Will 2,4-D Kill Goat Heads? [Weed Control Cheat Sheet]

2,4-D is an excellent herbicide for killing goat heads. 2,4-D attacks goat heads and other broadleaf plants, but does not harm grass. So, you can spray it on goat heads on your lawn safely. After spraying, goat heads will die to the root within 10–15 days. Then, you can discard the dead plant. To prevent goat heads from coming back, it’s best to spread a pre-emergent in spring. This will kill any remaining seeds in your yard as they sprout.

Will 2,4-D kill goat heads?

How Do You Kill Goat Heads with 2,4-D?

To attack goat heads with 2,4-D, you first must choose your herbicide spray. You can use a product with only 2,4-D as the active ingredient, or a weed killer that contains 2,4-D mixed with other broadleaf weed killers. Then, follow the label instructions for applying the herbicide. For 2,4-D, it is essential to thoroughly spray the leaves of goat head weeds so the herbicide can work.

  • Use this 2,4-D product to attack goat heads in your yard.
  • Dilute the 2,4-D according to label guidelines and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  • Spray each goat’s head plant in your yard thoroughly—make sure the 2,4-D has made contact with the plant’s leaves.
  • Search for the small oval leaves, yellow flowers, and distinctive seed burrs of goat’s head to find all the plants in your yard.

Make sure you can identify goat heads in all stages of life so you can find each weed in your yard. When searching for goat heads, look for long, jointed stems growing low to the ground. At each joint, there will be two small branches with small, oval-shaped leaves. Depending on the time of year the goat’s head plant may have yellow flowers or green, knobby seed heads with distinctive “goat’s head” horns. Look for these signs, then spray each plant with 2,4-D.

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How Long Does it Take 2,4-D to Kill Goat Heads?

2,4-D takes 10–15 days to kill goat heads to the root. So, it is best to let the weed killer work for 2 weeks after application to be certain it has killed every weed entirely. The goat heads may begin to wilt within one day of 2,4-D application, but they’re not dead yet. Cutting or mowing goat heads before the 2,4-D has had a chance to work completely may interrupt the 2,4-D’s process. This can allow the weeds to grow back.

  • Wait 10–15 days after an application for 2,4-D to fully kill goat heads.
  • This time frame is required for 2,4-D to completely kill the weed, including the root.
  • Mowing or cutting goat heads during this time period can interrupt the 2,4-D, which could allow the goat head weed to regrow.

If you do not want to wait for 2,4-D to work, check out the tips on our guide to getting rid of goat’s head weeds. Although 2,4-D takes time to work, it can kill every goat head weed in your yard. Since these weeds have deep taproots that allow them to grow back if they are mowed or cut, it’s best to use a systemic herbicide—such as 2,4-D—to attack actively growing goat heads. After waiting 2 weeks, it’s safe to remove the dead goat heads.

Where Can You Use 2,4-D to Kill Goat Heads?

You can easily use 2,4-D to kill goat heads growing in your lawn. 2,4-D is a selective herbicide that attacks broadleaf plants only. This means it does not attack grass. So, you can spray 2,4-D on weeds in your lawn without harming your grass. It does not matter if overspray gets on the grass—it won’t be harmed.

  • You can use 2,4-D to spray goat heads in your lawn without worry—2,4-D won’t damage grass.
  • 2,4-D can damage garden plants if it makes contact with leaves, stems, or flowers.
  • To kill goat heads in your garden, shield nearby plants with a piece of cardboard, so no 2,4-D is sprayed on them.

Be very careful when spraying 2,4-D on goat heads growing in your garden. 2,4-D does not attack grass but it will kill flowers, fruits, and vegetables in your garden. If you still wish to use 2,4-D to attack these weeds, use a piece of cardboard to shield nearby plants from overspray. As long as the 2,4-D does not make contact with the leaves and stems of your garden plants, they will be safe. 2,4-D does not spread through the soil or through the roots of plants.

Does 2,4-D Kill Goat Head Seeds?

2,4-D is great for killing actively growing goat heads, but it won’t kill the seeds. That’s right, those thorny goat head burrs are actually seeds! If the goat heads in your yard have started dropping burrs, 2,4-D won’t save you. However, you can use pre-emergent weed killers in spring to kill the seeds as they sprout. Pre-emergent won’t harm any mature plants and grasses, so it’s safe to use throughout your yard.

  • 2,4-D won’t kill goat head seeds.
  • Spread a pre-emergent herbicide in spring to kill goat heads as they sprout.
  • This is our favorite pre-emergent for goat heads—it lasts for 6 months, which will stop goat heads from sprouting all summer.

In early March, spread a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn and garden. This type of herbicide kills seeds just as they attempt to sprout. So, it will kill any goat head weed burrs that try to grow in your lawn. However, be careful not to spread pre-emergent while overseeding your lawn. Pre-emergent also kills all other seeds as they sprout (including the seeds of grass and garden plants).

Can You Use 2,4-D to Get Rid of Goat Head Weeds?

When considering using 2,4-D for goat head weeds, remember these facts:

  • 2,4-D is very effective at killing goat head weeds.
  • Spray the leaves of each goat head plant with 2,4-D to begin killing the weeds.
  • Allow 2 weeks for the 2,4-D to kill the entire plant.
  • Do not mow or remove goat head weeds until the 2,4-D has been allowed to work for 2 weeks.
  • It is safe to use 2,4-D in lawns since it won’t harm grass.
  • 2,4-D will kill garden plants, so be careful when spraying near non-grassy plants.
  • Goat head seeds will not be killed by 2,4-D.
  • Spread pre-emergent herbicide in March to kill any goat head weed seeds in your yard.

With this knowledge of the uses and limitations of 2,4-D, you can use this powerful tool to help kill all the goat heads growing in your yard. Then, you can enjoy your lawn without stepping on those painful goat head sticker burrs.

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