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Is it Better to Pick Weeds or Spray?

August 21, 2022

Pride In Turf is a local Atlanta lawn care and weed control company. In this article, we discuss whether it is better to pick weeds or spray.

Two methods of weeding include pulling weeds and spraying weeds with herbicides.  Pulling weeds is pretty easy to start with; however, it is not effective for all types of weeds.  Sometimes, using the method of pulling weeds can make things worse if you are not careful. This article will address pulling weeds vs. spraying with herbicides with tips to use them both successfully.

Pulling Weeds:


Pulling weeds can be very effective when done correctly.  One of the benefits of pulling weeds is that you remove the roots at the same time as the rest of the plant.  Perennial weeds grow back each year from the same root system.  The roots can be deep and extensive.  If you leave pieces of the root system in the soil, perennial weeds can grow back.  If you pull perennial weeds and remove all of the roots, it can prevent the weed from regrowing.  This does not work for all perennial weeds, and some well-established plants can be impossible to completely remove by pulling.  This can be very frustrating and a waste of time.


Annual weeds grow from seed each year.  Young annual weeds such as Crabgrass have shallow root systems and can often be easy to pull.  One of the drawbacks of pulling weeds by hand is that it takes a lot of effort.  If you are trying to remove weeds from a large area, this is not practical.  Pulling weeds can also bring weed seeds to the surface, where they can germinate and grow into mature plants.  This only gives you more weeding in the future.

Tips for Pulling Weeds:

To pull weeds out of the ground successfully, the following tips may help:

  • Wait until the ground is wet (after a rainfall or watering the area)
  • Grab the weed at the base of the plant and pull up slow and steady
  • Do not grab the weed halfway up or pull at an angle as the stem will break, leaving the roots in the ground
  • Use gardening gloves with reinforces fingers and palms to protect your hands
  • Use tools that are available to help pull weeds easier (a garden shovel, a corkscrew weeder, an angles hoe)
weed prevention

Spraying Weeds:

Weed control is important, so knowing the weeds you are dealing with when spraying weeds is essential so you know what will work. Spraying weeds with herbicide is a quick and easy way to kill weeds.  To kill weeds already growing, you should use a post-emergent herbicide.  Post-emergent herbicides come in 2 types: system herbicides and contact herbicides.

Spraying with Systemic Herbicides

Systemic herbicides enter the weeds through the leaves.  Once inside the plant, they are translocated to the roots and travel through the circulatory system.  They kill all parts of the weed.  Spraying with a systemic herbicide is a great way to kill stubborn perennial weeds with deep and extensive root systems.  It kills the roots and prevents the weeds from regrowing.  Once the weed is dealt with, you can pull it or dig it out of the ground – or allow the dead weed to decompose.  This method does not give fast results, as you often have to wait two weeks or more for the plant to die.  Occasionally you may need a second application.

Spraying with Contact Herbicides:

Contact Herbicides: systemic herbicide is the best choice.  You need to be careful when spraying herbicides near your lawn or desirable plants.  Selective herbicides kill broadleaf weeds and specific types of grasses leaving many common turfgrasses unharmed.  Non-selective herbicides, such as Roundup, will kill anything they are sprayed on.

When spraying herbicides in your garden, you may need to shield your plants as you work to prevent flowers to be killed.  Chemical herbicides are good for treating weeds in large areas; however, remember that using a natural organic weed killer is a good alternative.

Is it Better to Pick Weeds or Spray:

Hopefully, this information will help you decide which method is best for you.  It typically depends on the type of weeds you are dealing with and the size of the area to be treated.  Both picking weeds and spraying for them can require time.  When unsure of how to solve your problem, and do not have time to waste on controlling weeds, it is always a good idea to ask a professional.  They often can save you time and money in dealing with this problem.  You can then enjoy your beautiful lawn without the time and fuss.  Contact Pride In Turf for all your lawn and garden needs.

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