Pulling weeds and spraying them with herbicide are both very effective methods for getting rid of weeds. Hand weeding has the advantage of being an organic solution that kills weeds instantly and doesn’t harm your other garden plants. Spraying weeds with a weed killer helps kill large quantities of weeds with minimal effort, which reduces the work of lawn and garden maintenance. However, you still have to pull dead weeds after they have been sprayed with weed killer.
Table of Contents
What are the Advantages of Pulling Weeds?
Hand-weeding may seem old-fashioned, but it is one of the best ways to get rid of weeds in your lawn or garden. Even the toughest perennial weeds won’t survive being uprooted. Here are the advantages of hand-pulling weeds:
Does Not Harm Nearby Plants
Uprooting weeds is less destructive to nearby plants than other weeding methods. If you spray chemical herbicide or an organic weed killer in your garden, you must take precautions to protect your plants. A garden plant accidentally sprayed with weed killer is likely to suffer and die. If you attack weeds by hand, there is a very low chance that you’ll harm your other plants.
Kills Weeds Reliably
Pulling out weeds with their roots is extremely effective at killing weeds permanently. This makes hand-weeding more reliable than some contact weed killers, such as vinegar. While some grassy weeds (like crabgrass) are resistant to some weed killers, no plant can survive being fully uprooted. Use this weeding tool to help uproot all types of weeds easily.
Gives Instant Results
Hand-weeding clears out weeds and gets your garden or lawn back on track immediately. If you spray your weeds, you will have to wait 1–2 weeks for them to die, then remove the dead weeds. If you hand-weed your garden, you can plant new flowers or vegetables in the area immediately. So, the job really will get done faster if you hand-weed.
Hand-weeding keeps your garden organic and eliminates the use of harmful chemicals. Most chemical weed killers pose a threat to the environment. Several common weed killer sprays can pollute waterways and harm wildlife. Not to mention, you may not feel good about eating vegetables from a garden that was sprayed with herbicide. You can eliminate all concerns of chemicals by hand-weeding instead of spraying for weeds.
Spraying Still Requires You to Pull Weeds
Even a weed that has successfully been killed by spraying still needs to be pulled. You don’t want a rotting weed attracting pests to your garden. So, you’ll have to spray all the weeds, then wait 14 days before you go back and pull the dead weeds. You can eliminate this cycle of spraying and waiting by taking matters into your own hands.
What are the Advantages of Weed Killer?
While hand-weeding is a great option, using a weed killer spray has its benefits as well. There are even organic weed killers, like this one, which makes this method more environmentally friendly. Here are the pros of spraying pesky weeds:
- See results within 2 hours of applications.
- Easy for you to use and non-toxic.
- Approved for organic gardening.
Less Work than Hand-Weeding
It’s much easier to spray down pesky weeds and watch them die than spend hours weeding. If extreme temperatures or physical limitations make hand-weeding difficult, you can get the same results by using a powerful weed killer. However, take care to shield your garden plants and susceptible grasses from weed killer overspray. This will make sure you don’t damage desirable plants.
Easier to Kill Large Quantities of Weeds
Hand-weeding an overgrown garden patch is a daunting task. If your lawn or vegetable garden is overrun with weeds, it’s a lot more efficient to use a weed killer to clear the area and start anew. Use this non-selective weed killer spray to wipe out all the plants and grasses in an area rather than hand-weeding. Just be careful whenever using a non-selective weed killer because it will wipe out any plants it comes in contact with. This includes your desirable plants and grass.
- Kills the toughest invasive grass and weeds down to the root.
- No-mix formula that is convenient and easy to use.
- Rainproof in 10 minutes with visible results within 3 hours.
It’s Easier to Uproot Sprayed, Dead Weeds
Sprayed weeds are much easier to pull out of the ground than green and growing weeds. So, while you will have to come back after your weed killer has done its job and tear out the weeds, the job shouldn’t be hard. Often, you can use a rake or a hoe to tear out weeds once you have waited 2 weeks for the weed killer spray to work.
