

What can I spray on my lawn to kill weeds?

Selective broadleaf herbicides and weed & feed products are two recommended options for lawn weeds. Always read labels carefully before using.

How do I get rid of weeds without killing grass?

Hand pulling, corn gluten meal and spot treating with selective herbicides allow targeting weeds in lawns while leaving the grass unharmed. Maintain thick grass to outcompete weeds.


Controlling stubborn weeds that invade your yard takes some work. But using techniques like hand pulling, herbicides, mulching and improving your lawn’s health can keep unwanted weeds at bay. Consistent prevention and quick removal of new growth are key. Combining multiple approaches often provides the best defense against the weed battle. With time and diligence, you can kill weeds that grow in your yard and enjoy a lush landscape.