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Selective herbicides are a type of herbicide that will only kill a certain type of plant, while leaving other plants unaffected. This makes it useful when weeds are growing within or very closely to desirable plants or grass because you won’t have to worry about accidentally killing or harming your lawn or landscape plants.
Selective herbicides work because the active ingredients are processed and broken down differently between the target and non-target plants. This is sometimes called true selectivity, since you can apply the herbicide to a crop, plant, or soil where weeds are growing without harming or killing the desired plants.
Non-selective herbicides can be deemed “selective” if applied carefully only to target weeds, since you are effectively selecting which weeds to target. However, if this product leeches into the soil or comes in contact with desired plants through runoff, wind drift, etc., plants could become injured or die. There is much more of a risk of injury during application. For this reason, it is best to stick with selective herbicides when you need to get rid of weeds in your lawn, or around other plants you don’t want to harm.
Most selective herbicides are in liquid form, and some are granular. You will find them for both pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control, and they’re often intended to be applied to a large area, like your entire lawn or landscape, with a pump sprayer or broadcast spreader. This is one of the great advantages of this type of herbicide, because you are able to control weeds that are mixed throughout your lawn or landscape quickly and easily without fear of damaging your lawn or prized shrubs or flowers.
It’s important to remember to read the label carefully to make sure the weeds you need to control are listed. Broadleaf weed killers won’t harm your lawn, but some products are intended to control grassy weeds in gardens, planting beds, etc., and will kill your grass.
While using this type of product might be easier in terms of targeting and controlling weeds, you still need to take precautions and read all label instructions carefully for safe herbicide application.