Pre-Emergent Weed Killer Can Prevent New Weeds
You can apply this pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn and garden to prevent new seeds from sprouting. Just be sure to follow our pre-emergent guide to get the best results. You can prevent new weeds from cropping up anywhere in your yard, which eliminates the need to weed in the future. Just be careful—pre-emergent herbicide kills all plant seeds when they attempt to sprout, including grass seed and desirable plants.
Selective Herbicides Won’t Harm Your Grass
Weed killers come in two main types: selective and non-selective. While non-selective herbicide attacks every plant it’s sprayed on, selective herbicides are designed to leave grass unharmed. Spraying your lawn with a grass-safe selective herbicide is a great way to eliminate weeds without harming your grass. However, selective herbicides do attack all broadleaf plants. This means they’ll attack weeds, but they’ll also kill flowers and vegetable plants. So, it’s important to never spray weed killer on your garden plants.
Is it Better to Pull Weeds or Use Weed Killer?
Whether you should use a weed killer spray or hand-pull your weeds depends on the situation. Shallow-rooted weeds, for instance, are very easy to uproot. On the contrary, mature weeds may be too tough to uproot. In such a case, contact herbicides are a better solution to weaken weeds before pulling.
- Weeding is better for shallow-rooted weeds and individual weeds.
- Spraying is better for weeds with deeper roots.
- Both approaches are great for controlling annual weed growth.
Spraying works best for mass growths of weeds, or to attack stubborn ivy. Hand-weeding works best for individual weeds. You don’t just have to choose one tactic. Use both spraying and weeding in your garden. Both approaches are necessary to control unwanted plant growth.
Does Pulling Weeds Make it Worse?
If you remove the entire root of the weed, pulling weeds by hand will eliminate weeds completely. If the root system is left in place, the weed can easily grow back. Stubborn weeds with deep roots can withstand pulling and may require digging to fully remove them.
- Hand-weeding does not increase the number of weeds.
- Hand-weeding can be ineffective if you don’t remove the weed root.
- As long as you get the weed root, hand-weeding is highly effective.
Even if you don’t remove every weed to the root, pulling weeds won’t make things worse. Manual weeding is ineffective if weed roots are left in the soil, but it won’t cause an increase in weeds. Be sure to use a weeding tool to reach deeper roots and clear your garden of weeds.
Do You Still Have to Pull Weeds After Spraying?
Dead weeds still have to be removed after they die. You don’t want weeds rotting near the desirable plants in your garden bed. It’s best to remove weeds after they’ve died completely (which usually takes 1–2 weeks). If you remove weeds too soon after spraying them, the weed may not be completely dead and could regrow from the roots.
- You do still have to manually remove dead weeds after you spray them.
- Allow the weed killer to work according to product label directions before removing sprayed weeds.
- Removing sprayed weeds too soon may allow them to grow back from the roots.
- Make sure rotting weeds aren’t left in the ground or they will attract pests.
The reason rotting weeds are bad to leave in the ground is that they will attract pest insects. These pests can then damage other healthy plants in your garden. However, composting dead weeds works very well. Weeds contain many nutrients that can help your garden grow.
What’s the Difference Between Pulling Weeds and Spraying Them?
Spraying weeds with chemicals and pulling them out of the soil are both vital weeding tasks. Each plays an important role in garden and lawn care. Here are the key things to keep in mind when deciding whether to spray or weed:
- Pulling weeds and spraying are both vital parts of eliminating pesky weeds.
- Weeding by hand is effective as long as you get the weed roots.
- Hand-weeding is better for removing a handful of weeds.
- Spraying weeds is better for handling large weed infestations.
- Pulling weeds by hand will not make future weeds harder to remove.
- Sprayed weeds still have to be pulled out of the ground once they die fully.
Remember to invest in a weeding tool if you want to remove deep weeds without spraying. It’s always vital to get weeds by the root to prevent future weed regrowth.