Things You'll Need
Coveralls or long pants and shirt
1-, 2- or 3-gallon handheld or backpack-style sprayer
Herbicides containing the chemical 2,4-D kill weeds without killing your lawn, but you have to get the mixture right for an effective and non-harmful treatment. Before mixing, keep in mind that 2,4-D is post-emergent, meaning the chemical has to come into contact with a leaf during the active growing stage, so you can only apply when weeds are growing. In mild, frost-free climates where everything grows all the time, you can apply 2,4-D anytime of year; otherwise, only use it in spring, summer and fall. Use this effective pesticide on lawns, but keep it away from the food garden and off the flowerbeds.
Put on coveralls over your clothes, or wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt. Put on protective goggles of a face shield and heavy waterproof gloves.
Fill a handheld or backpack style herbicide sprayer half full with clean water.
Mix 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) of 2,4-D weed killer for every 1 gallon volume in your sprayer and then fill the sprayer up the rest of the way with water.
Use 1 gallon of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of 2,4-D weed killer to cover 1,000 square feet of lawn or grass. Mix 4 tablespoons in 2 gallons of water to cover 2,000 square feet and 6 tablespoons in 3 gallons of water for 3,000 square feet of lawn.
Mix 1 tablespoon in 1/2 gallon of water for small spot treatments. Spray the weeds directly until the leaves are saturated.
During hot summer months, pick a cool week to apply 2,4-D weed killer. Ideally, wait until the forecast calls for three days below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure it's a windless day (not more than 15 mph of wind) when you apply 2,4-D to avoid scattering chemicals all over the place.
If you've just laid down new sod, or seeded a lawn area, hold off on applying 2,4-D weed killer until after the second mowing. By this time the lawns should be fully established. Applying 2,4-D too early can damage a new lawn.
The 2,4-D weed killer is toxic. Limit your applications to twice a year to minimize toxicity in the landscape.
Stay off the treated area until it dries thoroughly and keep children and pets from coming into contact with 2,4-D. Keep the chemical off your skin as contact may cause irritation. If you get it on you, wash the area with soap and water and then monitor it. Call your doctor if a rash appears. Avoid ingesting 2,4-D. If inadvertently ingested, call a doctor right away. 2,4-D can cause vomiting and dizziness.
Pets like dogs and cats can inadvertently ingest the chemical by licking their fur. Pets can suffer severe symptoms like vomiting and convulsions. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has come into contact with 2,4-D.
After applying 2,4-D weed killer, wash your clothes, gloves and anything else that may have come into contact with the herbicide.
Only mix what you will use in a single application. When you're done, rinse the sprayer three times. Use a dedicated sprayer for 2,4-D herbicides to avoid contamination.
Rinse any empty containers you used to mix or store 2,4-D three times, punch a hole in the bottom (so no one can put food or drinking water in it) and throw it away or recycle depending on the program in your area.
Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.